You know your 11 year old daughter is growing up when you walk into her bedroom and instead of finding the usual charming collection of soft toys on her pillow, you stumble upon Ken getting up close and personal with his harem like this:
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Seriously, what on earth Ken?
I don't know about you but personally, when I see something like this on a young child's bed - well actually when I saw this on MY child's bed - I thought:
1) Oh no, she isn't a baby anymore
2) I have zero coping mechanism for this. Help!
This was followed by a churning in my stomach and a dry feeling in my mouth. Why? Because I knew even worse was yet to come. I knew the time was approaching when I'd need to have the talk. Yep THE talk. Yes, yes! THAT one! Explaining sex to kids. Groan.
Here's the thing:
Coming from an Indian background, I was never given THE talk
when I was growing up. Asians just don't do the sex talk. It's completely taboo. In fact, when I was growing up, I genuinely wondered if Asians even had sex because nobody acknowledged its existence. Showing any form of physical affection towards a spouse or member of the opposite sex was frowned upon. Actually, my parents were an anomaly because occasionally they would - wait for it - hold hands. This simply was not (and still is not) the norm in public or in front of one's children even at home. As for the western concept of romance? It was a total no no. If there was even a tiny possibility that a couple were about to kiss on screen, a certain family member would swoop in with the remote control and change channels. I cannot count the number of times Alexis Carrington was about to get down and dirty with Dex Dexter (that name!) or some other random man on Dynasty, when all of a sudden, the news or weather would miraculously appear on the screen. Thanks Pops.
I admit, in the general scheme of things, we grow up unscathed
and manage to figure out how it all works. Put it this way, evidently this lack of knowledge-sharing by our parents/elders does not affect Asians too much because there are just a few of us on the planet which means a lot of us figured it out...
I am convinced, however, that this general view of sex by Eastern cultures as shameful and not for discussion most definitely has its consequences. However, that takes us into other territory and anyway, I don't think it's just an Asian thing. A Maltese friend pointed out that the same is true of Catholic cultures and to be honest, I doubt my 'white Western' friends were sat down when they were x years-old and given a Power point presentation by their parents on fornication (mainly because Power Point didn't exist back then...boom tish).
Back to Ken and his harem.
Fast forward several decades and here I am, a mother myself
having a mild panic attack (suffering from cold palms, waking up with night sweats and feeling a general sick sense of dread...told you...mild) at the mere thought of having to do THE talk. Ah yes. There they are: those consequences I mentioned. See? I don't have the faintest idea of how to go about it.
So I'm wondering if I can just make light of the whole thing and use one of the following 10 Ways To Tell Kids About Sex to explain things
to my my eldest and eventually the other two:
1. Go with "First there was Adam. Then there was Eve...and there was no TV...blimey were they bored! Oh and here's a diagram I drew earlier. I'm not very good at drawing. If you want to know anything else, Google it".
2. Give her a dot to dot book with 'relevant' pictures and wish her luck.
3. Put all three of them in front of a DVD. Yes, THAT kind of DVD. And then get my 11yo to explain it to the other two.
4. Say "There was a stork. I have NO idea what happened next but I'm sure you can figure the rest out, you're an intelligent kid."
5. Buy her a load of Rihanna/Nicki Minaj/Robin Thicke tunes. Surely it's enough?
6. Say "This is a picture of the male body. This is a picture of the female body. This - ooh, who wants to play on the Wii?"
7. Walk past her room, lob an 'informative' book at the bed while she's got her headphones on and run away.
8. Tell her "You start with a kiss. Ok, that's it for lesson one. Shall we go to that fast food place?" I would rather run down the street naked with nothing but a Man U scarf around my neck than take my kids to that fast food place but I reckon feeding them junk food would be less painful than doing THE talk.
9. Let her loose on YouTube. Sooner or later, she's bound to come across something useful. You can learn a lot from YouTube.
10. Just ask her dad to do it when they're both sat at breakfast.
And then run away.
Come on...one of those has to work right?
To read more from Prabs Patel, visit absolutelyprabulous.com