IT'S A GOOD THING, I consulted with my husband before having the "And What, My Son?" talk about the Stanford University rape with our young man. My Beloved's response consisted of words to this effect: "And WHAT, my wife? You remember how well long moral lectures don't go over? Put yourself in his place. Think of how you would react to being told: 'if you ever rape someone, don't expect us to get you off the hook the way the parents and powers-that-be did for that Stanford University Swimming Team Star who raped someone while she was unconscious.' It's insulting. No."
He's right of course.
Here's advice that made a big difference in our home when his dad and I finally learned it: when you want to put an idea in the brain of your young teen/ young adult offspring, don't tell him what you want him to think. Ask him what he thinks about this? and about that? Leading questions, for which you've supplied answers during his first fourteen years, back when he still believed his parents actually knew something about life. A young adult often gets into trouble because he acts on impulse, his physically powerful and sexually mature body acting under the influence of a prefrontal cortex--the judgment-making part of the brain--that won't be fully developed until age twenty-five or so. (The actuaries at car insurance companies know this.) Get the kid thinking about a hypothetical situation, when he's in a calm environment, ahead of time, before rage or hormones are calling the shots. And the wise voice of reason-- that hopefully will make itself heard should that situation actually arise-- will be his own, not that of his preachy mom or dad.
So, instead of giving our son a lecture, I asked him if he'd heard about the Stanford rape. He hadn't. I asked him to take a look at the satirical clip from the Onion, presciently produced five years before the recent event at Stanford University: College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed.
I could tell by observing the things in the video that made him laugh, he got it. I didn't need to say a thing.