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Sex, sexuality, dating in their teens. Yes, I know I’ve raised a few hackles by listing these ‘taboo’ topics, but that won’t erase the fact that these are a part of your child’s life. Talk to them.
Indian mothers have to discuss a range of issues with their daughters, because let’s face it, no one else will. That’s a fact. Their dating life, their sex life, their career and their body. The sooner you converse, the better. Even my conservative mother discussed it with me, albeit I brought it up in levity.
Yes, I have vociferously made known my favourite actors, my sexuality, (yes, I joked that sadly, I’m straight and men are stupid) and even my latest crush, all the boys I’ve liked, all the men I wanted to marry (good-looking actors mostly), and yes even discussed which one of my male friends is handsome and marriage material (FYI – none of them are).
Here is a list of topics all mothers (and some ‘woke’ fathers) must discuss with their daughters:
I’m tackling the tough issue with this one, right off the bat.
I’m being honest here, your daughter is either straight, or not. She’ll know if she is a heterosexual or not, sooner or later in life, without even without being physically / sexually active. Coming out isn’t easy. Please understand, it’s not easy. If they don’t tell you, it means they are scared, worried about being ostracised, think they are crazy or weird.
Not all bisexual or homosexuals have to be involved in physical relationships with the same or even opposite gender to realise their sexual preferences instantly. Realisation and sexual awareness comes at different times for each individual.
When I mean later, I mean it could be in her twenties as well. Some children are usually very aware of their sexual preferences even at a young age. My childhood friend realised she was bisexual in her mid–twenties who has never dated, and a teenage friend of mine who is just fifteen came out to me recently, and she had a long-term male companion.
My childhood friend is Indian, and came out to her parents. They were pretty okay with it. My younger friend is European and she guards this secret till date. So, it varies.
Casually bring up the conversation about sexuality, ask her what she prefers. Be gentle, and non-judgemental. This is easier said than done. But until your daughter confirms her sexuality, don’t let her clown around with just anyone, male or female. If you find your daughter experimenting with other girls because of curiosity, stop her immediately. The girl she’s experimenting with could actually be a lesbian or bisexual, and this experience could hurt both the girl and negatively impact your daughter psychologically and sexually.
If she is forcing herself to have sex with boys to erase her sexuality or ‘fix it’, step in now, before she does something stupid or harms herself. Just tell her that it’s fine to disclose her choice, and take her to an expert if you want to confirm it, and then decide what to do. No pill is going to make her straight, no yoga technique will cure her of homosexuality, so don’t treat it like a deadly disease. I’m not going to lecture you on how to handle gay kids, that’s not my call. All I’m saying is, find out where she stands with regard to this, that’s all. Your daughter’s sexuality is a part of her identity and her happiness.
Alright, having this conversation would make me cringe even today. But it must be had.
Don’t expect your daughter to know everything from sex ed and watching pornography. Until you have sex, you don’t know what your body can take. Talk to her about hygiene, orgasms and even sexual health. Be as descriptive and detailed as possible, and let her ask all the questions she wants too.
If your daughter is going to become sexually active, tell her the do’s and don’ts. Take her to a gynaecologist for expert advice on how to have a healthy sex life. If she is sexually active, please ensure she knows all there is to know. There’s no harm in asking her about her orgasms, problems in the bedroom. Who else is going to ask her these questions, but you?
She may be involved in sexual activities that she has no idea could harm her body. So put your taboo, your prejudice aside and ask her about it.
Long gone are the days when holding hands is considered dating.
Even if she keeps it a secret, it doesn’t matter. Find out about the boy. Ask your daughter who she is dating, meet him, and yes, judge him. He’s courting your daughter. Ask her why she chose him, and observe how he treats her. Talk to her friends, and enquire about the boy. If her friends really care, they will spill the tea. If they don’t know him well, then there’s the internet. Talk to the boy’s parents if necessary.
Whether he’s a bad boy, serial dater, or sex offender, everything can be found on the internet, yes, do your research. And yes, you are spying on her, but you’re looking out for her as well. Yes, I’d be mad if my parents did the same. But a teenager is not an adult. They are kids. They still are ignorant about a lot of stuff, and not just how to file for tax returns. They think they know everything, they obviously don’t. It is not the same as a grown up, responsible adult dating.
Meet your daughter’s boyfriend, and ask him why he likes her. And ‘I think she’s cute, hot, or sexy, and we have the same interests’ is not an acceptable answer. ‘I don’t know, I just do,’ is better than any of the answers mentioned above.
As a parent, you know whether he cares for her or not. You should be able to tell. Find out about his interests, hobbies, his academic performance and gauge whether he’s a positive influence on her or not. Don’t give me that ‘she’s happy with him’ crap. She’s not going to be happy if he ruins her life ultimately.
Here’s my two cents on these issues. Even if you feel awkward, just suck it up and talk about it. You may never know, a lot of good may come from having these talks.
Image source: shutterstock
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