A lesson learntI've been a parent for nearly ten years.
When I had been in my 'career' for ten years, I pretty much knew what I was doing. I knew how the world of work worked, I knew the tools of my trade.
After ten years as a parent, I still often find myself completely lost.
And this weekend was no exception. This weekend, I found myself floundering in unchartered territory, feeling my way through the fog of parenting with all the skills of someone who had never met a child before let alone been parenting for a decade.
My story is a classic tale, a tale as old as time and one that every parent must greet with some apprehension. And one I have been putting off.
Just when do you talk about 'growing up' to your small things. It appears I left it too late after curiosity got the better of my nearly ten year old - and the internet proved to be an all too willing cat.
The world of technology - one I embrace - this weekend became the big bad world of technology where information is just too readily available and of course unfiltered and left me craving for the good old days of Judy Blume.
When I was growing up 'back in the day,' when me and my friends wanted to know about romance and sex we had Jackie magazine. We could imagine what a relationship was like because there was a giant speech bubble explaining what the boy wanted from the girl. Then when we really wanted to know about sex we simply read Forever by Judy Blume. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forever..._(novel)
The romance, the power of words (combined with imagination) and of course the introduction of Ralph into our lives allowed our innocent (ish) minds to imagine relationships of the future.
Forever was passed from friend to friend, read under bed clothes with a torch and provided core conversation territories for us girls for many an hour (well many days, well years possibly).
Fast forward 30 years and it doesn't seem quite as easy to ensure that my nearly ten year old learns about romance the same way I did.
Fast forward 30 years and the joys of school-based sex education is on the curriculum.
This weekend my nearly ten year old decided (with her mate) she wanted to research a 'real live snogg' (she had of course spelt snog wrong) and she naively put the word sex into google on her iTouch. You can imagine what it threw back.
Luckily for me and thanks to a open relationship with the nearly ten year (not to mention the fact I snatched the iTouch out of her tender grasp and shouted like a fishwife) the disaster whilst still huge was nipped in the bud.
But for me I felt that she was very quickly robbed of her innocence and tonight we had a very long discussion about relationships, what sex actually was and the importance of talking to me.
This was done with the help of two great books. This one
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svMO5VXOBYw called 'Mummy laid an egg' made us giggle quite a lot and 'What's Happening to Me' (version for boys and girls) http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?area=S&subcat=SFL&id=1985 allowed me to talk about what will happen to her body as she grows up.
The reason I am sharing this with you is not because I've got a funny story to tell.
Tonight, I am sharing this because I have once again learnt a parenting lesson the hard way because I wasn't aware (stupidly) of the locks you can put on iTouch to ensure that your child is protected. I also wasn't aware of the child friendly browsers that can be downloaded so that when curiosity gets the better of the child, she/he still remains (a little) protected.
So if you are a parent, if you are fighting through the fog of new experiences as your child grows and develops you might find the following links useful to help maintain your child's innocence that little bit longer.
Me - I'm off to re-read Forever and remember the good old days when technology didn't make EVERYTHING too easy.
Have a look at the link for a good 'how-to' to add parental controls on Itouch and the safe browser inforrmation http://content.mobicip.com/content/how-setup-parental-controls-iphone-ipod-touch