Is Your Child Smarter Than All The Other Kids In The Sandbox? Too Bad For Them

Take a moment and think about every adult you know – your friends, co-workers, spouse, partner, parents. Now think about how “successful” they are in life – do they have a job, a healthy relationship, mental health, physical health, etc. Okay, now think about how smart they are and by smart, I mean think about their IQ.

Boy in sandbox

Finally, think about the relationship between their IQ and the rest of their lives. Are your super-smart “special snowflake” friends happier and healthier than your not-so-smartypants pals? Are your special snowflake friends and family members who did the whole private school thing and went to some Ivy League college far exceeding everyone you know in all of the important parts of life?

Probably not. If I had to bet, I’d guess they are doing no better or no worse than all the rest of us schlubs. Now, I get that this might be you. And I’m sorry if I’m pissing you off, but I think you were probably sold a bill of goods that you would somehow be exceptional because of your smarts. I may be wrong, but I happen to know some of you and even though you are very smart and were given all the “best” you are merely okay parents, okay at your relationships, okay at your work and generally kinda rolling out your life just like everyone else, myself included.

In fact, I think that those of us who were not given the “special snowflake” treatment are generally happier, healthier and better adjusted than the people who were. Here’s the irony, we non-special snowflakes are raising up crops of kids who think they are brilliant special snowflakes.

We get roped into this at the start of Kindergarten when we fret about their school and then have our kids take part in stupid and pointless Kindergarten testing. It turns out pretty much everyone shifts back to “normal” intelligence in the 3rd grade, which makes the kids who were once “smart” feel dumb when they can’t keep up with the harder work (this is bad for them, BTW).

How about we let our small fry learn how to strengthen their social and emotional muscles as they are learning along with the rest of the pack. These skills are so much more important than how smartypants a person is or whether they can do the entire multiplication table and read Harry Potter in the 1st grade. I know one kid that really and truly is way smarter than average. One.

You may be wondering, “What does this have to do with sex, Ms. Lang?” A lot, actually. We all want our kids to have great romantic relationships and if we don’t let them figure out the social stuff when they are small, it makes it much harder to manage it when they are big.

Intelligence only gets you so far in life. It’s the ability to be flexible, kind and empathetic that makes a person a decent human being, not how well you can take tests or where you went to college. Just ask your favorite Harvard grad.

Check out my favorite parenting book NurtureShock for some science that backs up what I’m talking about here.

And surprise! Here’s a study that seems to back me up – more or less!

Posted in Parenting, Ranting | Tagged , ,

What To Do If Your Child May Be Gay And You Don’t Like Gayness For Whatever Lame-ass Reason

Here’s how you know if someone is straight: They are physically, sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the opposite sex.

gay thumbs upHere’s how you know if someone is gay or lesbian: They are physically, sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex.

And here’s how you know if someone is bisexual: They are physically, sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the both sexes.

How do you know you are straight? Or gay? Or bi? Did you “decide” one day to be attracted to whomever you are attracted to? I didn’t think so. It just doesn’t work that way.

Are you thinking, “God wouldn’t make someone that way (gay)?” Sorry, your God DID make a whole heck of a lot of people “that” way. Just like he/she/it made you whatever “way” you are.

Here’s what your God also didn’t make – your belief system. You made that, not God. You get to decide what you believe and if you want to believe peoples’ God-given sexual attraction isn’t real, then go for it. Feel free to believe and think whatever you want.

Just remember this: The child you probably made with your own private parts; the child you love more than any other human on earth; the child that is telling you he or she is gay; the child that your God gave you, he/she/it picked you to parent this child just as they are, whether you “believe” in gayness or not. You can change your belief system but you cannot change your child.

So what do you do? You do the right thing and be a champion for your gay child and change your belief system. It’s your God’s will.

BTW, I’m an atheist (gasp!) and am so excited to let you all know that I will be the host at the next Seattle Sunday Assembly  on Sunday, March 22 @ 11AM at the University Heights Community Center. Sunday Assembly offers all the good parts of church without religion and everyone (even believers) is invited.

Posted in childhood sexuality, LGBTQ, Sexual orientation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Boys Need the HPV Vaccine Too! The HPV Vaccine is Smart and Safe for Everyone!

Do you know who gives most women and girls HPV? The answer is men and boys! Yep,  you heard it here. Make sure your boy has started his HPV vaccine regime by age 12 at the latest.
Hypodermic
He needs to be vaccinated before he starts engaging in sexual activity to protect himself from oral, anal and penile cancers and to protect his female partners from cancer as well.

Not a vaccinator? Just make sure your child is well informed so he can decide for himself, later, if he wants to get it. And by well informed, I mean by giving him resources that are based in SCIENCE, not hysterical made up BS. His doctor can and will vaccinate him without your permission if he wants it.

You can read my previous rant about this here.

Posted in HPV, HPV Vaccination, STD, STI Prevntion | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Difference Between Polyamory, Swinging, Monogamy and Cheating – A Primer for You and Your Kids

I think it’s important to talk to your kids about different types of relationship structures because it is a nearly impossible and ridiculous idea to expect human beings to mate for life. We are just not wired that way. If we were our divorce/breakup rate would be nominal; people would nearly always have crazy and totally satisfying sex lives with their one partner; and the only person we’d be turned on by would be our life-long mate.

Gone are the days (well, they were never really here, actually) of monogamy being the one and only way to be in relationship. Ever since time began, people have had all kinds of arrangements and agreements within their relationships and for many different reasons – health, time, sexual tastes, etc. I believe monogamy is primarily a social construct and not a natural inclination.
hands together
If handled correctly, relationships that are non-monogamous have rules spelled out and are fully agreed to by both parties. Here are some different relationship structures for you to chat about with your kids.

Monogamy: Two people, fully committed to each other as primary partners in life and in bed. The agreement is that they have sex and a relationship only with each other and no one else.

Monogamish: Two people fully committed to each other as primary partners in life and with an agreement that each (or sometimes just one) partner may occasionally have sex with other people, but not a dating or boyfriend/girlfriend type relationship.

Swinging: Two people fully committed to each other as primary partners in life and with an agreement they both can have sex with other people on occasion. Usually the partners connect with other “swingers” at events or online or in other ways. Sometimes they swap partners. This is often something they do together and is about sex.

Polyamory: Two people fully committed to each other as primary partners in life who also have concurrent committed relationships with another person or people. This is different from swinging or being monogamish because the primary partners are allowed to have full committed relationships (not just sex) with their other partner or partners.

Cheating: Two people fully committed to each other in life and in bed and one (or both) partners have sex or relationships with other people without permission or agreement from their primary partner. The relationships are hidden. No agreement = cheating.

Your kids may ask you what kind of relationship you are in. The safest thing (and easiest) is to tell your kids you are 100% committed to your partner. Most kids don’t want to hear about their parents sex lives, so if you swing or are monogamish, they don’t need to know and they don’t want to know.

If you are polyamorous, they do need to know – but please don’t ask me what to say, because I’m bound to offend someone. Talk to your poly pals and find out how they handle it.

Full disclosure, since I am certain you are wondering, I am in a happy, long term monogamous relationship and so far (25 years in) it’s working pretty well for us. I, personally, find that one relationship is pretty much all I can handle. The thought of adding another personality (on any level) to the mix scares the shit out of me. Although I would be willing to give it a whirl for John Stamos.

Finally, a big old shout out to Dan Savage  for helping thousands and thousands of people understand this super-confusing stuff – including me.

Posted in Birds and bees talks, Cheating, Dan savage, Monogamy, Parenting, Polyamory, Relationships, SavageLove, sex talks, sexual relationships, Sexuality | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

STFU About Child Sex Trafficking — The Real Problem Is Child Sexual Abuse

I want to be very clear about this — I believe child sex trafficking is an abhorrent crime and I am not a fan in any way shape or form. The people who use children and teens in this way are the scum of the earth.

However, every time the media gets all up in arms about child sex trafficking I go a little nuts because compared to the rate of child sexual abuse in the world, it’s a drop in the bucket. It’s fear mongering. The chance of your sweet child, boy or girl, being trafficked is about the same as the chance of them being struck by lightening. One in a gazillion.

Think about it – do you know anyone, personally, who’s been struck by lightening? I happen to know one person. How many people do you know who’ve been sexually abused? No one? Ha. That’s a load of crap. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who were sexually abused as children because, comparatively, it happens ALL THE FUCKING TIME.

Here are the details and some numbers for you:

Sexual abuse knows no boundaries.

Every child is vulnerable. Race, ethnicity, class, family income, family structure, do impact a child’s likelihood of abuse, but don’t be fooled into thinking “not my kid.” I like to think of it as an equal opportunity horror.

About 1 in 10 children will be physically sexually abused by their 20th birthday. This does not include non-contact sexual abuse such as viewing porn and phone/internet contact. Because this number only based on contact abuse, and since 80% of sexual abuse is unreported, I think it’s safe to assume the numbers are higher, more like 1 in 5.

Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) are on children 17 and younger. This bears repeating: 70%.

Only 10% of kids are abused by a stranger. And for a child, once they have met you, you are no longer a “stranger.” 90% are abused by someone they know and trust.

Child sex trafficking knows many boundaries.

The FBI has rescued a mere 2700 children from “the life” since 2003. That’s it. It’s terrible that the number is so small, but the reality is this is a very hard crime to fight.

There are 300,000 to 400,000 thousand youth at risk for sex trafficking. According to the 2012 US Census, there are 41,844,000 youth age 10-19 in the US. Do the math. It’s highly likely your child is not one of these kids.

According to FairGirls.org, Sex trafficked children are vulnerable and usually have a history of:

Sexual abuse (Bing Bing Bing!!!!) About 80% of minors involved in sex trafficking were sexually abused. Abuse begets abuse.
Neglect in their home
Poverty
Drug use
Being in the juvenile “justice” system
Being in foster care
Often they are runaways, homeless, young or an LGBT teen.

Since I have a pretty good idea of the demographics of my readers, the only truly relevant factor for your child could be a history of sexual abuse. Neglect or poverty could also impact the chance your child could be sex trafficked.

I would put sex trafficking at the bottom of the list in terms of things to worry about when it comes to your child’s health and safety. Child sexual abuse is the problem that needs to be endlessly focused on — not child sex trafficking. If we work to stop the first, the second will be reduced.

Learn more about how to protect your child from the real danger of sexual abuse at www.d2l.org or www.savvyparentssafekids.com

And if you’d like to learn more about my kick-ass approach to reducing child sexual abuse, please join me for my webinar on Monday, February 23 @ 9PM PST. It’s recorded, so you can register and watch the recording later if the time isn’t good for you.

Register here: www.birdsandbeesandkids.com/learn/

Sources:

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/report/2014/04/08/87293/3-key-challenges-in-combating-the-sex-trafficking-of-minors-in-the-united-states/

http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6143427/k.38C5/Child_Sexual_Abuse_Statistics.htm

http://fairgirls.org/the-issue/issue-links/exploitation-defined/facts-and-stats

Posted in Abuse prevention, Child sex trafficing, Child sexual abuse, how to talk to kids about sex, Parenting, parenting advice, Scripts, Sex trafficking, Sexual abuse, Sexual abuse prevention, Stranger Danger | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

VD Talk for VD – Talk To Your Kids About Sexually Transmitted Infections On Valentines Day

Remember Venereal Diseases? VD? I happen to think the other VD – Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to talk to your kids about sexually transmitted infections (STI) as they are now called.
cloud heart
Here’s a simple script to get you started:

Did you know that people can pass germs from one person to another when they have sex? It’s kind of like when someone gets the flu or a cold, but it’s in their privates. This is called a sexually transmitted infection or STI.  When you get older and are thinking about having sex with someone it’s really important that you always use a condom. Other than not having sex at all, this is the best way to prevent STIs.

If you haven’t told your kids about sex for pleasure, you’ll want to tackle that first. Then talk about VD. I mean STIs.

Happy VD!

Posted in Birds and bees, HIV, how to talk to kids about sex, Parenting, Sexually Transimitted Infection, STD | Tagged , , , , , ,

How To Talk To Children About 50 Shades Of Grey

Whether you loved the books or hated them (or are pretending to hate them, but really loved them) 50 Shades of Grey has become unavoidable. My spouse cannot stop talking about the 50 Shades teddy bear to the point that I am a bit concerned it will make it’s way into my Valentines Day. 50 Shades Teddy

And, a teddy bear? Good lord, I can’t quite hold these two things in my head – a toy that’s usually for children…with S & M accoutrements.

NPR has been running ads for this and I keep imagining all you poor parents fielding excited questions from your kids such as, “A 50 Shades teddy? I want one! Can I have one? Is it gay or gray?”

If you have been under a rock for the past several years, 50 Shades Of Grey is the tall tale of a young virginal woman who falls under the sway of a handsome, super-wealthy, BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) loving guy named Christian Grey. Horribly written and super-duper sexy, the movie is coming out on Feb. 13.

Here’s what to say if they ask about it, broken down by age group and assuming your kids know what sex is (and if they don’t, they should know by 5, so get on it).

Four to Seven: It’s a movie for adults about a young woman who falls in love with a man who is really different from her. People are really excited about because they loved the book it’s based on.

Eight to Ten: It’s a movie for adults about a young woman who falls in love with a man who is really different from her. The book was really popular because it has a lot of romantic and very, very adult sex stuff in it. Lots of people like to read these kinds of books because it makes them feel good.

Eleven and up: It’s a movie for adults about a young woman who falls in love with a man who is really different from her. He’s very wealthy; she’s not. He’s very experienced sexually; she’s not. The book was really popular because it has a lot of romantic and very, very adult sex stuff in it. Lots of people like to read these kinds of books because it makes them feel good.

Part of the characters’ sex life includes something called S & M. Have you ever heard of that? Sometimes people like to tie each other up or hurt each other when they have sex. I know this sounds pretty weird to you, but you are old enough to know people agree to do all kinds of things together when they have sex. This isn’t something you ever have to do and both people agree to have sex this way.

We had Wifey by Judy Blume to sneak off our parents bookshelf and have our minds blown by; our children will have 50 Shades of Grey to sneak off our bookshelves and have their minds totally exploded by. This book is explicit – and good, sexy fun, if you can stand the terrible writing, the sexist BS that goes down and what some see as rape-y behavior.

And it will give them a really good sense of what S & M is all about, so you won’t have too. :-)

Posted in Age appropriate, Parenting, parenting advice, S and M, Scripts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments