Communicating with kids: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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When I was a kid, there wasn’t a lot of communication going on with my parents.  They were great…I seriously have an awesome relationship with my mom and dad but we didn’t sit down and discuss the stuff kids really need to know about.  There was an awkward moment when I was 11 where mom handed me a few books to read and I learned what I really needed to know from my friends.  I would say about half of it was probably true.

I didn’t want to be that mom.  I wanted my kids to come to me with every single question they could possibly come up with.  I maybe should have rethought that concept…I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I have always had very inquisitive kids. They have questions and rarely do they accept a basic answer without pursuing things further. I realized this at a very early age. Their curiosity led me to discussing the possibility of Jesus really rising from the dead on Easter Sunday with my 5 year old son.  After listening to him explain to me exactly WHY dead people cannot become alive again, I just had to tell him that sometimes we can’t explain things and just need to eat our Cheerios instead of asking WHY for the 1 millionth time or  mommy is going to hit the wine bottle before lunchtime.

5 years later I was seriously wishing we could go back to the Jesus discussion because we had moved on to questions about genetics.

I am a science geek…I can handle genetics questions right?

Well, sure,  until the genetics discussion morphed into a talk about people born with an extra X or Y chromosome.

And from there we moved on to why some people have sex change operations.  Soon after I found myself having a talk about transvestites at the breakfast table.  Why is it my kids hit me with these discussions before I am sufficiently caffeinated?  And why can’t they ask why the sky is blue like normal kids?

The Reality of Communicating with kids

By Thelmadatter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Thelmadatter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
But, I continued to tell my kids that no matter how embarrassed either one of us is, I want to hear their questions.  I want them to talk to me about the drama in their lives, issues with friends, frustrations with school and yes, even those God awful embarrassing sex questions. Because if they ask ME, I know they will get the right answer.  And I ensure that I keep one foot into the chaos that is the lives of teens.

However,  I am pretty sure that those parenting books didn’t once mention the fact that you kid may come to you with questions about things that will make you want to jam a screwdriver in your ear so you can unhear them.

“Mom”, my dear teenage son asks, “what’s anal bleaching?”

Ummm…”Well, son, you know what both of those words mean”….my very subtle attempt at not having to discuss yet another embarrassing topic with my kid.

But, of course, that was not sufficient enough an explanation.  Oh, no…

We quickly moved into the hows and whys of anal bleaching, which created a look on his face that I seriously wish had a camera to capture.

After a detailed explanation of how and why a person would want to bleach their anus I inquired as to where he had heard such a thing.

I worried…is he in some weird online chat room? Is he Googling things he should not be?  Do I need to check the search history on his Kindle again?


But no….we heard about it from a friend at school.

Who either has unrestricted access to porn or a very active imagination.  Either way, at least I can absolve myself of the guilt of allowing my kid to come across anal bleaching on our home computer.

But since he asked about it, I had to Google it.  Maybe I forgot to tell him something, right?  Some vital piece of information that he absolutely needs to know about.

And now, in addition to gouging out my eardrums so I can unhear his question,  I really need to find a way to unsee a few things as well.

And I think it is time to clear the search history on my computer.

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