Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Magazine & My Almost 11 Year Old Son!

                  I am standing at the counter checking out at the pharmacy when my almost 11 year old son standing with me says “Wow!” I turn to see what he is wowing about and he has picked up the new Sports Illustrated Swim Suit magazine and it going crazy telling me how gorgeous these women are, as he is franticly turning the pages. My first reaction was laughter, so was the reaction of the people in line; and then he says “Mom are these free? Can I keep this?” “No, they are not free…you have to pay for them, why?” I ask , already knowing the answer.

                 “Are you kidding me, these women are amazing – this is crazy, I can’t believe I can almost see real breasts!” Again, all the people in line are laughing…but now I am not. He begs for the magazine, like it’s an app for his Itouch. He says if I buy it for him he will never ask me for an app again (not)..there is a long line, I can’t do my parenting right now and provide a “teachable moment” I throw it on the counter to buy it and we leave the store – with my son telling me “You are the best, Mom!”

               We get into the car and he is flipping through the magazine like a crazy person when I pull it away, saying I need to look through it first to make sure it’s appropriate for you to see (though he has already now seen it all) and he says “Mom, do you have to be so “KidSafe?” I just want to see these women, it’s normal, it’s okay, what’s the problem?”

              I need time to think…what is the problem? (I know when we get home that is what my husband will say.) I say, “Do you think women really look like that?” “What do you mean?” he asks. I say, “When you look at those pictures these women have perfect hair, perfect bodies, but most women don’t really look like that. He says “I know, I have seen you.” (I breathe.) Now I’m outraged but I practice what I preach and I remain calm with a poker face.

               I say, “Honey, I am 45 years old, the women in this magazine are maybe 20, and their job is to make their bodies look good by working out and eating right (or not eating at all). At the end of the day the magazine works with photo shop to make them look “perfect” – his answers, “I know all that, and the problem is?” I feel a teachable moment coming, but I am uncertain as to what I should be teaching him. 

  • Not all women look like that? (that he knows)

  • It’s not appropriate for him to look at beautiful women? (no, that’s not it)

  • Don’t objectify women (he is not)

  • He’s too young?

             For what? We have had numerous sex talks, we have had safe and unsafe touch talk…in fact we talk all the time about how to treat women with respect, about boundaries, about his body and girls’ bodies, the differences, and that’s when I realize the teachable moment is for me.

            I have to realize that my son is growing up, he appreciates beautiful women, understands not all women look like that, and photo shop can be a great tool. He knows he can ask us anything, say anything about his body and the changes happening to it without any discomfort. He can say “Mom, I want to look at these women.”  He can say all that and more to us because we have brought him up to talk to us about anything and we will answer as honestly as we can, or seek the information if we don’t know the answer.  But most importantly we make him feel comfortable letting us know his thoughts and feelings.

         We open the door to our house and he is pulling the magazine out to show his dad. My husband looks at me and grins. I say, “I didn’t know if it was appropriate for him to look at, but he sold me on all the reasons it was okay, what do you think?” My husband says “You are kidding right?” and they proceed to sit together and turn the pages. I realized as they turned the pages, that we have also turned a page in our lives. 

Testimonials

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be included in the KidSafe program. I highly recommend this program to other schools. We hope that we will be given the same opportunity for our Kindergarten and 2nd grade students to be a part of this wonderful program during the 2016-2017 school year."

Mrs. Keelyn Meselsohn 2nd Grade Teacher/Team Leader Tradewinds Elementary School

"The Safe and Smart Series Book My Body Is Special and Belongs To Me is kept in my middle school clinic and has been a tool that has opened many conversations for me between students that have experienced a difficult situation and were unable to talk about it. Through the illustrations and nonjudgmental verbiage the author has allowed kids permission to share their feelings about invasion of their personal space. Thank you so much."

Nurse Connie, PBC School Nurse 6.8.2016

"I'm so grateful that KidSafe has partnered with my daughter's school.  I learned so much in the parent training--how to recognize potential sexual predator behavior; how to quiz my child about what they would do in different scenarios; and how to explain safe and unsafe touch.  In addition, knowing that my daughter is receiving weekly trainings on these topics gives me great peace of mind.  I have confidence that I can reinforce what she is learning in school in order to prevent her from ever being a victim of such a heinous crime.  Thank you KidSafe for your dedication to protecting our communities' most vulnerable citizens."

Christina Kranick

“It was a normal Saturday and I was at the rink with my 7 and 8 year old. My son asked me if he could use the Men’s Restroom by himself.  Without hesitation, my daughter said,  Absolutely not! I was in KidSafe today and you cannot go to the restroom alone.  It is very important that Mommy is with you.. with us.   I was so proud of my little girl!  We are so blessed to have Debbie Miller at our school teaching our children the importance of safety. Many thanks to you all!  Your program and instruction is absolutely amazing.  Keep up the great work!"  

Tara Henley Admissions Assistant, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Ft. Lauderdale

I am a parent of two Pine Crest children and I attended your program on Monday night. I just wanted to thank you so very much for the very informative seminar. As hard as it was to hear all of those things, it was very needed. We were thrilled that you were able to come and share that very important information with us and our children. So again...thank you.

Elisa Aronberg

Today’s training was awesome! It was very informative. Sally was a very good resource, she motivated us a lot! We want to pass on this information to parents, teachers and students! Thank you for offering workshops like this. These are tools we use to continue serving our children and families.

Participant from Children’s Services Council of Broward Seminar

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