Wednesday, January 10, 2007


My Disclaimer: The following entry may contain material that some may find offensive and is not intended to be read by younger people. Remember that this is MY opinion only, I ask ,if you would, to read with an open mind. As part of my recovery I need to share my experience, strength and hope. Take what you may find helpful and leave the rest...

As I was reading through various blogs the other day, I came across one that posed the question "What is virginity?". (SEE THAC O DECEMBER 27 2006 NOT FOR KIDS...) Well this got me thinking and I know it got to others too in light of the many responses that followed. So I've decided to Blog about my thoughts and opinions on the subject of sex. I was born in 1961, some of you may remember that things were very different then. One thing that was different was that the sexual revolution had not yet happened and, generally speaking, sex was not a mainstream topic of discussion. Today we are much more liberal and it is not unusual to have sex discussion subjects among people of all walks of life and sexes. This is a good thing I think.

What I don't think is a good thing is that people often choose to be ignorant when it comes to something that may cause embarassment to others, or make they, themselves, feel uncomfortable. Like talking to our kids about sex. As an incest SURVIVOR I had many issues around this subject. Indeed I also carried alot of shame throughout most of my life because of all the abuse I had suffered. It was only through years of therapy, drug addiction and alcoholism ( not necessarily in that order), that I have learned to let go of the shame of my past and begin to heal my wounds. One of the ways I chose to heal was to educate my daughter.

When Debaby was born and I was alone, I had yet another unhealthy relationship with her father and it ended when Debaby was 5 weeks old. Anyway, the point is I was not really prepared emotionally to be a parent, let alone a single parent. I remember while I was pregnant making a promise to myself to be a better parent than what my parents were, not that they were bad people, they just didn't know some things that could have helped them. Children learn what they live therefore if one has abusive parents, one will abuse. Unless of course we get help to break the cycle, and this was a very conscious decision that I made long before I ever got pregnant.

So when I found myself pregnant and then a single mom, I took certain steps to educate myself about parenting in general, addictions, eating disorders and abuse. Of course I had neglected a pretty important piece of this puzzle and that was to heal MYSELF first. In my own little world I believed that somehow being the mom of a little girl and empowering HER would somehow heal me by osmosis. I was wrong. What did happen was that I was in a strange city with no friends and very little money, I didn't have a support system for myself and 'just the two of us' was not going to give myself or my daughter a fighting chance in life. At this point I need to give a little background information, within a year, my weight had skyrocked from 89 pounds to 169 pounds (a great portion of that was due to pregnancy). I had quit a job that I worked at for eleven years (and it was unionized). I had spent over twenty thousand dollars in three months (most of which to feed a cocaine addiction) . I had left a husband to whom I had been married for only seven months. I had spent just over two months in treatment for eating diorders and addictions, and had made a decision to leave my home town to start a new, sober life in Toronto. Oh, and then of course the pregnancy and birth of my Angel, which took place in July of 1991.
So to say the least my child was born into an extremeely loving home, but one in which the momma had some unresolved issues.

I started teaching Debaby about her body as soon as she began to talk. You know we tell them about their nose and eyes and ears, well I chose also to include her vagina . When she was a little older I taught her about good touch and bad touch. I said that usually 'bad touching' was anything under her bathing suit. But I also said that if you get a funny feeling in your tummy, trust that, and you NEVER have to let anyone touch you ANYWHERE if you don't want them to. That includes hugging. As parents we often scold our children if they don't want to hug or kiss someone goodbye. I believe that not only is this wrong but it could be potentially dangerous. When we are born, we are entirely instinctual beings, as we groe, some of these instincts are not as apparent because we learn to communicate with words. I think it is crucial though to be able to maintain that certain something that we are born with that alerts us to the fact that something is wrong ( i.e. a baby cries when it is wet, hungry or lonely, say). Little children also have this instinct, but as (albeit well meaning grown-ups) we teach them to Not trust their instincts. For example, have you ever had a child wake up in the night crying because they are afraid of the dark? I think the first reaction of many parents is to say "there's nothing to be afraid of". This sends the message to the child that there must be something wrong with them, after all, they did FEEL scared but mommy just said there's nothing to be afraid of. The child then learns to doubt their own feelings. Enough well meaning discounts like this are what makes children vulnerable to becoming victims.

Another mistake that parents make is to teach kids to keep secrets. Did you know that pedophiles use this very tactic to ensure that children don't tell? I have always told Devilteen that I will believe whatever she tells me unless I see or hear differently. I have tried to teach her to not lie, and have done my best to set a good example for her. I hope I'm not coming off as the perfect parent, I have made more than my share of mistakes. I do think though that I have raised my child in such a way that she can protect herself from predators. I don't think she will ever allow someone to beat her, and if by chance she were ever assaulted, I KNOW she would tell SOMEONE. These days it is a whole new world ( to me it is in some ways scarier than when I was growing up), with date rape drugs and ecstasy I worry for my daughters' safety. The best I could do was to give her a strong sense of who she is and the self-esteem to say NO to a grown-up if her belly tells her to. Of course today the DEVIL part of the teen often says no to me and frustrating as this may be, I am still convinced that I did the right thing in teaching her that grown-ups are Not always right. It's o.k. to question us .

My child has come to me with many questions over the years that have mortified me, like how are babies made, what is a penis and what is an orgasm. I have answered her to the best of my ability, and have thanked her for coming to me, because her peers may not always have the correct information. When she was about seven and playing in the safety (so I thought) of our yard, some guy drove slowly by in a car and showed her a fifty dollar bill, I have never seen her run that fast! and Dechild ran straight to me and told me! Later on, in the early teen years, Devilteen was out past dark, it was not late but was getting dark out, someone followed her down a street. I was relieved and proud to get a frantic phone call from a near by store, even though it was a little after her curfew, Devilteen was not afraid to call me when she didn't feel safe. All I'm saying is, I hope ALL of our kids feel safe enough to come to us first when they have a problem. I am still learning this parenting thing, let's just say it is a work in progress, but I am WILLING TO LEARN TODAY. Hopefully Devilteen will also be willing to learn to be a better parent than I am ( although I hope this will not occur for many, many years!!!)

1 comment:

Cori said...

Wonderfully awesome words of wisdom, I thank you for sharing! I have always hated the pressure put on by relatives for my kids to hug so-and-so, but I stand by my parenting and tell them it is my child's choice to hug, not theirs. Makes me a bitch in my SILs eyes, but I'll live ;) Congratulations on starting your daughter on the best possible path you knew how to give her, and with her own eyes to see it. That makes all the difference in the world, I am sure!