Friday, April 10, 2009

Oprah And "The Talk"

In Chicago, Oprah is on at 9 am and again at 11 pm. I don’t watch Oprah everyday. If I don’t like the topic, if I am watching something else, reading something or just don’t think about it, I don’t watch.

Last night and this morning I watched.

Today was live Friday on Oprah and she discussed shows from earlier in the week, but she had James Taylor on as well.
Who doesn’t love James Taylor?

I’ve always liked James Taylor. His music and his voice are part of the American tapestry. It’s beautiful and calming.

He came out on the stage, picked up his guitar and began singing, “In my mind I’m going to Carolina,” and I felt my body relax. It’s interesting how music can do that.

That’s the minor thing I wanted to talk about.

Yesterday’s episode of Oprah is the big one.

Did you see? Oprah was discussing having “the talk” and what kids in junior high know and are doing.

I remember being 12 in 7th grade. My mother tried to give me “the talk” but I refused. We were in the car, I think she thought I’d be a captive audience, and she started talking very seriously.

I said, “mother, if you start talking to me about sex, I will jump out of the car!” She said that I needed to know about sex now that I was getting older. I said, “I already know all about it, I watch Oprah!”

We never did discuss sex in the mechanical or emotional sense. I learned from my friends. My best friend and I were both equally sheltered and clueless. The boys in school would say bizarre things and ask us strange questions. We’d get an attitude figuring they were being jerks and then later run home and look it up in the dictionary. As we got older, we’d talk to our other friends.

I know there were some girls who were doing more than kissing boys at 12 and 13 and I know some of the kids knew a lot more than we did. However, I don’t think that my generation was nearly as active or knowledgeable as the current generation of middle school kids and that is truly frightening.

If you saw this episode of Oprah, then you know just how much these kids know and are doing. (Before you think I’m too prudish to say the words, I am not, I just don’t want my ads to suddenly display topics that are offensive because I used a word or two on my blog.)

These kids not only talk about intercourse and oral, but they apparently are active in it as well. They don’t think oral is a big deal at all. They are involved in sexting and exchange naked photos of themselves. A friend of mine, Laura Ruby, has a great book called GOOD GIRLS.
This story revolves around a very similar idea and the photo gets sent to everyone. Laura got backlash from nervous parents saying this wouldn’t happen.

Newsflash, it happens. And it is traumatic for the kid who thinks only that boy or only that girl will see it.

It amazes me how each generation becomes more active at a younger age and how much more comfortable each generation is in discussing all things related to sex.

My grandma’s generation would never talk about it with their children. My mom’s generation would talk about it only once and under duress. My generation will talk about it more easily, but still uncomfortably. I am sure this next generation will be even more comfortable.

The expert Oprah had on walked a mom through “the talk” with her 10 year old going over the mechanics of sex and where kids come from. She made several excellent points.
1) Parents shy away from the topic of sex making their kids think it is a shameful thing.
2) Kids are not taught the emotional side and consequences of sex, only the physical.
3) Parents don’t talk about anything but intercourse, which is why so many kids think oral is no big deal. They don’t understand that STD’s are transmitted this way, they only care about pregnancy.
4) Parents don’t start talking about sex with kids early or openly enough for kids to feel comfortable coming to them with questions. They fear they will get in trouble for asking.
5) Parents think it is a one time conversation when it is a continuous dialogue.

It really is disturbing to know that 12 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, think it’s not a big deal and think it’s the only way to get a boy to like you.

Sadly, adult women think that way too. I saw Steve Harvey on Oprah several weeks ago talking about his new book and he was saying that women have set the bar too low. Men will do whatever she wants, but women have set the bar so low, they know they don’t have to do anything.

Our young girls and adult women need to read that book.

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alicia said...

Oh the mom was the opposite. I knew way too much. I have been meaning to get Steve Harvey's book though, thanks for the reminder.

Sherri said...

Oh boy, the sex talk is a tough one. My kids are middle school age, so I know they are starting to hear more about sex from their friends. I hear from some friends of mine that work at the high school that sex (or hooking up) is the big thing now, even more widespread than drinking.

My son is a loner, but my daughter worries me because she's so social and popular. She's only 11, but she looks about 14 or 15. Right now, she's not into boys, but I worry that once she likes someone she might think he won't like her unless she engages in some form of sexual activity. We've talked about this some, and I've tried to explain that someone who really cares for her will like her for who she is, not what she can do for him.

It's difficult because I don't want to make sex sound dirty and nasty, but I don't want her to think it's something casual and okay for teenagers.

That's a good point you made from the show, that it should be more than just a talk, it should be an ongoing dialog.

Recent blog post: When People Take Advantage of Someone Suffering from Dementia

Gruggers said...

Yes, my parents were always a couple of years behind in talking to us kids. I raised four children by myself and tried to be open, honest, available and non-judgmental. Even so, the communications with the kids was often too late.

Recent blog post: ANXIETY vs FEAR

Lola said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the most controversial part of the show on Thursday. I missed it Thursday, but saw the clip of Gayle's reaction on Friday's show. I'm talking about when the expert mentioned getting adult toys for your teen daughters. I have to admit, that part freaked me out a little bit too. I'm not a prude, but I can't imagine going and picking out one of those things for my 16 year old daughter. I don't even want to think about what would happen if my ex-husband found out that I bought her one (not that I'm even considering it). While it makes sense, I don't think many moms will be buying them for their daughters. Aren't they called "adult toys" for a reason?

Recent blog post: Good Friday - Good Deed

Kelly said...

I purposely avoided the adult toy topic, I wanted to sit with for a few days to decide how I feel....I think I may post on it another day.

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