All that talk of "sex ed" and and how I dealt with that as my son grew up in this post reminded me of the truth of his biggest “sex-ed” lesson of all.
I’d written about revealing one’s abortion to one’s children last year here, but the part I didn’t write about anywhere is the future benefit (I hope) of having told him and of having his reaction be one of compassion and forgiveness, not condemnation and not either, blasé approval of abortion.
Because of my abortion, I’ve been able to look my young teen son in the eye and say, “I was terrified to talk to my parents when I got pregnant. I truly thought they would kick me out of the house and I’d be destitute, homeless, without a job, education or future, but with a baby to care for.
“I don’t ever want you to be afraid to talk to me like that, about anything that’s gone wrong in your life. No matter what it is, no matter how bad you think it is, or how mad you think I’m going to get, I will do anything—ANYTHING—to help you if you’re ever in trouble or if you get a girl in trouble. I will do anything to help your son or daughter be born and to help your girlfriend manage getting through pregnancy and life, even if she has to come live here because her parents threw her out.
“I don’t say this to make it easy to fool around; I don’t condone sex or living together before marriage anymore. I'm a perfect example of "why not." And I’m living what I preach now. But while my hopes and standards haven’t lowered, I will never be the kind of parent you should fear. You can always come to me, because I love you and you know now that I’ll do anything to not have history repeat itself in this family, at least.”
Now, my son knows I’m still strict, tough, no-nonsense and have high standards. If you could ask him, he’d tell you I’m no pushover! And I’m not saying I’ve guaranteed any “perfect performances” on my son’s part, either. I’d be worried if that’s all there were.
But I wonder how many teens in this country are getting the chance he has had: to “learn this lesson the hard way” vicariously. My son very much misses the older sister he never had, being an only child. He’s the one who asked if he could name her. And he knows that no matter what, I love him more than life, he can come to me always, and we can work it out.
Yes, hormones will be powerful and peer pressure will never cease to exist, but the memories my son has never had, have made him a little bit of an “old soul” in his young time. (Even though I am his Mom and my opinion is subjective!)
Just some thoughts to share with those folks who might be worrying or wondering how, and when, to tell their kids. Some may never have the right circumstances to do so, and that's ok too. I have no boss, no husband, no other younger siblings, etc., to worry about "finding out." Please don't feel pressure one way or the other, that's my advice. You'll know if/when it's right, and what to say. (I believe God gave me the low-down on all those details.)
If I can dig up the links to those other great articles we’ve posted here before on how/when to tell your children, I’ll append them here.