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Laura Bennett Laments Having 'The Talk' With Her Sons

11/07/2008 at 08:00 PM ET
Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

As mom to five boys, Project Runway Season 3 finalist Laura Bennett admits that having "the talk" is something she’s not entirely comfortable with. Her daughter Cleo, 20, "was always so mature and evolved," that Laura, 45, says no talk was ever necessary — but the same cannot be said for her sons. Following a recent Halloween party, at which a dozen kids engaged in "a run of the mill game of Truth or Dare," Laura says she was reminded of her "parental duty to talk about sex" with the kids. That she and the boys "don’t have the same equipment" only added to her discomfort, she writes in a humorous column for The Daily Beast.

"I don’t have a penis, I don’t even like to say the word penis, and I don’t understand the fascination they have with it or why they have the need to hold on to it like a handle. Constantly."

There was a time when an artist like Michael Jackson or Madonna "grab[bing] their groins" in a music video caused controversy, but not so for Laura’s sons. "They call it dancing," she explains. "Every time they hear music they clutch their crotch and hang on for dear life, like it’s Pavlovian."

"Music seems to remind them that it’s there, as if they had ever forgotten. Everywhere I look around here, there is a boy who needs to put his pants on."

Click ‘More’ to read about how Laura’s talk with the boys "went awry."

Laura followed some advice she found on the Internet, which said that in order to minimize confusion, she should use the anatomical names for body parts. She began substituting "penis" for "weenie" around the house but it backfired, however, when one of her sons was sent to the principal’s office for using the term at school.

"’Why did you say penis?’ [The principal] wanted to know. ‘I just had to,’ was his reply. Her solution was that he was to come to her office every morning and say penis as many times as he needed to get it out of his system. Then he could return to class and start his day. After three days, he was cured of his Tourettian outbursts and stopped visiting. Perhaps I should consider a three-day masturbatathon to put an end to this once and for all."

Laura is mom to Peik, 13, Truman, 10, Pierson, 6, Larson, 5, and Finn, 2, with husband Peter L. Shelton. Cleo is her daughter from a previous relationship.

Source: The Daily Beast

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Lilybett on

That’s hilarious. What a great principal!

COurtney on

LMAO!!!! I can so understand….

Natasha on

LMAO! I’m curious, how do you pronounce Piek? Is it Peek, or Pee-ik? I love the name Larson!

Kat on

oh, my.

thank goodness the principal was so nice and had common-sense on how to approach it.

but I totally understand how she feels about the tension and unease.

That said, it is important that, no matter HOW mature a child may seem, the talks MUST happen.

I’ve already had talks with my 8yr old, who seems to have the same maturity as his younger brother, because he is so big and tall for his age I’m sure he will start puberty early.

He needs to know what will happen to his body so he isn’t scared or surprised…

He knows the basics of babymaking, but one of us (myself or my husband) will be giving the first (most likely of many, giving him more info gradually over time so each section can really sink in and any of his millions of questions that usually follow a talk over the week or two after can be answered) when he is 10.

I really think you can’t put these things off. I already had to talk to the boys about kissing and when I feel that it’s appropriate and when they are the right age, not to mention the talks we have on how to behave to ladies.

It’s our job as mothers to teach our sons that women feel things more strongly sometimes, and they have to verbalize that they are sorry, or write a little note, maybe give a flower, help pick up what they knocked over, that kind of thing. Otherwise, they would be mystified why they and their male buddies can fight like enemies one minute and be best friends again the next, but do something wrong with a girl, and she doesn’t want to be your friend anymore because you never made amends.

Teaching them about themselves, about girls, and the relationships sexual and otherwise are so important and we can’t neglect our job to prepare these boys to become men, or girls to be women.

Kait on

Aw I never realized she had a daughter… That’s pretty humorous about the situation, although embarrassing.

I think it’s pronounced Pike. But I could be wrong.

DFG on

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Kelly on

Oh yay i dont think i ever heard her youngest sons name i remember her from PR & i loved her i remember feeling so bad for her living in a houseful of boys ha & this whole time shes had a daughter! I hope she has another daughter but i doubt it

CTBmom on

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Too funny!

MB on

I think it’s pronounced Pike Natasha. Also, I think the principal was awesome. What a creative way to handle it! I think I disagree with that website however. I’ve heard it’s better to use the proper terms in order to de-mystify them for kids. A mean, a penis is a body part, not a bad word, but kids need to learn when it’s appropriate to talk about it and when it’s not.

SH on

I was thinking Peik would be pronounced “Pike” like the fish…but I could be wrong…

Stef on

With all of those sons, I don’t blame her for being nervous. I don’t know how I would handle that. She needs to get her husband in to help on it. It should be a team effort!

Becca on

I think her kids have the coolest names. And Natasha, Peik is pronounced like pike.

phoebe on

Okay, I haven’t heard of this lady before, but that was hilarious! She sounds like a fun mummy to have around!

phoebe on

Are you sure the child’s name is pronounced Pike? Phonetically, it looks more likely it would be Peak. I love both ways though, very cute name.

Natasha on

Thanks everyone! I like it, pronounced as Pike! :)

Molly on

Kat,

Ten might be a bit late to get into specifics. In many big cities, kids are already performing and receiving oral sex by ten. True that doesn’t fall under the baby-making category and a lot of kids don’t view it as sex, but you might want to mention something now before he joins in and catches something. My friend in LA, had to get her nine year old treated for gonorrhea. About twelve kids in her class needed to be treated and it was all oral sex related. Just a heads up.

sasha on

um wow, a nine year old treated for gonorrhea, maybe that’s LA for you but out in the real world it’s definitley not an issue, i’m blown away by that, my daughter is 8 and to think of oral sex in her age group is disgusting

Kat on

Molly, thanks for the advice.

He knows the basics of all that.

When I say specifics, I mean to explain more than that parts touch or that something is when the mouth is put there.

He has aspergers and, for him, we have to explain things VERY VERY slowly.

But you have also made me think that I will definitely have to talk about the details sooner with his brother and his sister, since they don’t have aspergers.

MB on

Sadly Sasha, it *is* an issue in many parts of the country. When my sister was 11, many of her classmates were having oral sex in the bathrooms at school. We live in Small Town America. I’m a public health student and the statistics about pre-teen and teen STI transmission is staggering.

Now, I’m not saying that to tell anyone when to teach their kids about the birds and the bees, but pre-teen oral sex is a real issue these days. :-(

molly on

Kat,
I have two sons with autism so I know how difficult is can be to explain complex social situations like romantic relationships and sex. They have such a hard time managing in social situations where they don’t really know the rules and can be taken advantage of.

As for Sasha who thinks oral sex between young kids doesn’t happen in the real world then good luck. It only takes one kid exposed to a highly sexualized childhood (think those little girls who dress like hookers for Halloween) to start a trend. I don’t trust my boys around girls over a certain age because with Hello Kitty thongs and Bratz dolls, girls grow up too fast and their parents celebrate their daughters being sexy and cool.

Still Laura is so right on about boys and their private parts. Too cute.

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