Why give “The Talk” to your pubescent pre-teen when the Internet can do it for you?

Posted on March 28, 2012




Giving the talk on the Internet


Welcome to this week’s installment of WTF Wednesday, where customer satisfaction is our number one priority. Well, it’s a tie, really, between customer satisfaction and ice cream. We really like ice cream, and while your satisfaction is right up there on the list, we can’t in all sincerity say it’s THE most important thing. Beach walks are cool, too, so I guess that’s three things I suppose. Oh, and money; money is pretty important. And I’ve always wanted a boat, too, so that’s kind of a priority. The bottom line is that customer satisfaction is among the top dozen priorities and that’s pretty good. Probably a baker’s dozen.

This week’s question comes to us via the magic of the IBMP Facebook Page. Sarah Minor (owner of the blog minorcreations) submitted this question:

Dear IBMP,

How and when is the best time for “The Talk”?

We talk a lot about puberty around here. It’s scary stuff. Wait—you are talking about puberty, right? Birds, bees, that kind of stuff?  Because there are other “talks”: there’s the “I’m afraid the Tooth Fairy died tragically in a collision with a windshield on the I80 and will no longer be leaving cash under your pillow” talk; there’s the “Son, now that you’re in 5th grade it’s time to stop breastfeeding” talk; there’s the “Just because daddy robbed a bank doesn’t mean it’s OK for you to do it” talk; and there’s the “Honey, it’s time you learned the truth about your dad: he’s a politician” talk.

Those are all real important talks, but for the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume you mean the “Look, both our lives are going to really suck for awhile because you’re about to turn into a raging, hormone crazed man-boy beast” talk. I’ve done extensive research on the topic (I watched both the Porky’s and American Pie franchises) and can tell you that it’s pretty damn ugly.

As for when is the right time, that’s a bit of a judgment call. For most people, though, it’s after 3-6 beers, depending on your alcohol tolerance

It is important to be able to recognize when your child is approaching puberty so you can prepare yourself for The Talk. Fortunately for you, Sarah, I have written a guide to help teens communicate their changing hormonal status to their parents. Please have your child read it; it will make your job a lot easier. I suggest you take a moment to do so as well.

Having clearly established when to have The Talk, let’s briefly discuss how. One of the more popular approaches is the “Hey, son, how about you spontaneously go out to dinner with your oddly nervous-looking dad tonight? Just you and me” approach. This generally involves an hour of uncomfortable small talk through dinner and dessert. Then, while signing the bill, Dad says, “So, son, do you have any questions about, you know, about … stuff?” This is followed by a terse, “Um, no,” and a silent car ride home.

If dinner’s not your thing, there’s Facebook chat, texting and the phone call while away on business. But if you’re like me, you’re much more interested in finding ways to avoid The Talk altogether. This is not a new idea; in the old days, parents used to leave copies of books like A doctor talks to 9-12 Year Olds laying around. It was hoped that the child would discover the book, read it through, become scared flaccid and vow not to have sex until their mid-30s. For the most part, it worked. Well, on me anyway.

There are still many books available to help you and your child work through the changes ahead. Archie Comics, for example, is one of the long-time favorites, but there are many others. I have written a guide designed to cover a long-neglected aspect of puberty-related changes: What’s got into my parents? A pre-teens puberty guide to your changing parents. I posted a bit of it a while back. You should read it; it’ll help you explain the changes you’ll be going through during your pre-teen’s puberty.

Television provided my generation a solid sex education. Everything I know about intimacy, for example, I learned from Love American Style. Today, of course, kids have shows like Glee to help them learn valuable life skills like how to sleep around with as many boys and girls as possible before 10th grade.

In today’s modern digital world, we have more tools available than ever before. One popular technique for teaching is to turn off the parental controls on your Internet browser for a weekend and leave your child alone. When you return, you’ll hardly recognize your offspring and they’ll be able to teach you a thing or two about the birds and bees.

So you see, Sarah, there are as many approaches to The Talk (or avoidance thereof) as there are scared parents and metamorphosing pre-teens. Just remember, you must know something about this stuff or you wouldn’t have that pre-teen in the first place. You can do this. Now get up that courage, get on Facebook and go be the best damn parent your kid has ever had.

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

Posted in: Advice (bad)