How do my fears create gossip? Parenting, Sex, Gossip and our teens

May 25, 2017

I found myself in the midst of gossip the other day with a group of moms at a school event.  One parent was concerned about her teenage sons new relationship and all that came along with his exploring his sexuality.  She has different house rules than her son’s girlfriend's house rules and this was frustrating her.


“What kind of parent would leave their teenage daughter alone with a boy!”  she asked incredulously. Other parents chimed in with their thoughts about said parent and shared their opinions (on the right way to handle our kids while navigating dating).


Hearing the gossip about the girl, her parents, other parents and other students, I also found myself ready to defend, share my thoughts and try to change the minds of these concerned parents.


Having just hosted a live webinar on how to talk to your kids consciously about sex, this conversation was timed perfectly.  As parents, we are all simply trying to figure out how to protect our kids, teach them our values and create a safe container for them to figure out who they are in the world.  


Instead we often go below the line into fear. Makes perfect sense to me. This however is where gossip wreaks havoc. In our heads and in our lives.


As I reflect back on the conversation, I listened in for the facts vs. the stories and most of all the fears.


Fact:  The boy was at the girls house and no parents were home.

Story:  The parents are so permissive and irresponsible!


Fact:  The kids were “making out” on the sofa at my house.

Story:  The girl is disrespectful.


Fact:  My son did not come home for family dinner.

Story: He is out of control and not himself!


There is nothing wrong with these stories, after all they are just stories our ego makes up to protect us. It’s completely normal! The truth is I have had all these same thoughts and opinions when something similar happened with my son. However, when we buy into our stories we drop below the line into fear and begin to control.  When we believe our stories, the next thing you know we are on the playground gossiping about how ‘crazy’ and ‘irresponsible’ these other parents are. The stories - otherwise known as gossip - get the best of us and next thing you know we are colluding with other parents, friends, our spouse or anyone who will listen to validate our stories.


What might happen if we dropped our stories?


When we can focus our attention on our stories we don’t have to look our own fears in the face after all.  But what if we challenged our stories and made space for our fears instead?


Fact:  The boy was at the girls house and no parents were home.

Story:  The parents are so permissive and irresponsible!


We can choose to pause, get quiet and notice what is going on in us when we face the FACTS. We can notice our reactions and what we make them mean and from that place we can choose how we want to respond based on what feels right to us.


When we believe that the parents are permissive and irresponsible we become judgmental of them and controlling of our kids. “They shouldn’t do that!”  We judge them as bad parents, collude with others to prove that we are right that they are bad parents and we inevitably try to control our kids by forbidding them to go to that friend's house, or by creating stricter rules.


In either case, the outcome is disconnection: from the other parents and from our child and most of all from ourselves.


What are we really disconnected from?




We don’t want anything bad to happen from heartbreak to pregnancy and rather than nurture our fear, we control it by trying to change the circumstances.  


What can we do instead?


When you notice yourself wanting to gossip, check in and ask yourself the following:


  • What am I really afraid of?
  • What do I want to create here?
  • What do I want to control?


Often when we ask these questions we relax our fears and open our minds to more effective solutions.


I'm afraid they are going to have sex…I want my son to have respect for his sexuality or I want him to wait until he is older or I don’t want him having sex at all until he gets married!  I want to control his behavior around sex.


Getting clarity for ourselves around what we are afraid of, what we want to create and what we want to control empowers us to make clear choices from above the line.  When we are clear, boundaries are easy to hold, our kids learn to trust us and what other parents do or don’t do never matters.


Ultimately, we know that as our kids grow we have less and less control over who they are and  the choices they make.  The best we can do is cultivate an honest relationship where our kids are open to hearing us - more often than not when they are open, they are listening!

Tune in here to listen to Tantric Sex Educator, Rachel Fiske, and I discuss how to talk to kids consciously about sex.

Annmarie Chereso
Founder, BringIt! Home

Here is one thing I know for sure. Practice does not make us perfect.But it certainly helps to smooth out the rough edges. The most important lesson I have learned in my crazy mixed up life is that practice is all there is and I am devoted to it. And I’d like to share it with you.

Let’s face it, life can feel out of control and crazy much of the time. My life is no exception. As a single working mother of three children, I have come to realize that my personal peace and emotional well being are the key for being a good parent, a good friend, a good partner and coach and for leading my happiest, most fulfilling and emotionally satisfying life.  My 22-year practice of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness has taught me how to be present, conscious and aware of how to cultivate this personal well being.

I have been fortunate to study with many of the great wellness leaders of our time. In addition to being a certified Martha Beck life coach, I received my training and certification to teach mindfulness through Mindful Schools and the Mindful Education Institute.  I have had the honor and privilege to study under inspiring leaders in the field of Contemplative Practices such as Jack Kornfield, Susan Kaiser Greenland, Linda Lantieri, Daniel Rechstaffen and many other pioneers in the field of mindfulness and education.  

I have been trained by prestigious mindfulness industry leaders including John Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Monthly Newsletter

Overflowing with exciting news, interviews with experts, the latest events, and valuable conscious parenting and education content.
Early access to monthly interviews with leaders in the space
Exclusive access to monthly calls with Annmarie and guests
Discounts and promo codes for BringIt! Home and others. 

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form