Now Or Never

'I don't want to become a grandfather at 34': Talking to my teenager about sex

'I found out that my son's mother was pregnant when I was 16 years old, the age he is right now. I want to let my son know: we're going to keep talking about sex,' writes Lenard Monkman.

Lenard Monkman, 33, is ready to have 'the talk' with his son, 16

Lenard Monkman had his son, Isaac, when he was just 17. Now that his son is nearly that age, it's time to have the talk. (Submitted by Lenard Monkman)
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Contributed by Lenard Monkman, as told to Now or Never

It was really important for me to start having early conversations with my son about sex.

I found out that his Mom was pregnant when I was 16 years old, the age he is right now. As he becomes an adult, I want to let my son know: we're going to keep having these conversations. We're going to keep talking about sex.

Plus, I don't want to become a grandfather at 33 or 34 years old.

It's time for 'the talk'

I think if the two of us can have an open conversation about sex, he'll feel comfortable talking to me about whatever his problems are in the future.

My parents never felt comfortable enough to talk to me about sex. The majority of the conversations that I had about sex were at school. Instructors would show up once in a while and they would teach you how to put on condoms.

They'd show up with this little fake baby you had to take care of. I ended up actually taking the baby home for a day or two... and then the next year I had my son. I obviously didn't listen as hard as I should have.

A young Isaac, 4, poses with his dad Lenard, 21. (Submitted by Lenard Monkman)

We grew up together

I'm a single dad. It's just me and him together, and I don't feel like I'm the best parent. But I do feel like he listens to me when he needs to. So I tell him all the time:

I'm going to support you, but I'm going to kick your ass all the way through life.

I expect my son to go out there and live his life and make mistakes in the same way that I did. But I also trust that he's not going to go out there and make as many mistakes as I did.

It's important for me to make sure that he's having safe sex every single time. I want to make sure he's having consensual sex every single time. When I'm having conversations about sex with my son, those are the two most important things. Safe sex, consensual sex — you can't go wrong with that.

I don't regret having my son when I did. He's going to be an adult soon and we basically grew up together. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Father and son. (Submitted by Lenard Monkman)

This interview has been edited for clarity. To hear Lenard's full interview with Now or Never, click the listen button above.