Tween and Teenagers
Yes, Planned Parenthood, You May Sext With My Son
No matter how you slice it, talking to your teen about sex is not the easiest thing to do.
It’s not that I am shy or uncomfortable with sharing information with my teen son, but finding the appropriate words, knowing how much information to give, not really knowing how much he should know (or already knows), and yes, even knowing how much he can handle are all things that cause me to stumble in my words.
What’s also difficult is that I tell myself I won’t get angry or worry or be shocked, but I am still his mother, and he is still only 14. It’s difficult to balance the emotions and concerns for one’s child with the desire to be open, receptive, and non-reactive no matter what. It isn’t always pretty, successful, or productive.
I have also seen his eyes glaze over as we go on and on about safety and trust and communication. Yawn.
But no matter how bored, uncomfortable, or grossed out he may seem the truth is my son has questions and if we as parents don’t address them he will seek the answers elsewhere, whether through his friends - either in person or via “sexting” -or worse yet he will go to Google.
So when I found out that Planned Parenthood has put into place a confidential texting service called ICYC – In Case You’re Curious which allows kids to text their sex questions to the organization, I was a bit relieved that in a way I had reputable help in this area. ICYC makes it clear that they “cannot diagnose conditions or give personal medical advice in a text message, and [their] responses are never a substitute for seeing a doctor”, but they do also provide a list of some if needed. Planned Parenthood guarantees that they’ll answer ICYC texts within 24 hours and with standard text messaging rates.
I understand that some parents might have reservations in welcoming this type of service for their kids, and despite the fact that Planned Parenthood has received some pretty unfair and untruthful labeling by more conservative groups, I support the services they offer, not only with the new ICYC, but also with the various community education services which include (but are not limited to – despite what you might have heard) sex education workshops for parents as well as teens.
Though I am not relinquishing my rights and efforts as a parent in guiding and informing my teen in matters relating to sex, I am grateful that programs like Planned Parenthood’s ICYC are around to give him accurate information when he can’t come to us for it.
We’re awesome parents who want the best for our child and we accept that sometimes it takes a village, and some safe sex texting, to make that happen.