What about the Kids?

SlowPoly

Member
I hesitate to come in and say poly seems to work well for my kids. I just don't think it has much to do with poly, but with conscious parenting choices and our own disinclination to constantly be auditioning new partners.

The kids always have a parent (me or Woof) at home or nearby, and the ability to contact the other. So there's no neglect. We spend more time with our kids than most parents I know. For better or for worse. ;)

The idea of poly doesn't shatter some paradigm they had previously taken as Truth. They know (generally, and from specific examples among our oldest friends) that people sometimes have more than one partner at any level of commitment. They know I have Mitch. It all seems like a yawn to them. Just like LGBT issues and religion. They know about bisexuality and transgenderism (because it's important to us that they know these are okay in them and others). They have gay friends. They might know that Woof and I identify as bisexual, because we've never hidden it -- I honestly can't remember if it's come up with all three of them. Woof and I are atheists, and the kids are whatever they want to be, and they know that spirituality is something almost everyone seems to have their own unique view on. It's not a disturbance in their force to encounter polyamory any more than these other variations in human experience. Importantly, we have never asked them to lie about our relationships (or orientation, or religion) to anyone. They've shared with friends, and their world didn't end. Yawn.

There's no extra partner drama (breaking up or fighting or whatever) because we choose partners carefully (and rarely). We've had friends from far away stay with us, but never as partners or potential family members. If there's no reason to bring someone home, we don't create a reason by saying they have to meet the kids toward becoming a big, happy, poly family someday -- we just wouldn't force things that way.

I can see how other models of poly would introduce drama, or make the parents less available to the kids. But I see the same thing in mono relationships where there is conflict between spouses, or time conflicts because of careers or hobbies.

We aren't perfect parents, and we aren't the best. But we are providing a supportive environment for the kids to grow in, and we are present and responsive to their needs. We are parenting with our ideals in mind, and being poly just has very little to do with that, except in that it meshes well with our overarching philosophy of how to live.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Re: childolotry ... on some subconscious level I think I hoped someone would introduce this idea, the idea that prioritizing the kids 100% of the time actually doesn't necessarily work, and that there is a fine balance between spending enough quality time with each child and spending too much. Monogamous parents (as much as anyone) need nannies or babysitters to look after the kids while they (the parents) engage in date nights and nurture their original adult relationship. Otherwise the parents risk losing the closeness they had with each other, which then becomes a dysfunctional example for the kids. The question of whether one or more poly partners can be added to the equation has to do with whether that fine balance can still be maintained with everyone, kids and adults.

100%? How is that healthy? I struggle with staying at home during term breaks. I am counting down the hours until my girls return. I love my children, but I need time away from them. They need time away from me, too. I refuse to be a helicopter mum. Always hovering above and smothering the hell out of them. God, take me out if I ever do that. I am still trying to strike a balance. All I know is from 3-11, I am on my toes until the last child goes to sleep. I cannot say x amount of hours belongs to each child. No two nights are the same.

As I am getting back in to the church, I am adopting the mentality I once had. God, marriage, children, and everything else falls in place. When they go off to uni or start their own lives, we will still be here and have the other half of our lives to live. Our world cannot revolve around them. Our marriage is the only romantic relationship that they see day in and day out, so from that angle, it is important that they see us taking care of it and tending to it. Thus, date nights and in-home QT are not foreign concepts to the two older ones. I want my children to see what a healthy relationship is. For me, it is not about teaching them that the trip to Monoland is the only roadtrip they will ever want or need to take. I am not in multiple relationships, so I cannot show them the balancing act, so to speak. My husband's POV is not the same as mine. He is against teaching them about poly or non-monogamy at all because he does not understand it, believe in it, or support it. The surprises never end with that one. We have had many discussions about this. Do mono parents teach their children about non-mono relationships? I know my parents did nothing of the sort.

And, while I know FullofLove1052 is hitting herself for thinking "Mum knows best" when her daughter was one or two, the tricky reality is that parents have a responsibility to exercise judgment for their child in areas where the child isn't yet experienced enough to make the call on their own. Even though parents make mistakes, they must/should still wear the mantle of authority and differentiate between their child's wants and needs. Learning to delay gratification is an important lesson for any child. So, "Not right now, son, Daddy has to work," or, "Not tonight honey, Mommy and Daddy are going on a date," are (I think) parts of what a child will hear in a well-balanced household. The trick is determining how much is too often for the child to hear those kinds of things.

Mmhm. It is a delicate balance.

Somewhat off-topic is, should parents maintain hobbies while they're raising their kids? Does that fill a valid role in the family dynamic; is it a good example for the kids ... or does it show a damaging selfishness on the part of the parent who's (at that moment) neither nurturing any relationships nor working (doing chores or holding down a job) for the family?

I am all for maintaining hobbies and interests. I do not think it takes anything away from the family. Unless you have too many. I had an identity before my children, and I firmly believe that I need to maintain an identity outside of them. I apply that to all relationships. Losing yourself in someone opens the door to losing who you are and the essence that is you. I encourage my children to have alone time just like I do when I have "me" time.

On a tangential note, this thread is increasingly inspiring me to encourage us all to watch (or re-watch) the old 1979 film "Kramer versus Kramer." Besides being a really good movie overall, it also confronts us with some tough questions about how adults should handle their priorities, both with each other and with the children in their lives. I mean there's a scene where the guy's son (rather accidentally) meets a woman the guy's dating possibly for one night only. What a classic scene. Did the guy royally screw up in exposing his son to that?

My brother had it on when I was at his house, but I fell asleep. I was excited about seeing it, but jet-lag kicked my arse.

I for one am learning a lot from our discussion here; I really appreciate everyone's input.

I am quite enjoying the opinions and views. It is interesting how every situation is different.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
Do you think polyamory is bad for the kids?

I think it can be good and or bad depending on how you handle your relationships.

In my case good. But I do not have a revolving door of partners. I am polyfi with two husbands.

What problems do you think poly can potentially cause for the kids?

If the parents are always leaving the kids to go play with the other partners they have. I can see how poly can be horrible for children.

On the other hand I am also raising my boys to be independent and that the world doesn't revolve around them. While I love my kids I am not in love with them. My life involves them but does not revolve around them.

If a child has been the center of their parents world I can see how they could develop resentment if a parent suddenly starts having a life of their own.

Even before exploring poly I had my own life. I had hobbies outside the home without kids. Horses, training and showing dogs, racing cars... Butch would keep the kids while I got out and enjoyed myself. Even managed it when I was breast feeding.
 

Bluebird

Well-known member
I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. My husband is a work from home dad. My kids are almost 25, 23 and 16. I've been out as poly to them for about as long as I've been poly - almost a year.

Honestly, I believe my being poly has had less effect on them than my divorce from the father of the older two. Why? Maturity, primarily.

When I told them about being poly, I initially told just my middle child, because she lives out of state and it would have the least amount of impact on her day to day life. She was amazed and amused, I think. Entirely accepting. She will actually meet my boyfriend for the first time tomorrow, and I am not anticipating any issues.

I told my oldest son with a lot of trepidation, because he has Asperger's, and as mentioned by someone else in this thread - a very black and white view of the world. He was quiet, then responded with, "well mom, you've always been weird." He has met many of my boyfriends as they came over, but he gave them a courteous but disinterested hello and returned to video games. With PunkRock, they talk superficially about books and movies and video games, and since PunkRock has his painting desk in a corner of the basement that my son rents out, they interact often. If we were to split, I don't believe my son would be heartbroken. He doesn't bond easily to anyone.

My youngest daughter has been affected greatly. My husband and I told her together, after discussing it with her therapist. He recommended that since the older two already knew not to leave her out of the loop. She cried a bit, in shock, I think. She asked questions and then it didn't seem to bother her. I had previously come out to her friends' parents, as the parents were my friends, and I was concerned about her confiding in her friends and them not knowing how to respond. It turns out, she never told a soul.

I did check in with her on a regular basis, and apparently, most of her peer group found out from their parents, and several asked her about it, and wasn't it weird? She told them, no, it's just a different way of living, and then they went on with a separate conversation focus. No one has teased her about it, I know that for sure. Since I homeschool, many of the kids I know well, and they have met my boyfriend in passing. I think at first it may have been a scandalous idea, but when they see how normal and boring we are, it isn't an issue.

At one point, a few months ago, I was leading a morning chemistry class out of my home, and one of the moms asked her daughter if she wanted her to bring her some lunch later. Then the mom asked me if I would like anything. The teen piped up, " Mom! She has two guys who treat her like a princess! They will get her lunch, believe me!" Everyone laughed, because it was true - the kids had witnessed, more than once, both of my guys bringing me snacks and asking me what I needed.

If anything, I think it has been educational for the homeschool kids in our group to see the way this relationship structure works. It normalizes things. It helps though that the group is very secular. We have several teens in the group who have come out as gay - guys and girls - and everyone is already accepting of that.

Anyway, I haven't seen any negative effects on my kids. PunkRock and my youngest team up against me in board games, :) and he's attended several family events with her and I when her father couldn't. Actually, he's taken two vacations with just us three. She was perfectly fine and so were all of our interactions. She is happy to have an extra chauffeur in the household too, so she can get to the mall!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re: teacher fired for having an in vitro ... holy crap.

@ SlowPoly ... thanks for chiming in; I like your point that poly doesn't always matter. Decent parenting is always a whole world of meticulous choices, no matter what.

Re (from FullofLove1052):
"Do mono parents teach their children about non-mono relationships?"

Wowzah, that's a heavy question. My first thought is that they're not required to do so; as the parents they can make that call. The kids can always learn it on their own (later on), if that's how it's meant to be.

But what about these questions:

  • Do hetero parents teach their children about same-sex couples?
  • Do right-wing parents teach their children about left-wing ideals?
  • Do fundamentalist parents teach their children about evolution?
  • Do pacifist parents teach their children about WWII?
And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, then: To what extent do the parents teach these things? Do they quickly gloss over it, or do they give the kids an in-depth knowledge about it?

Re:
"I am all for maintaining hobbies and interests. I do not think it takes anything away from the family. Unless you have too many."

So -- all good things in moderation; that makes sense. :)

@ Dagferi ... thanks for your answers; it increasingly appears to me that we (so far) generally agree that when it comes to kids it's all about striking the right balance. They need to know that they are loved, but they also need to know that they can be strong and independent. Action and example are probably the best teachers of these lessons.

Re (from Bluebird):
"I told my oldest son with a lot of trepidation, because he has Asperger's, and as mentioned by someone else in this thread -- a very black and white view of the world. He was quiet, then responded with, 'Well mom, you've always been weird.'"

LOLOL ... so black, white, and weird!

Re:
"When they see how normal and boring we are, it isn't an issue."

I'm thinking "boring is good" when introducing a poly relationship to the kids.

Re:
"We have several teens in the group who have come out as gay -- guys and girls -- and everyone is already accepting of that."

That's pretty awesome.
 

RichardInTN

Member
Re (from RichardInTN):
In my humble opinion, I think more damage is done to kids raised in monogamous homes, where a strict "monogamy is the only 'good' way!" party line is forced upon them.

Most poly situations I have ever heard of or come across put out a "CAN love many" vibe, not a "MUST love many" one.


Interesting way to look at it ...
to me it's the same as any "forced belief". In most cases, belief, and how it's taught to the podlings, is a "closed loop association", in a limited few it's an "open exploration".

In the mono/poly options of belief:
  • Monogamous is almost always "closed loop association". The monogamous parents will always show JUST monogamy (well, it's just the two of them, how can they show anything other than that?). They will also almost always teach (by discussion or pointing out other couples) that monogamy is the only "acceptable" (in their warped view, but I digress) way. The rare exception to that MIGHT be the occasional monogamous person/couple that was raised in a poly situation, but CHOSE mono personally while still knowing how and why poly can work
  • Polyamorous (or full on polygamous, if you go all the way to marriage) is almost always "open exploration" because poly tends to lean more towards acceptance of any variation in choices. While one family may only "present" the Vee, or Quad, or Triad, or whatever, there's likely family friends that are in a different set-up (family wise), so it's not always "this is how it is and should be" being presented to the podlings. Also, most polys will teach their podlings that it's fine if they are poly... but it's also fine if they are mono. Poly (to me, anyway) isn't the REQUIREMENT to love more than one... it's the openness to the possibility to, and the acceptance when the possibility presents itself.

Does that make any sense? (it did while I was typing it)
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I think it made sense. Due to all the mono-centric conditioning out there, most parents will be monogamous by conditioning and will pass that conditioning on to their children. It won't even occur to them to do otherwise.

And Richard ... I'm thinking that to the question, "Do mono parents teach their children about non-mono relationships?" your answer would be: "They should!"

Am I on the right track?
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Re: teacher fired for having an in vitro ... holy crap.

In the States, there was a teacher who was fired for having premarital sex and getting pregnant. If I am not mistaken, she sued. I suppose the sometimes questionable ethics are why I throw side eyes at religious schools. Think of how many shady dealings they get away with under the guise of the church's beliefs and upholding them. It is quite common for some of the so-called "elite" schools in this state to suggest that parents make a donation to the school's foundation or the 20th tennis court on the school's campus to bump a child up on the waiting list.

Wowzah, that's a heavy question. My first thought is that they're not required to do so; as the parents they can make that call. The kids can always learn it on their own (later on), if that's how it's meant to be.

I have thought about it many times over, and I agree that it is not required. I have no idea how that would even come up in conversation in our household. I am all for teaching my children to be accepting of all people and treat them fairly, but that is where I draw the line. I do get tired of reading comments where people fault their parents for not "enlightening" them. How would that happen if their parents had no knowledge or experience of anything other than monogamy? My parents had and still have no experience with non-mono relationships. I can imagine that conversation, and it would have left me confused and wondering just how many drugs did they smoke in yesteryear? They were better off living their lives and loving the way they only knew how: monogamously and letting me learn what I did on my own. If it is meant to be, it will happen.

But what about these questions:

  • Do hetero parents teach their children about same-sex couples?
  • Do right-wing parents teach their children about left-wing ideals?
  • Do fundamentalist parents teach their children about evolution?
  • Do pacifist parents teach their children about WWII?
And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, then: To what extent do the parents teach these things? Do they quickly gloss over it, or do they give the kids an in-depth knowledge about it?

Oh wow. I would say "maybe" to the first one because same-sex couples are everywhere. The other questions are interesting. I could add a million to that list.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Yeah I just don't know what criteria to use to decide what notions parents are and are not obligated to expose their kids to. I of course agree that if a monogamous couple doesn't really know there's a world of responsible non-monogamy out there, they certainly can't be expected to inform their kids about it.

I think part of the problem is, you want to shelter your kids from the really bad things in the world, but at the same time you want to prepare them for the likely chance that they'll run into some of those really bad things.

Semi-off-topic question: At what age should parents teach their kids about the various methods of birth control? (or should they just let the schools worry about that?)

As for the hypocrisy in religious schools, heh, that's no surprise, even if it's disappointing. Religion always seems to go downhill the more you try to organize it. I feel like Jesus started us out with such simple concepts, and then we took that ball and ran with it and came up with insanity like the Inquisitions and the Crusades. Not to mention stuff like child molestations by priests in modern times! and then you have the Mormon church buying a mall in Salt Lake City ... [shaking head] ... gods, okay, I'll stop now, I'm starting to foam at the mouth (just a little).

Lord, protect our kids.
 

KerryRen

New member
Semi-off-topic question: At what age should parents teach their kids about the various methods of birth control? (or should they just let the schools worry about that?)/QUOTE]

As soon as they might possibly be able/willing to have sex. IMHO. They may or may not put it to use then, but I think they should be armed with the knowledge and the tools, because eventually, they will.
 

SlowPoly

Member
Semi-off-topic question: At what age should parents teach their kids about the various methods of birth control? (or should they just let the schools worry about that?)

I have a friend whose kids are 10+ years older than mine. She would buy condoms while grocery shopping, and when the kids (at a young age) asked what they were, she would tell them. I thought that approach was great. Treat birth control as just another life maintenance issue, and let the kids understand how it fit into our family life, and why we choose the options we do. I took the same approach with tampons - leading to discussions about the menstrual cycle and the process of baby-making.

When I had an IUD put in, and the kids (7 and under) asked what I was going to the doctor for, I explained it and showed them the brochure about it. I also explained other kinds of birth control we had used and considered over the years.

When the eldest was approaching puberty, I bought condoms, showed them what they were about (using a ketchup bottle, like college sex educators do) and invited them all to keep a stash of them. Just to be familiar with them and be comfortable having them around. We made a (surprisingly huge!) balloon out of one, so they could see that they were just a bit of latex, just like balloons. I told them I didn't expect they would be having sex for a few more years, at least, but that when they were ready to, they needed to consistently use condoms for protection against sexually transmitted infections and for contraception. I promised to always supply more, no questions asked. And I have.

Sex and sexuality aren't dirty little secrets in our family. We talk about them when they come up naturally. We don't make the kids talk about their sexuality, and we don't push conversations past their interest. They know they can ask us anything (and they do), and that they will get straight answers (except for very personal questions, when we will generalize to a range of experiences or possibilities).

Leave it to the schools? No way. My kids are homeschooled, but even if they weren't, I wouldn't trust schools to be comprehensive about sex education, and certainly not about birth control options. Some programs may be thorough, but I think it is too important a life skills topic to leave to the schools, with all the distractions and variables that could leave a lesson not completely covered for any particular student.
 
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LovingRadiance

Active member
I have a friend whose kids are 10+ years older than mine. She would buy condoms while grocery shopping, and when the kids (at a young age) asked what they were, she would tell them. I thought that approach was great. Treat birth control as just another life maintenance issue, and let the kids understand how it fit into our family life, and why we choose the options we do. I took the same approval with tampons - leading to discussions about the menstrual cycle and the process of baby-making.

When I had an IUD put in, and the kids (7 and under) asked what I was going to the doctor for, I explained it and showed them the brochure about it. I also explained other kinds of birth control we had used and considered over the years.

When the eldest was approaching puberty, I bought condoms, showed them what they were about (using a ketchup bottle, like college sex educators do) and invited them all to keep a stash of them. Just to be familiar with them and be comfortable having them around. We made a (surprisingly huge!) balloon out of one, so they could see that they were just a bit of latex, just like balloons. I told them I didn't expect they would be having sex for a few more years, at least, but that when they were ready to, they needed to consistently use condoms for protection against sexually transmitted infections and for contraception. I promised to always supply more, no questions asked. And I have.

Sex and sexuality aren't dirty little secrets in our family. We talk about them when they come up naturally. We don't make the kids talk about their sexuality, and we don't push conversations past their interest. They know they can ask us anything (and they do), and that they will get straight answers (except for very personal questions, when we will generalize to a range of experiences or possibilities).

Leave it to the schools? No way. My kids are homeschooled, but even if they weren't, I wouldn't trust schools to be comprehensive about sex education, and certainly not about birth control options. Some programs may be thorough, but I think it is too important a life skills topic to leave to the schools, with all the distractions and variables that could leave a lesson not completely covered for any particular student.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this! Totally the way we deal with it as well.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Semi-off-topic question: At what age should parents teach their kids about the various methods of birth control? (or should they just let the schools worry about that?)

There is not a set age. I really do not remember anything my parents told me or when. Considering I identified as a lesbian, some of what they told probably did not register. "Why would I need birth control with another girl?" I implore people to have age-appropriate discussions from an early age, and expand on it as the child gets older. I doubt my son cares anything about tampons--outside of going in my purse and opening them. My youngest daughter knows what they are and why/how they are used, though. Considering girls are starting their menses earlier and earlier, it is important to have these talks to normalise it and acclimate her to the types of contraception early on.

We are taking a proactive approach with our oldest. It has been interesting blending the two belief systems. He does not believe in artificial birth control, but he is not ready to be a grandparent, so he was open to the idea of our oldest getting on birth control. She is not emotionally ready to be a mother. She has admitted to not being ready for sex and has chosen to be abstinent. Things happen, and some individual might turn her head around. Better protected than coping with unintended consequences and facing hard decisions. Regardless, I have made it clear that under no circumstances am I raising any children that I am not the biological or legal mother of. That is not to say I will not support my child and be there for her, if she does get pregnant, but a baby will not excuse her from graduating and being successful in her own right. She is on Nexplanon, so sex is not a taboo topic. She has access to condoms, and she chose the method of birth control after being educated about the pros and cons of each type. She knows condoms must be used at all times and about each STI and STD. She asks questions all the time, and I like that we have an open relationship. It is even more important to keep the dialogue open to counteract anything she may be hearing from friends, the telly, reading on the internet, etc. I have heard more girls say, "I can only get pregnant when I am ovulating." Really, now?

After years of being exposed to close minded parents who get mad at their children for getting pregnant after they failed to educate them, I have no problem telling my children anything. Telling a child about sex is not why they will get pregnant or get someone pregnant. It is failing to tell them anything that leads to it and leads to STIs/STDs. I loved my friends, but they were not exactly the best sources of information regarding menstruation, sex, development, or anything vital. If I had listened to their logic, I would never swim for fear of sharks. I would be in fear of needing a blood transfusion once a month. I could stop the bleeding by turning upside down. :rolleyes:

I would never rely on the school to educate my children about birth control, puberty, or any normal facets of adolescent development. There is entirely too much information for the school to teach.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
My ex h and I opened our marriage when our kids were 9, 12 and 14. His gf visited us a few times but as far as the kids knew, she was a friend of the family. I do remember one of them noticing the 3 of us having coffee in bed in the morning and asking me if H slept with us. I said no, since that was the truth. Actually she had spent the night w my husband in the guest room next to the master bedroom. The kids' rooms were in another wing so weren't aware.

When my husband would go to spend a weekend with his gf, we told the kids he was going to a concert out of town with friends. We didn't want to be completely out to our kids then because my ex's family were fundie Xtians and we didn't want to be outed to all of them. Also, since we homeschooled, I felt we were already perceived as weird by the close-minded families in our immediate neighborhood, and didn't want to give the bullies more ammo to taunt our kids.

Eventually the kids came to learn my ex's gf was more of a "special friend" to him. When he and I broke up in 2008 the kids were older teens or early 20s. My eldest, a lesbian, had already chosen to be poly herself. I think she just found out about it from friends on the internet, reddit, etc.

When the ex and I broke up, he moved out and I started dating. Sometimes I'd go out, sometimes I'd have a guy to the house I was sharing with the kids. It didn't matter, we had people in and out of the house all the time, and even had let the 2 older girls' SOs live there with us for a time.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I had gone along with the idea of unicorn hunting for a while when my ex h and I first opened up. When she came to be only interested in him, I had no desire to explore poly further. Kids only being 9-14 and homeschooling, needing rides to events, cooking for all of us, cleaning, all the things a mom does, I just had no desire to go out looking for an extra partner.

I was really into my parenting role and volunteer work in the breastfeeding community. It wasn't until my ex and I split that I was really motivated to date, and date more than one person at once.
 

SlowPoly

Member
I doubt my son cares anything about tampons--outside of going in my purse and opening them.

I was surprised, dismayed, and a little proud to hear my middle son explaining the biological function of menstruation to some older friends when one had complained about her period. The boys were impressed, but even the girl sounded like she hadn't really understood the connection to pregnancy. I don't understand how parents can counsel girls into womanhood without the basics. And I don't think the schools are consistently getting the entire message across. Granted, this was in a very conservative area.

(I listened, and he did well, but I later told the girl she could ask me if she had other questions, or if my kids didn't answer something she wanted to understand. I don't have a personal gag rule about other people's kids and family life education.)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Good for your son, SlowPoly!

@ Magdlyn ... it seems like a fairly safe conclusion that your kids did not noticeably suffer from what exposure to polyamory they had. I'm even betting that when you and your husband broke up, the kids didn't tag poly as the proximate cause. I'm not familiar with your blog as I should be so I could be wrong, but I just get that general impression. Although it sounds like you (for understandable reasons) kept them shielded from the knowledge of your poly situation for quite awhile.

On a "side" note it's interesting/gratifying how many answers were given to the birth control question. I find it encouraging to observe that as a general rule, most or all of you tend to broach the subject with your kids early on. I am in agreement that it usually should be broached early on.

I will try to explain what I was thinking in how the question related to the overall thread. It was an indirect way of saying, "Look, we tell our kids about certain sexual things so that they'll be prepared for them when the time comes. Is polyamory one of those sexual things that they're likely to get exposed to as they get older, and do 'we' (I know I'm not a member of that 'we') need to prepare them for that likelihood ahead of time by educating them about poly? If we don't, will they encounter poly on their own with no background preparation and as a result, handle it poorly because they don't know/understand the do's and don'ts about it?"

I know birth control (and STI protection) issues are much more likely to affect a growing teen than are poly issues, but I also think that poly is gaining momentum in our society and becoming increasingly known among our youth. Does that fact raise the subject of poly up to a level of importance that's at least in the same ballpark as birth control? If it does, then can we argue that mono parents should indeed teach their kids about non-mono alternatives (if said parents are aware of the non-mono alternatives)?

I mean we could add (to FullofLove1052's "list of a million") the question, "Do abstinence-until-marriage advocates teach their children about the options (and responsible exercise) of premarital sex?" To that I think the answer is yes, but it may constitute somewhat of a gray area and poly: even grayer.
 

KerryRen

New member
I will try to explain what I was thinking in how the question related to the overall thread. It was an indirect way of saying, "Look, we tell our kids about certain sexual things so that they'll be prepared for them when the time comes. Is polyamory one of those sexual things that they're likely to get exposed to as they get older, and do 'we' (I know I'm not a member of that 'we') need to prepare them for that likelihood ahead of time by educating them about poly? If we don't, will they encounter poly on their own with no background preparation and as a result, handle it poorly because they don't know/understand the do's and don'ts about it?"

I did encounter polyamory at an early age. More information would have been helpful; much of what I knew I gleaned from fiction, and while they were not all idealistic love-fests out of Heinlein, the examples were probably skewed that way more often than not. I brushed up against alt.polyamory on Usenet at the time, and occasionally ran across the topic on WWIVnet, but the pool of information at the time (particularly to a minor -- sysops worried about upsetting parents) seemed rather shallow, particularly compared to what's available now in book form and on the Internet. (And the fiction examples have certainly widened, too, though most go for best case scenarios and are perhaps heavier on the sex than the romance than I'd like. Esp. difficult romance; it sucks in RL, but I like to experience character's struggle.)

My parents were/are probably serial monogamists. This bothered me, I think, when I was young; then eventually it became normal. Just as growing up in a household of women influenced my perspective on men, the way my parents worked their relationships probably influenced mine. At the very least, it showed me that relationships, and family, are fluid concepts. (Like attending the funeral of my ex-stepfather's mother, with my mother and her current boyfriend. On one hand, one could ask, why was I there? OTOH, it was honoring a former connection.)

I think more information is always better than less. But I'm also trying not to push my kids' comfort levels too hard. However, as regards birth control, I feel I need to because I think the information is needed before it may ever be put into practice. At some point I may bring up poly, in theory as well as it relates currently, to my oldest. Kids will configure themselves into unusual relationship structures right under our noses, and it can't hurt to have tools and words for some of them.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Well stated KerryRen, and I appreciate you sharing your experience.

I should add that I know polyamory is only secondarily sexual; it is primarily romantic/emotional. But still, isn't it also important to prepare one's kids for the range of romantic/emotional situations they may get themselves into? Even if nothing sexual happens, significant romance always bears the risk of severe heartbreak. One never knows when one might spare one's teenage child of unnecessary emotional pain when he/she comes of that age.

And besides, I reckon the majority of polyamorous involvements do have a physical/sexual component. Not only that, but we are also (by extension) asking whether our kids should be prepared for the full range of non-monogamous involvements that are out there. For example, should a (polyamorous or monogamous) parent teach their child about swinging? Why or why not -- and at what age?
 

HelloSweety

New member
My situation is a little different as we sort of stumbled into Poly as a group lol, and there was no "dating" to find an additional partner. And were Polyfi. So I suppose it's a bit different for my daughter, though she is just a toddler she always has one of us with her. And on the rare occasions I'm not home she can ask for me and we will face time or she can talk to me. And as my boyfriend is very family oriented we tend to do things ether as a larger family, or whatever. I know my daughter well enough to notice if she is under any stress (she just acts differently when she is stressed) and other than the usual things that have always given her issues there haven't really been any changes in her behavior.

But I also fully admit that compared to most of the poly relationships I read about we barely seem poly lol!

I do my level best to keep things balanced and normal and honestly I think we have been for the most part. But it's a day to day thing. No two days go exactly alike. We have schedule changes due to college classes every few months, and lately we have all been doing a massive house wide clean out so that boyfriend can move in.

As for me being out to my toddler? Well I honestly don't discuss my sex life with her at the moment, but does she see that I love her daddy? Yes. Does she see that I love boyfriend? Yes. Do I expect her to stay quiet for us? No. I won't ask my daughter to lie for us. But I honestly don't worry about us being "outed" would it cause some issues in some situations? Oh yes! But I'm an adult and will deal with that if it ever happens. We don't really hide our poly relationship, but we also don't advertise ether. And that includes with my daughter. But she is my first priority. Heck she is all of ours first priority. It's one of the things that makes our relationships work so well. The knowledge that if something with my daughter like she has an accident that lands us in the ER for instance, I call both hubby and boyfriend. Plans be damed the one time that happened in less than an hour both her daddy and her uncle were there with her. So breaking a date? Umm not even on our radar lol!

Are we perfect? Umm hell no. Do we do our level best to keep things happy and healthy? Yes. Do we make that every single day? Probably not. But I'm trying and I have help and between me and my guys she seems to feel totally safe! and secure. And she is thriving developmentally. So while I know I'm not doing it perfectly I think I'm at least (hopefully!) not fucking her up more than I would be otherwise.
 
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