Raising Teenage Boys

Posted on November 3, 2010

My eldest son is now approaching 15 and after helping him learn to shave so he could remove some fluffy growth above his lip, it began to dawn on me that I am about to embark on the next phase of parental worrying. Kids are a constant concern, firstly you are terrified they might die in a cot, then they are toddlers whacking their heads on a daily basis (George had a permanent dent in his forehead) and going walkabout without you noticing. Then it’s off to school and you worry about bullying, now it’s the teenage years ,and more serious subjects are coming to the fore……………………….SUCH AS SEX!!!!!!!!!!.

Diane (my girlfriend) has suggested that now is the time I should talk to George about his responsibilities with regards to sex. She thinks that I should buy some condoms and put them in the bathroom cabinet and let George know that they are there if he needs them. Oh my God this is far too adult for my liking. Firstly, I am not buying condoms at 43 years old, I am sorry, I just can’t do it. Secondly, I really don’t want a conversation with my son about the varying rubber johnnies that are on the market.

“You see Son, there are ones with more lubricant, there are ribbed ones, and of course, all sorts of flavours these days.”

“Oh is that correct Father? Could you get me the banana flavoured ones with added lubricant?”

Fuck that, I am just not doing it, his Mum can deal with that, and I will continue to take him to football and cricket. I don’t quite know what is expected of modern Fathers, but it is too much. There all sorts of books about raising and nurturing boys in the right manner written by dubious doctors who no kids of their own, what do they know anyway? Why can’t we just get them involved in sports where we can make them live out our own faded dreams, take them on camping trips and share rude text messages. George doesn’t seem to want anymore than that, and I am pretty certain he doesn’t want to talk to his Dad about the pros and cons of the multitude of condoms on the market, and I am not about to force the issue, it could scar him, and me, for life.

I think the only conversations I had with my Dad (a Scientist) between 12 and 18 revolved around bleeding the brakes on his car, or how thick I was because I couldn’t understand logarithms. I was a Football fan my Dad loved Rugby, and I didn’t want to play a homo erotic sport that involved ramming my head up another man’s anus followed by running around naked in the showers whipping people with a wet towel. I was shit at Maths and Science, and I didn’t have fucking clue about car engines, so as you can imagine our conversations were pretty stunted during my teenage years.

You should have seen the look of disgust on his face when I cross threaded a spark plug on my motorbike after he had spent all day re setting the tappings (whatever the hell they were). In desperation at not having my ineptitude discovered, I wrapped masking tape around the plug and rammed it back in the hole in the futile hope it would stay there. I kick started the bike and the spark plug predictably flew out with melted tape hanging off it. “Where the bloody hell did that tape come from?” is one of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer.

George seems okay to me, he is doing well at school, and he has close group of friends who are bright, sporty, and funny (I know a lot of them through the cricket club). Unlike me or his younger Brother, he has a mathematical brain rather than an artistically creative one, so thankfully he knows better than to ask me to help him with his Maths or Science homework (he would be screwed if he did). For another year or so he will still like going to football and playing cricket with me, then I expect he will go his own way in life. I constantly drum in to him to use his mathematical skills to go on to college and further if he can so he can create a life for himself, and his results are evidence he listens.

I don’t think I have done too bad with him, and whilst my door is generally open to him, if he ever asks me to buy him condoms it will firmly stay shut with a sign on it saying “Go and see your Mother!” I read the Guardian from time to time, but I am just not liberal enough to deal with that. However, I wish I could turn back the clock thirty years and interrupt my Dad during a Five Nations Rugby match by saying; “Dad, I am thinking of having sexual intercourse with a nice young female, would you buy me some condoms please………………..oh and by the way, could you get the ribbed ones?”

Even my wildest imagination can’t conjure what the answer would have been, but I am sure he would have been nearly as shocked as when I joined the AA!

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