Open Door – Juggling Kids, Honesty and Disclosure in a Kinky Household

Parenting kids in a kinky household really is different. I suppose everyone experiences parenthood differently, but I think kinksters definitely have unique challenges.

Our kids have been raised in a very non traditional environment.  I
don't think that will really come as a shock to anyone who knows much
about our family. First, they were exposed to polyamory from their
earliest memories. There was always Mommy, Daddy, and, from the time
they were 4 (almost 5) someone else. I wasn't the first person either
of them had in their lives seriously, either. It has always been
perfectly natural for them to see multiple people loving each other and
sharing affection.

They also see evidence of our dynamic. Both CC and I always called
him Sir, and I still do.  When they were very small they actually
thought it was his name. We also slept on the floor, each with our own
beds on the ground next to Daddy's. Again, I still do this.  They've
never thought of it as sleeping on the floor of course, they think,
"Daddy's bed and bridget's bed."

Yet, for all this openness we've
always tried to be very careful about crossing age appropriate lines.
They never see or hear us play. They aren't aware of the specific
sexual dynamics that exist between us. In fact, when CC was pregnant
with the little guy they told me they consider all three of us to be
"married" and then hastened to add, "But you and Daddy don't have
sex… right?" At the time I told them they really needed to talk to
Mommy and Daddy about that.

We've always questioned to ourselves where exactly the lines are. We
don't ever want to lie to our kids, but there are some things we would
rather they not know. For instance, I don't really care if they know
Daddy is in charge. I have absolutely no desire to hide our personal
dynamic from them because it is part of who we are.  But, I'd rather
they not hear the word "slave" because I think they would not be able
to understand it.  Similarly I'd rather they not realize that Master is punishing me for real offenses (though they may have that light bulb go on someday).

We always figured they would figure out we are into
some "weird" sex stuff at some point, but we make an effort to keep the
toys locked away.  It used to be we only hid the toys in the back of
Master's closet,  but as they got older and snoopier we ultimately
moved them to a locked box.

Well … apparently they started snooping a little earlier than we thought.

This weekend I was cleaning the basement with my son B (age 11).  He came across a broken cat toy and, being our son, immediately began to whip it down on the bed. He added commentary like, "That would hurt!" "Ouch!" "Oh yeah!"  Both B and his brother J have been doing things like this for a while now, but B is definitely more enthusiastic than J. He has also recently taken to whipping his belt out of his pants and swinging it around menacingly. Perhaps I should have left well enough alone, but I didn't. I said, "What is with you and wanting to whack people all the time?"

I don't know what kind of response I was expecting from him, but I didn't get it. Instead he said to me, "Dad likes to do that." … At that moment many thoughts went through my head, but most of them were along the lines of, – WTF DO I DO NOW? OH MY GOD!!!!!! – I don't know if I looked as panicked as I felt, but I made an effort to remain calm and asked him, "What do you mean?"  B told me, "A few years ago I was hiding in Daddy's closet and I saw an excessive number of whips and paddles."

Oh. Shit. Fuck. Ok…

"What do you think about that?"

"Why does he have all that stuff?"

I thought about a lot of things to say. I thought about saying I had no idea, I thought about telling him he didn't remember right and there isn't anything in Daddy's closet. I also thought about copping out all together and saying, "Ask your father." But, ultimately I decided our commitment not to lie to our kids needed to be upheld, and I really didn't want him to be freaked out. So I told him.

"You know about sex, right?"

"Yeah"

"Well, some people like to use those things as part of sex. Don't worry though, you only do that with someone who wants to do it too."

"Oh"

"Any more questions?"

"I feel really awkward."

"So do I."

That was pretty much the end of the discussion. I did tell him these are the kinds of things he can always ask his parents but shouldn't really bring up at school etc. He said he understood that.

He seems fine and totally not traumatized. I on the other hand am still rather horrified several days later. I feel ok about the conversation. I am glad I decided not to lie to him, and I am glad after a "few" years of sitting on this he finally got to bring it up. I'd much rather go this direction than have skeletons (or excessive numbers of whips and paddles) in the closet.

More than anything, we want them to grow up without a sense of shame. We don't want them to think their parents had big nasty secrets, or that sex is dirty. We want them to know that whatever they like is ok, even if that's missionary with the lights out.

But boy, this parenting thing sure is tough. And a word to the wise, your kids are snooping sooner than you think. The end.

8 thoughts on “Open Door – Juggling Kids, Honesty and Disclosure in a Kinky Household

  1. Mija

    Wow. So avoiding a conversation like this would be, in addition to being able to sleep into double digits on the weekend, the upside of not having children. 😉
    Seriously, you rose to the moment beautifully. You reacted with honesty without giving too much information and you let him stop the conversation when he wanted. (Of course the downside might be his feeling comfortable coming back to you for more information.)
    I think the balance you and your master try and strike is a good one, especially with regard to them not knowing the exact nature of the power dynamic between the two of you nor hearing any sort of punishment even though that has to make for some challenges and compromises.
    All in all, well done. 🙂

    Reply
  2. sparkle

    You totally did the right thing in linking it to sex, and not a separate discussion of power dynamics and/or punishment.
    First of all, now they are sex toys. Second of all, he won’t ask (you) again. He might ask his dad, I suppose. But probably not. How old were you before you googled pervy things online?
    And thank you for the right answer to one of the inevitable questions of my future. 🙂
    s

    Reply
  3. Iris

    Seriously, my dear, well done. I echo sparkle’s and Mija’s sentiments and add my gratitude for the answer to the inevitable. 🙂 And good for you for adding the bit about only doing it with someone else who wants to. That empathy/awareness piece is really important. Hugs to you after the tough curve ball!

    Reply
  4. Indy

    I can only agree with the the three wise women above. Well done, and lovely writing, too. My favorite part was “I feel really awkward,” followed by “so do I!”
    Oh, and congratulations, Iris & M!

    Reply
  5. Indy

    I can only agree with the the three wise women above. Well done, and lovely writing, too. My favorite part was “I feel really awkward,” followed by “so do I!”
    Oh, and congratulations, Iris & M!

    Reply
  6. Bridget

    Thanks everyone for the kind words! It’s nice to have some affirmation that I did the right thing, because I’ve found myself wondering several times if that was really the best way to go about it. Those of you who thanked me for giving you the right answer, let me know how it goes for you when the time comes!
    It’s funny, sparkle, it never actually occurred to me to have the discussion about D/s and punishment. I am not sure why it wasn’t one of the options that occurred to me, but it didn’t.However, if it had been I think you’re right that would have been the wrong way to go.
    I think that is one of those things that kids may well understand without ever having to explain it, and I’m ok with that. I suppose if one of them ever asked me directly, “Does Daddy punish you?” I would say yes. I doubt they would ask that, but then I didn’t think they’d ask this, either!
    They already do say little things that indicate to me they understand. For instance the other day I told our sick kid he had to drink a slightly unpleasant home remedy for his cold. He was was complaining and I said, “Hey, this isn’t really optional for any of us.” He said, “Because of Dad!”
    I guess I just thought linking it to sex made the most sense because even though it is certainly deeper than that for me, it seemed like the simplest and “most true” answer. Not everything I do in this kink is sexual, but it is all a part of my sexuality. I wouldn’t have a need for real discipline in my life if I wasn’t inherently turned on by spanking (I don’t think so, anyway).
    As for when I started searching for kinky things … I am young, but still old enough that I didn’t have the net until I was a bi tolder. However, I looked up “spanking” in the dictionary by early elementary school and as soon as we did have the internet I was definitely searching. In fact, I give Pablo and Mija credit for being one of the first spanking story sites I found. They definitely played a role in my kinky development. I don’t know how that makes *them* feel, but that is a totally separate discussion.
    I am actually really glad the net is out there, it makes it that much more likely that our kids will be ok with whatever they are into. It was really a relief to realize that this was really normal, and I managed to escape most of the angst that comes with thinking you are a freak for being kinky. That didn’t stop me from worrying about what my family would think, but I knew I could have a good life and pursue my fantasies, and I want the same for my kids.

    Reply
  7. Emma

    I have to say I loved the concept of “an excessive number of whips…” like one or two would have been perfectly ordinary. Children say the most wonderful things.
    Seriously though, I think you handled the situation quite well. Kudos to you for answering the question honestly and succinctly.

    Reply
  8. S

    Wow, your story really hits home for me. I am also in a poly D/s relationship with children. The children are mine from my previous marriage. My partners have wanted children for a long time and are embracing having them in their life. It can be so very complicated though. Especially when you throw the D/s aspects in there too.
    The children don’t quite understand why ‘Sissy’ isn’t really my sister or why ‘uncle M’ to them is Daddy to me. What do you do though? He is Daddy to Sissy and I. Are we supposed to remember not to call him that around the children? That just wouldn’t work for us. Do they notice the dynamic? Of course they do. They might not know that Sissy and I get punished, but they can sure tell when we are ‘in trouble’ when he uses the Daddy voice on Mommy and Auntie.
    Fortunately, we belong to a church that embraces our poly family so that makes things a little less strange for the kids. Sometimes I notice little things that they do, like smacking people with wooden spoons(2 year old son) or telling me she likes bruises(10 year old daughter)and I wonder if some of my own needs and fetishes are hereditary. I remember always liking pain as a child. I’d put my toes under the feet of my chair and squish them on purpose.
    Some of my kinky friends say that they will never discuss their kink with their kids. If they want to find the lifestyle they will find it on their own. For me, I want to treat it like sex. If they have questions and are of an age where it is appropriate to talk about sex, then I will answer their questions. I don’t want them out there being unsafe with sex and I don’t want them out there experimenting with kink without knowing some basic safety rules. I also don’t want them to grow up suppressing any kinky thoughts and feeling like they are some kind of freak like I did for years.
    Blessings

    Reply

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