For several weeks I’ve been rolling the idea of boundaries around in my head. I’ve been reading some books and trying to piece together a post for this blog, but the simple truth is that boundaries are a very complex issue and I’m not even sure where to begin to talk about them when it comes to relationships in which children have to set boundaries with their parents.
It sounds completely backwards, I know. It’s so backwards that there’s literally nothing that even approaches the subject.
So here’s the thing… As far back as I can remember, my dad’s sexuality was in my face, so to speak. That’s a pretty big thing for any kid of any age to have to deal with, think about it. How many people want to hear about their parent’s sex lives? How many people are even willing to consider that their parent’s have a sex life beyond what was absolutely necessary for the creation of children?
I remember when my mom had The Talk with Kristin and I and I don’t think I’ve ever been so mortified in my life. And Kristin, being the inquisitive soul that she is, and in spite of being just as horrified as I was that our parents would engage in such an act even to create us, just had question after question after question. I could have killed her.
I feel like I can confidently assume that by and large the idea of their parents sexuality is not something many people spend much time pondering… that is unless, that is, your parent’s sexuality is a matter of controversy. And this is the case, not only for kids whose parents struggle with SSA but also for the children of those who are openly gay (because at this point there’s a significant number of them). No matter how you raise your children or with which principles, beliefs, or politics you choose to instill in them, at the end of the day when it comes to this issue, your sexuality is all kinds of in their face.
Growing up in the family that I did, I know that to some extent this is unavoidable. I strongly believe that keeping secrets is far worse for your children than telling them the truth, but in doing so, I feel like parents should definitely consider the burden that they are about to put on their children. Please hear me when I say, that when I use the word burden, that I don’t say it with any bitterness and not even any negativity, contrary to what the word might imply on its own. The fact of the matter, however, is that it is a burden in the sense that it is knowledge that we must bear and come to terms with, but I can promise you that when God, in his infinite wisdom, designed your child, He created that child with the capacity to bear it.
So let’s bring it home… children of those who struggle with SSA are going to be dealing with their parent’s sexuality for most if not all of their lives, and I believe God specifically created them with the ability to bear that, but it seems important to me that both parents and children know that there are boundaries… so that children are allowed to be just that, children. Not confidantes, not best friends, not confessionals. But where that line should fall, I haven’t yet discovered… so I’m leaving this open in the end. Discuss. =)