28 answers

Teenage Son and Friends Texting Inappropriate Messages

Hi moms,

My 14 year old son was spending a lot time texting back and forth with his friends. I could not imagine what they were talking about so much. Then he got in trouble so I took his phone away for a few days. My husband and I looked at the text messages and I was horrified with the sexual content in the messages! The guys were going on about whether certain girls would do things to boys, etc. I almost had a heart attack over what I was reading! We talked to my son and we turned off texting for a week. We are Christian people and I asked him if God would be happy about what he was doing. He said he did not think so. Anyway, my husband said that boys talk about this stuff at 14 so it's normal. I just need to know if any of you have sons and did you go through this with them. Whether or not it was texting or talking doesn't matter. I just need to know how you handled it. Thanks a bunch!

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Maybe you should get him a cheap phone that does not have text and should only be used in emergencies to call you. You can get pre paid cell phones so when his min run out, he's out.

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I also have a 14 year old son, and have been concerned about his texting. I spoke with a friend of mine who has older boys and asked her opinion. She said that she had a talk with her sons about responsibility and that she pays the phone bill and they know this was not how the phone was intended to be used. This type of communication is not allowed in their home. I spoke with my son and let him know that if he is grounded he loses any right to privacy. Anything he does not want me to see better not be on his phone. Hope this helps some.

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Hi C.-

I don't have teenagers (yet) but I do know that when I was 14 (20+ years ago) even the girls talked about this kind of stuff with friends. I know it has to be hard to see your children exposed to it, but it is normal. I think the important thing is to have your husband talk to him. He can understand what it's like to be "one of the guys" at school but can also help explain to your son the importance of respecting the young ladies in his school and how you feel about this type of material.

Good Luck,

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My daughter had a teacher who everyone loved at our school. One day a little boy said a very inappropriate thing to my daughter and her friend on the playground. When this beloved teacher heard about this, she called the boy to her room and asked him to repeat exactly what he had said to the girls, but she asked him to say them to her.

He was so embarrassed and so reluctant, but she softly encouraged him. When he repeated them to her, she told him she was so surprised that such a nice young man would use such inappropriate language.

She gave him great advice. She said "if you would be embarrassed to say something in front of your grandmother, do not say them to anyone. You never know who may be listening to you at any moment."

You may want to remind your son that the same goes for any writings or texting he ever does. In this day and age, all of these things can be traced back to the original cell phones and computer.

You could also tell him that if he cannot be a gentleman with his cell phone, you will cancel the texting part of his phone.

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I think one major lesson your son needs to learn is respect for women. Ask him how it would make him feel to think that someone would say those things kinds of things about you? Ask him how it would make the girl feel if she knew what others were saying about her. Explain to him that girls don't usually engage in those kinds of behaviors because they want to, but that they feel so badly about themselves that they think that is the only thing they have to offer to make someone like them. Tell him that usually all it does is make them feel dirty and unloved in the end. Ask him if he thinks that is sad and ask him if he wants to be associated with hurting people like that. Tell him that texting is a form of communication, and that whatever he would say to someone's face, that is how he should judge what to type. Also remind him that texts aren't private that others can show what he wrote and they would only get one side of the story...ie, if he writes something dirty about a girl, his friends can always show it to her (trying to be funny or mean to her).

I agree that this behavior does happen with boys of that age, but he needs to be made aware that just because people in the world do something on a regular basis, doesn't make it right. Have a family scripture night with a story depicting wicked people...Sodom and Gommorah for example. Just slip it in there that those people were all doing wicked things so they all kind of thought their behaviors were ok. Tell him that with just a word or two to his friends, like Christ, he can make a difference too (Come on guys, lets not talk about those girls like that, it's rude, not right, whatever). Also like Christ it is up to you to be understanding and non-threatening or demeaning to him. Good luck, God Bless!

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At age 12 I noticed my son spending a lot of time on the computer upstairs (in the gameroom-very public area) and then my daughters never wanted to use that computer. I went up one morning to look at it and WOW! was I surprised. So much pornography downloaded that the computer barely worked. Of course, I thought we were raising some deviant child and totally freaked out. My husband laughed and said in his day it was Playboy- but if they had computers back then they would have used them. I called the doctor thinking the kid needed therapy and the doctor audibly sighed before telling me that it was normal- not that we had to like it- but not to be surprised. Once I cleaned up the kid computer and brought it down next to my computer- I made it my mission to tell all the other moms of the 11, 12 year olds that we knew what had happened. Every single mom told me "Oh, my kid isn't interested in THAT. We don't have that problem at home." My response was "I didn't think we did either. Check 'History' on your computer." Two to three days later, moms were calling me with "OMG! You won't believe what I found on our computer!" Sooooo- texting is just an extension of that. I truly believe it consumes their thoughts if it gets out of hand. I totally cut my son off the computer for a few weeks while I figured out how to clean it up and where to put it- he was like a junkie deprived of his drugs. Restless, irritable, edgy. I truly believe too many of those images can alter their brains- they get a high seeing things and need it again and again. I would continue to monitor his phone use. Let him know that if you are paying for his phone then you have the right to check his texts periodically. Don't do it too often- they really need some privacy at this age. And don't always let him know you are checking. I am a BIG believer in "Trust, but verify." Not being an overly religious person I look at it more from a practical standpoint than a moral one. I tell my kids they have no business having sex unless they have a job and health insurance to support a baby. Pictures and dirty talk are insulting to me and to his sisters. How would he like his friends talking about his sisters (or cousins or aunts) that way???? (That one is guaranteed to gross him out!) You'll get through this and he'll come up with some other way to freak you out....welcome to teenagers. Good luck...

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Maybe you should get him a cheap phone that does not have text and should only be used in emergencies to call you. You can get pre paid cell phones so when his min run out, he's out.

2 moms found this helpful

Well I think that protecting his sexuality is important. I do remember in school that there were lots of kids starting to have sexual experiences at a very young age and then pressure starts to mount if you don't know about these things. I agree with another poster that it would be good for your husband to talk this over with him and just let him know that he doesn't have to get into this with his friends. I might have a talk with him about the value we each have to God and that sex is a wonderful way a husband and wife connect and produce children and that it is holy, and carries with it a lot of responsibility. Of course the number one thing I think I would do is pray that through all of this his innocence would be protected. Are there any older guys at church like 20 or so that are Godly that he can look up to? Maybe someone can serve as a mentor that he thinks of as cool. I did that for some young girls when I was in my 20s. Sorry you are going through this, while I do think curiosity about sex is normal, I think protecting him from the cavalier attituded about it that our culture promotes is really important. I wish you all the best!!

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I don't have a teenage son, but I do teach middle school. If it makes you feel any better, this is a normal thing that teenage boys go through. Last year, one boy asked a girl to send a photo of her boobs. She did, and within 10 minutes that picture was forwarded to every other 8th grader in the school- could you imagine being the mother of that girl? These days young teens are so much more advanced than we were at that age, as long as you keep a good Christian relationship with him, and he knows the difference between right and wrong, and he trusts you too, hopefully this will stay a game between his friends and his phone.

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I think it would help if your sons had a sister they were close to. I am not saying have another baby I'm just giving perspective. In my family everyone has both girls and boys. I know for a fact that this type of issue has come up between the boys and their friends. 3 of my nephews, I am proud to say, made it very clear that they would not be participating in conversation like that involving girls. 1 of them went to detention after he found out that a 'player' at school had said some pretty disgusting things about what he wanted to do to my neice so my nephew pinned the boy up against a wall, dealt with him, and then left him on the ground. I'm not exactly hoping for violence but rather tired of scum behavior going unchecked. This moment certainly set a standard to bear for a long time at that school. Your son and his frieds are allowing themselves to think about these girls simply as objects to be enjoyed for sex and fantasy, not as people or friends. It is not possible to have these thoughts about someone and actually care about them at the same time so really the topic is selfishness. I want what I want, I am more important than the next person, and being cool with my friends is more important than having high moral standards or character. I don't believe that it is normal for any age, I think that it is probably average but that is not the same as normal. Who wants to be average?
And just to note, many things are involved in the evolution of this behavior. The media and how sex sells everything. Sit-coms, commercials, cartoons, movies, professional sports cheerleaders, music, hollywood, the promotion of hugh hefner as cool, halloween costumes. I know that you know this already but until you sit down and put it all together and look at how much of this your son is involved in you can't begin to fix it. You can scolled him but that doesn't help his thoughts.
I have gone to high school basketball games where the music played before the games and during breaks was hip hop and rap. The coaches use the excuse that it fires up the players. The players like it cause they listen to it on their free time too. It might be easy to get lost in the constant sound and beat but if you listen to the words it is all X rated. Even there in the gym at school the words were very X rated. I looked around and pretty much no one seemed to care or notice. They looked like bunch of robots just going along like nothing was wrong. Even my sister hadn't noticed and defended it with 'well they just use it to get in the game'. Whatever. Sounds like an excuse to never put yourself out there to stand up for anything. Most people don't want to be a fuddy duddy. There is no way for someone to be exposed to visual and auditory imput and then not think on those things for some time. The more exposure the more concentrated thoughts and mental images.
I wish I could give you an instant fix. It takes consistancy from exposure.
I personally would bust his friends to their parents over the texting topics but I know I am more hardcore than most people can tolerate. And know that some of the parents will be more mad at you that they are at their kid because you are being judgemental.
And by the way, as long as your husband doesn't think it is any big deal then he won't really be trying to change it and your sons will know that it is okay and really just one of those things that you keep between just the boys cause girls don't understand or need to know.
Good Luck and God Bless

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My son is 11 yrs old and has been begging for a cell phone. The answer: no way. Not until I feel he is mature enough for it. That may be awhile. I would never turn the instant messaging on again if my son abused it just one time. He would have to be an adult and pay for it himself. Kids don't need that sort of thing. I grew up without a computer or cell phone and did just fine! (I'm not that old! haha) Sometimes technology is not all it's cracked up to be. Go back to the basics. Your kids will be better off for it.

Good luck.


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I want to agree with the advice that came from the teacher Laurie A. talked about.

Reminding our kids such as this teacher did, "if you would be embarrassed to say something in front of your grandmother, do not say them to anyone. You never know who may be listening to you at any moment." This is great advice for reminding our children what is and is not appropriate. Remind your son that even what he sends out in a text message could get to someone he could one day be embarassed to know read it.

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No offense; but asking your son if God would be happy with his decision may be the wrong way to go. My parents (and grandparents) used to use the good old "Catholic guilt" in order for me to do what they thought was right. All they accomplished was pushing me away from the church. I know you don't agree with your son's decision; and whether or not it's "normal" to think about it, talk about it, etc. doesn't make it appropriate or okay. Why not just realize that your son is a sexual being and, at 14, is curious about sex. I think it's appropriate to explain that it makes you sad that he's talking about girls in a very demeaning manner. Communication is a great tool for parents. Just be honest about your feelings and expectations. Your husband should be backing you up on this one.

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A little CURIOSITY is normal, but I don't believe that speaking that way should be considered normal or acceptable behavior. I have two teenagers. When I get the chance, you better believe that I "invade their privacy" and check their messages on their phones. There have been times when I am shocked at what I see, and I definitely take the phone away: it is their LIFELINE and it does "hurt" them not to have it..but maybe it will make them think before using that phone in a negative way. I figure if they cannot be responsible enough to "keep it clean" on their phones, they aren't ready for one. Good luck!!

As long as all they are doing is texting it is perfectly normal. Your son has to be careful because if he gets his phone taken away at school they usually look at. My 17 year old does a alot of texting and they find out things about girls and other things as well. He has been doing this since he was in Jr. High. It keeps him aware of whats out there. My husband and I always let him know that we are there for him if he needs to know about anything. he can also talk to the church pastor.

O. O

from what I read of the responses you already got, it seems you got a lot of good advice! my kids are only 4 and 2...but that means I was 14 only 11 years ago LOL. I would just like to pose the question for you to ask of yourself: why does your son HAVE a cell phone? if it's only b/c you want him to be able to call you or vice versa, why is there a texting plan on his phone? I say cut him back to only about 400 minutes/month just enough for you to be able to call him if you need to, and take all text and picture messaging off his phone. he doesn't need that to talk to his friends! he can talk to them at school or go hang out with them or call them from home. when he is old enough to have a job, then let him pay you for whatever add-ons he would like on his phone. just remember that even if he isn't texting his friends, they will still talk about sex. it's natural at that age to want to talk about it, learn about it, look at pictures, etc. just make sure YOU and your husband are the most prominent influence in his life and you don't have to worry about the rest.
and just one comment about what a lot of people said about girls who are sexually active are just doing it to feel loved or whatever...that's not entirely true! sex is enjoyable for girls too, and they are just as interested in sex as boys, they just usually express it in different ways! i remember talking about sex with my friends all the time at that age! I talked about individual guys and how far we would go sexually...same as boys do. I think the emphasis should be that sex isn't something that should be done with just anyone.
my parents tried to tell me that sex was just something that shouldn't be talked about or even thought about, and that led to me being overly interested in sex at a younger age. "taboo" subjects are usually the ones kids are more interested in

hey C.,
I remember being that age and talking about all sorts of inappropriate stuff I didn't actually understand with my friends. often we talk about things that make us uncomfortable in ways that are crude/ridiculous/inappropriate. 12-16 year olds are raging with hormones, confused, filled with sexual feelings that they don't really know what to do with.
i think it's totally normal and most likely pretty healthy for him to be talking about this stuff with his friends (not a bad idea at all for him to be paying for his texts, though). I think it's not a bad idea to ask him what he would think if someone talked about you the way him and his friends talked about other girls. It's important for kids to learn the difference between healthy sexual conversations and curiosity and objectification.
Are you afraid this is a sign he's sexually active? Does he have comprehensive sexual education at school? when I say comprehensive I don't mean just pictures of intercourse or a video about how his body is going through "changes". I mean a health class in which he can ask questions, get honest answers, learn about contraception and the importance of waiting to have sex and teaches importance of communication and healthy life styles outside of just the realm of sex.

Well, your husband is right. At 13-16 or so boys start becoming VERY interested in sex and girls. They do talk about it and it is healthy, however, there are better ways to talk about it and he needs to be shown the proper way. It's ok to talk about these things with friends without demeaning any certain girls or using sexually explicit language. Boys will be boys. He does need to know about these things though (The talk) and if you avoid the subject it will only cause him to find his own way to learn. That usually doesn't turn out good, it's better for him to hear it straight from you in full detail than to hear it from his friends in the locker room. Punishing him for doing what comes naturally to kids is probably not the best way to go about it. Punish him for talking about certain people that way, but not for being curious about sex. That's just my opinion as a Christian and a Mom.

C., how wise of you to take this seriously! Since you are a Christian I'm sure you have taken to heart the responses from other Christians. I particularly agree with Heather F., Wendy T., Bridget C. & Jen B. You might want to focus on their advice but I would like to add something. I am the mother of a 16 year old daughter and (almost) 21 year old son. My real concern here is the casual attitude of your husband. This is not a "boys will be boys" situation. This is a serious issue and needs to be dealt with properly and quickly. The first thing I would suggest is to pray for your husband to take this more seriously especially since you have two younger boys. He is the spiritual leader of your family and should take that responsibility very seriously. My husband has been covering this sensitive area for several years now in our home (THANK GOD!) It's hard for us women to completely understand this issue. My husband placed a filter on our computers where only I had the password. This was not only to protect our children, but to maintain his integrity as well. He has also kept the lines of communication open with our son concerning his sexual integrity. Temptation is real but God calls us to live in integrity in every area of our lives. Our son attends a Christian University and has an accountability partner there and when he's home my husband takes on that role. Continue to pray daily for your son regarding this and quote scripture over him. Psalm 112 is a good family scripture. Remember that the Bible warns us to FLEE from sexual immorality. Also Psalm 119:9 tells us how a young person stays pure. The only way your son (or any one else) can maintain purity is to have a personal relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ. I look at it this way, I cannot be with my children 24/7, but God can. I ask Him daily to keep them pure, body, soul and spirit. I hope this helps in some way. I will pray for you and your family. God bless!

Yes, this is what boys do, and have always done. Texting costs money. Does your son pay his texting bill. If not, maybe you should start charging him for this priviledge. Also, advise him that "dirt" is out. He can text acceptable things but he must keep unacceptable conversations on a face to face basis. Inform him that if a school official should happen to see those messages that he could get into some real trouble.

Hi C.,

While I agree that it is normal, I don't think that it is a parent's position to be OK with it. We teach our children to honor God by respecting our sexuality and that of young women, too. No matter what he chooses to do, your job is always to teach him to do the right thing. I commend you for giving him consequenses for not abiding by your family's values.

There is a lot of peer pressure to be sexually active. There is a lot of natural curiosity. He's exploring the man he is to become. You are guiding him to become a decent man. Don't cave in to "it's normal" and just let it go. Sure it is normal but the story doesn't end there. Values are not easy to teach but if you stand strongly by them you will raise a man with strong values. Men like that make great husbands and fathers.

I have to say that as the mom of a little girl I'm glad that there are moms like you who are raising good boys.

A wise friend taught me many years ago that sometimes you dont want to confront your kids when you discover things - just keep an eye on the situation. I agree, I think adolescent boys are going to talk, its ineveitable. So, i suggest just quietly keeping an eye on the situation. It doesnt matter how christian you are, adolescent boys are going to think about sex and talk about it. I think your job now is to listen whenever you can and keep an eye on everything just to make sure it doesnt get out of hand. It sounds as if you raised him right, so he knows what he should or shouldnt do. Your watchful eye will know if he gets in over his head and thern you can step in. Have fun ??!!!

about me: a 54 yr old working mom of two grown kids, one still i college ; married 31 yrs.

Good day, could you please send me the information you mentioned for my son? email (____@____.com

Thank you,

I. Solis

Houston, TX

C. - I only have one son - age 15 - but my sister has four boys all grown and married now. Your husband maybe right about they all go though a phase. 14 is when we discovered the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Magazine was hidden under the bed. I think your doing the right thing. TALK to him. Remind him to think of the values you have been living and teaching him. At between 12 and 18 I'm told they forget to 'think' sometimes. We noticed our son using language around his football friends that he doesn't use in our home - so ... we talked. They want to fit in but at the same time - they are developing their own personalities. We've noticed the 'words' he was using are less these days around those same friends. And when one used something I found offensive in our car - I told the kid so and he apologized. They know - they just need to be reminded. And teaching him now before he is dating that respecting girls and women means they don't talk or text like this is a conversation that I think every young man needs. The media and video games are teaching them more about treating women as sex objects - it's up to parents and society to teach them that fantasy play and media hype isn't the REAL world. I don't have any girls but I think the ones I know all need to be reminded about standing up and demanding respect.

Sorry for the long answer - just my two cents

Hi C.,

I don't want to re-invent the wheel here so I will try not to. I just had to respond because as a Christian woman, I to feel that re-emphasizing the word of God to my son is a good thing. I just don't think that it is going to take his normal sexual raging testosterone hormones away. Your husband was right when he said he was just being a boy...he should know since he went through the same issues your son is now with sexual urges and thoughts. Not to say it's ok but it's life. God would not have intended young men or young women to have these urges at puberty if it wasn't normal. All boys are different in handling their sexual urges. Anything can set them off at this stage. Maybe you need to read up on boys at this age and make yourself familiar with their bodies so you know how you and your husband can help him make the right choices.

I think you need to re-evaluate the cell phone situation. I never understood that with my little sister. My parents let her have a cell phone at that age yet there was a house phone she could have used and it wouldn't have cost my parents so much in minutes and texting fees. They eventually lived and learned that a regular phone when at home was good enough and they could monitor her calls and when she was making them. I know this is a challenge for you but one I know you can get through. Don't look at this as a bad thing but a learning opportunity for you and your family of raising children and how life and our bodies evolve. Punishing him for his normal urges is not okay, but letting him know that his sexual thoughts need to not be the center of his attention with his friends. He will need to learn that he will always have these urges and thoughts, but that he will need to control them for when he is really old enough to understand what they mean. Sex is a beautiful thing and one day he will get to experience that with a very special person when the time is right.

I have an 8 year boy and he is slowly getting curious about his body and why his privates feel "funny". It's a hard thing to think about...talking to your child about sex but I make it through with questions as they arise. My only incident was my son seeing an educational show on TV about babies and breastfeeding. He came across it and stopped right when the nurse was showing the mom how to know when your baby has latched the nipple and is getting a good flow. I saw it and slowly approached him and asked him why he was watching that. He was embarrassed and started to cry because he felt bad for looking at it. He asked me why that baby was doing that and I explained that was his food. That moms make milk to feed their babies. I asked him why he was embarrased by it and he said because he liked watching it...it made his body feel "funny" in a good way. I knew right then and there his urges were slowly happening and it is only going to get worse..HA! You always see your children as innocent angels and yet they eventually have to grow up but they don't have to do it so fast. It will be a struggle as my son gets to that pre-teen and teenage years with all these pent up urges but I know God will guide me the right way. I just have to continue to have an open mind and remember what I was like and what my friends were like at that age. That will help keep me sane as I keep teaching my son to grow up to be a respectable man some day.

I wish you and you family well....you will get through this...just keep an open mind and let your son express to you on his terms his feelings.

Good luck,
D. G.

As a mom a 2 girls, I praise u for taking this seriously. Yes, this stuff does happen and it may be normal. Pls continue to teach your son about respectful behavior towards girls so that he will grow into a wonderful boyfriend and later husband.

I also have a 14 year old son, and have been concerned about his texting. I spoke with a friend of mine who has older boys and asked her opinion. She said that she had a talk with her sons about responsibility and that she pays the phone bill and they know this was not how the phone was intended to be used. This type of communication is not allowed in their home. I spoke with my son and let him know that if he is grounded he loses any right to privacy. Anything he does not want me to see better not be on his phone. Hope this helps some.

Follow your husband's lead on this one, especially if he is a wise man.

I am a step mom of 2 boys - one out of the house already and the other is 15. I also have a 2 year old son. As a Christian I am aware of the uphill battle we face to teach these young men the proper attitude towards sex. Your husband is right about what boys in this world think about, talk about... but it doesn't make it right.

Unfortunately we are bombarded by sex in this country - ads with half naked women, sexy outfits, etc. And it has become acceptable for men to "talk about women" in a sexual way. How sad for us. But we don't have to get mad about it, we just have to be involved mothers and try to change the way our boys see sex.

We need to tell them that God created sex (and boy did he - just read Psalms!). We need to tell them we know their minds and bodies go through changes and get excited about sex - it is natural. However, God made sex to be so incredible and so beautiful for a husband and wife. It is that powerful that we need to sustain from it and uphold it as the special bond it is.

I believe in letting him know that you know what he is going through and it is hard to turn away from it when the world and all his friends are talking about it. But I beleive that as parents we should talk to them about sex, their bodies and the opposite sex and teach them the right way to think about it.

As mothers we should talk to them as "females" to help them understand how we feel when we are spoken about that way. It is hurtful and that is not why God made women. Ask him if he would like it if men were talking about mommy that way? Or if he has a sister? We have to make it personal to them. We have to show them how much it hurts.

Also, bring him to an older Christian leader (someone around 19 or so) that he can share his thoughts. A big step but it will take a big action step to turn him against what everyone else is telling him that is okay.

You should take away his phone and tell him that if it happens again that you will take it away for good. He is disrespecting others and that is not right. Be tough but be understanding so he can come to you.

God Bless for asking your question - your heart is in the right place... do the right thing.

It is completely normal for a teenage boy to eat sleep and breath sexually explicit conversation. However it is also inappropriate especially if he is being brought up as a christian. My advice would be that if he cannot control what his friends are texting him, take texting off of his phone plan! You might even think about trying to get him to re-evaluate his friends, and try to get him involved in some church youth group activities to try to find him some better friends, whose parents think more like you! I have a 23 yr old son, who is a very strong christian. From his own conviction, he does not engage in sexual activity. He didn't even have a phone until he got out of high school and got a job to buy his own phone and pay for his own plan. I am not saying that it is wrong for your son to have a phone, but if it is a temptation for him, and you are paying for it, be the parent he needs and remove the temptation. Blessings, Hope this helps.

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