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Welcome to the The Polyamorous Misanthrope, in which myself, the Goddess of Java, or some guest columnist will rant, rave and otherwise edify on some poly subject.   If you have an idea for a column or a rant on spike, contact me and we'll talk it over.   For past articles, check out the Archive .

Be an Example

“Well, no, I don’t think it is a good idea if my children know I am poly!”

Mama Java, she read a line similar to this on her lunch break. Her office is outside a corridor that is mostly marble and concrete, so her exclamation of “What the fuck?” echoed quite clearly and entertainingly all through the third floor. Mama Java, she thinks she caused heart failure in some of her colleagues, because they had developed the idea in the last two years she has worked in her present job that she doesn’t swear .

Okay, enough of the goofy third person and into the meat of the article.

Friends, I’m not trying to assert that your children need the details of your sex life. I sure as hell don’t know what my parents do in bed, and don’t want to. For that matter, if I’m not involved, I don’t want the details of anyone’s sex life and I’m not giving out the details of mine!


My father once commented something to me when my son was born that I have taken strongly to heart, “Your children won’t listen to a word you say. They will pay close attention to what you do.”

This is quite true. So, what kind of example are you setting for the kids? If you’re in doubt that setting the example of being poly is okay, you really, really need to rethink your stance on whether or not you have any business doing it yourself. This is not about whether or not it’s okay for an adult to do something a kid shouldn’t. I’ll have a glass of wine in front of the kids, and they know that it’s something a grownup in the US can do but a kid can’t . They know I have a special vocabulary of “grown-up” words I can use because I know when and were to use them. If I really thought cussing was wrong, or would freak if my kids ever developed the vocabulary, however, I’d stop doing it. In fact, my parents did not cuss because they really did not want me to develop the vocabulary.

I don’t think it is okay, for instance, to kick small animals. I set the example by being kind to our cats. The kids will model this and they’re gentle with pets. I think that reading a lot is a good thing. The kids see me with a nose in a book a lot, so they get the idea that this is something people do. I think that eating right and exercising is important. They see me do that.

Not to say I set a perfect example. The kids know I am severely addicted to caffeine and that I’ve been pretty unsuccessful in kicking the habit. I explain to them about addictive substances, they’ve seen how I feel ill if I don’t get the caffeine and we’ve talked about this. Because of this example and what they see, they will ask before consuming a strange soda if it has caffeine in it and will avoid it if it does.

Notice that I’m not holding back in talking to them. I don’t pretend to the children that I am perfect. I don’t think it is useful to do so. I do discuss things and explain to them the consequences of my choices -- as best I can in an age-appropriate manner, mind!

So, if you’re not sure it’s okay for your kids to grow up to be poly, then maybe you ought to reconsider yourself. If you are okay with it, it’s also okay to discuss, age appropriately always, the consequences of it. After all, there are consequences to all actions and it’s okay, and even a good thing to make sure the kids understand this. (i.e. “Always tell the truth so that the people that you love will trust you.”, “It’s a good thing to speak up and tell people what you want, but it’s a bad think to throw a screaming fit if someone says, ‘No’.”)

It all boils down to making sure that you set the example of the person you want your kids to be. No, they won’t be a Mini-Me, nor should they. But, setting the example of thinking for yourself and choosing your own life will increase your children’s chance at happiness when they are grown.

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