9 January 2011

"The Talk"

Julia Sweeney has "The Talk"

A week ago or so, I was invited in a friend’s place. Same as usual, the group was consisted of different nationalities and cultures. This time, there were three of us from Iran. We were talking about different topics and I have no idea but the discussion of pornography and porn festival also brought up. One of the Iranian girls who is 22 years old asked what porn was. While the rest of the group were shocked about this unawareness, the other Iranian girl (~28 years of age) started defining the concept in Farsi but she was very discreet with her definition (i.e. she is very conservative). Then, she switched to English and explained that since Muslims are not supposed to have sex before they get married, “the Talk” usually does not happen at all.

My German friend said he was 11 years old when his parents had the Talk with him. I said I was 7 years old when I received the Talk from my same age cousin who heard it from her classmate. He adds the downside to this is receiving either inaccurate or incomprehensive information. I totally agree with him. It took me almost one year to come out the shock and the disbelief that what I heard about sex is actually true (I was only 7 years old). Then, it took more years until I accumulated enough information about sex to consider myself knowledgeable enough to be safe in today’s society since in Iran, there is no room for formal sex education in school. I am pretty sure that is also true for most of my Iranian generation.

Similar to most Iranian family, my parents never had the Talk with me. Now, that I a grown woman, at least there is some jokes being exchanged that is related to sex but when I was younger, the topic of sex was just a taboo. I am sure what stopped my parents from having the Talk with me was not really religion beliefs but the fact that they were too timid and embarrassed to talk about sex with me and my siblings. Basically, they raised us the same way that their parents did without considering all the changes that happened since. I remember when I was in high school in Tehran, we heard of occasional miscarriages or abortions in other high schools washrooms (I studied in a very strict and religious high school so I don’t know of any incident in my high school). Only because people do not talk about sex and they are not supposed to have sex does not mean that there are not unwanted pregnancies.

Similar to anything else, parenthood has to be updated to address the needs of today’s society. You do not do a favour to your kid if you do not have the Talk with them. When you choose to talk to them and how you choose to tell them about sex depends on you, your kid, and the environment you live in. But please have the Talk with your kid. Any 22 years old girl must know what porn and other sex-related terms are to stay safe in today’s society. This also goes about drugs.


Grumpy smurf said...

Finally! Great post like always and the length of the talk is making up for 7 days of not writing :))
Miss you tones!

آنا said...

كاملا موافقم .هميشه از صحبت كردن در اين مورد با بچه ها وحشت داشتم ولي حالا مي بينم بهترين راه اين هست كه از ما بشنوند . خوشبختانه كتاب هاي راهنماي والدين خيلي خوبي هست و مي تونيم با مشاور هم در اين مورد مشورت كنيم .راستش با اين وجود هنوز هم جامعه ي فعلي ايران و خانوادههاي ايراني با اين موضوع كنار نيومدند

Lotus said...

We do not have kids, so ... and I agree with your points. In addition, I think talking about sex is liberating, not just with kids but even for a couple (married or not)

Lotus said...

BTW, the video was funny, thanks for sharing :)

Deep Blue Sea said...

U know somehow u don't need the talk if u r brought up in a certain way and also receive good basic education. If u r in general made to be disciplined and made to follow the rules u will learn for urself to be wise..

Daisy said...

Dear Deep Blue Sea,

Some people might say ignorance is a blessing but in this case I think it can be dangerous. You are making a big assumption that your kids will grow up to have the same beliefs, values, and life style as you have. This is not always true. Whether you like it or not your kids will be exposed to sex and drugs. There will be some peer pressure involved. I think it is the parents’ responsibilities to educate their kids by providing them with right information and reasons why you should do something or not. Then, it should be up to the kids to decide how they want to live.

Also, going back to Lotus point, taking about sex is liberating. It can bring the parent and the kid closer to each other and opens up the chance for the kid to be more comfortable with their parents discussing issues that might bother them. You want to be a firend to your kid as well as a parent if you really want them to come to you when they are in trouble.

Another thing you should consider is that you don’t want your kids to ridicule themselves among their friends by their ignorance.

I have no kids. So, I'm not sure how right I am about this. But this would be the approach that I would have taken if I had a kid.

Deep Blue Sea said...

Hi Daisy.

U make a good point. To add to that - to have desired effect in this approach - u must make sure u don't make harsh criticism of the child on any issue. Otherwise they will have another issue - They will think that they have low moral standing in your eyes which can be big impediment not just with parent but also in general.

By the way Daisy, I don't have any child { Just in case u thought I did ;-) }

Daisy said...

You are right. Sometimes I forget that a kid is just a kid and I have too high expectations .