Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Seventeen Magazine, Thank You for the Heart Attack.

My tween love, love, LOVES Seventeen Magazine.  I mean Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Lautner, L-U-V loves Seventeen Magazine. Her love affair began a few months ago in the waiting room of her doctor's office.  She spotted the magazine with Taylor Swift on the cover and practically pounced on the table to snatch it up.  She poured over the pages, taking in all the glossy ads and reading me random facts about Taylor.

Did you know that Taylor Swift likes being single?  I mean, she likes it.  Why would she like it?  Did you know that she used to date a Jonas Brother.  A Jonas Brother!  Did you know her new boyfriend's name is also Taylor?  He's in the Twilight movie.  Can I see Twilight?  

 On..and on...and on with the Taylor Swift facts.  The other thing about tween girls is that the is no "off" switch.  They talk and talk like it's their jobs.  I suppose it kind of is.

At the next visit to the doctor's office she found the same old issue and picked it up again like it was brand new.  This time instead of telling me Taylor Swift's life story, she asked for a subscription.  I tried to explain that Miss Swift was not on EVERY issue of the magazine, though I'm not sure she believed me. 

I paged through the magazine quickly and didn't see anything too out of place for a tween girl...lip gloss, lists of what's "in" and "out", booooooys.  Le swoon.  So I ordered her a subscription for her birthday. 

Once a month it arrives in the mail.  Once a month she follows me through the house telling me all about the cover girl or whatever else she finds interesting. 

This past month, I came downstairs early one morning and found the magazine on the counter with a few pages dog-eared.  When I opened it up, I found a few page article on S-E-X.  Blaaaaarg.  I hadn't even had my Diet Coke yet.

The good news is that everything that was in the article was the right message (at least in my opinion).  It talked about how not everybody is doing it, how boys will be ok with not doing it, how to talk with your parents before doing it.  All the right info.  But a little over the head of my ten year old.

Later that morning I asked her if there were things she wanted to talk about in the magazine.  She told me that she didn't really understand those pages.  Soooo...we hunkered down on the couch and I did my best to explain them to her and infuse a little more of our family values into the message.  Her dad sat a few feet away, mostly looking like he'd rather be having a root canal, but I feel like I need to jump on the teachable moments when they come.

Sure, ten years old is probably a little young for some of the birds and bees business. But not all of it.  I don't want her to ever feel like she can't come talk with me about something (even if I'm screaming at the awkwardness on the inside). 

Talking about the magazine also gave us a good jumping off point for when I want to talk about things.  (Remember when we were talking about that article, well, blah, blah, blah also goes along with that).  It also opened the door for a conversation about "sexting" after a story on the Today Show.

How do you talk about sex with your daughters?  Does it get easier or less awkward?

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