+
popular

After finding her son's sex toys, this mom took the perfect course of action.

Talking about sex with your teen can be awkward, but this mom's response nails how to do it.

42-year-old Sally* was doing something that moms often do — helping her teenage son with some laundry — when she grew a little alarmed. Amid Tyler's* dirty clothes in the laundry basket, she found some items that looked like homemade sex toys. (*This probably goes without saying, but names have been changed.)

She wasn't mad that her 15-year-old son had been doing some exploring. Who hasn't?

But she was worried about the items he was using — various household objects that weren't meant to be used for sexual pleasure. In short: She was concerned about his safety.


As a single mother, she didn't know quite where to turn for advice. So ... she went to the Internet.

There have to be some answers in there, right?

I know, I know. At first, I thought it was a disastrous move — I mean, have you seen the stuff on Yahoo! Answers? — but it turned out to be a great decision. Her post in Reddit's /r/relationships racked up almost 500 comments. And a fair portion of the tips and advice were pretty helpful. Many people even messaged her privately, which helped her decide she needed to talk to her son about it.

Instead of pretending that she didn't see anything, she decided to write her son an honest letter.

Included in the letter was a gift card to buy his own safe toys. In a follow-up post on Reddit, Sally writes:

"I told him that I care about him, which is why I don't want him to hurt himself (or others, for that matter). I explained to him that what he had in his drawers could get him put into a hospital, and that was my biggest concern. I also made sure to mention that what he was doing was completely normal/natural; he just needed to be more health-conscious about it. I included a lot of links to educational resources (including Savage Love, which many of you raved about). I also bought him an Amazon gift card for $100."

Tyler responded to the letter with tears — and relief. After a long discussion, Sally feels that they are now closer than ever.

They probably go watch sunsets together and stuff. Photo by Klappe/Pixabay.

Talking about sex with parents can be pretty awkward. (Probably more so if one of them found your private collection of toys.)

But Sally knew that her response could have a long-lasting impact on Tyler's relationship to sex (and himself). That's why she approached the potentially humiliating situation with love — and respect for her son's natural sexual behavior. Right on, Sally.

Sally and Tyler's story is a great lesson on talking about masturbation with kids.

How a parent approaches the topic can be vital to a child's development. Here's how Sally got it right:

1. She didn't shame him for what he did.

While a recent survey from Indiana University shows that 78% of Americans have masturbated at some point in their lives, the stigma around the behavior makes a lot of people hesitant to admit it publicly. Sally was careful to emphasize that what her son was doing was totally normal. That can help reduce embarrassment about learning how one's body works.

2. She respected his independence...

And, she gave him the tools to explore — safely. Sally emphasized that her concern was simply about her son remaining safe and healthy. When children have a healthy, no-shame relationship to masturbation, it helps them take ownership of their bodies. As a result, they have better sex with partners because they know how to communicate what they need.

3. ...while also making it clear she was available for support.


Who doesn't need a sympathetic shoulder here and there? GIF via "Gossip Girl."

A number of Reddit commenters suggested that Sally simply pretend she didn't see anything. But receiving that letter helped Tyler muster the courage to approach his mother. Turns out, he'd been wanting to talk to her for a while because he was concerned about the effects of using the toys. An open conversation with his mother (and a quick doctor's visit) helped reassure them both that everything was fine.

Props to you, Sally, for thoughtfully addressing this issue head-on. I'm sure Tyler would join me in saying, "Thank you for being awesome."


Bravo!

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

Keep ReadingShow less

Golden retriever has cutest reaction to sister walking.

Here at Upworthy we look for stories that will make you smile and warm your heart and, let’s face it, we could all use a little help in the smile department these days. When we ran across this ridiculously sweet story on The Dodo about a golden retriever and his little human sister, we simply had to share it with you. Taco is a 3-year-old golden retriever who has been lovingly waiting for his new baby sister, Vanora, to be able to play with him, and the day has finally come.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Teacher of the year explains why he's leaving district in unforgettable 3-minute speech

"I'm leaving in hopes that I can regain the ability to do the job that I love."

Lee Allen

For all of our disagreements in modern American life, there are at least a few things most of us can agree on. One of those is the need for reform in public education. We don't all agree on the solutions but many of the challenges are undeniable: retaining great teachers, reducing classroom size and updating the focus of student curriculums to reflect the ever-changing needs of a globalized workforce.

And while parents, politicians and activists debate those remedies, one voice is all-too-often ignored: that of teachers themselves.

This is why a short video testimony from a teacher in the Atlanta suburb of Gwinnett County went viral recently. After all, it's hard to deny the points made by someone who was just named teacher of the year and used the occasion to announce why he will be leaving the very school district that just honored him with that distinction.

Keep ReadingShow less