J.D. asks from Clifton, NJ on December 09, 2009
Teenager Interested in sex...what Do I Do?
I am livid right now. My daughter who is 14 and is a freshman in high school now is interested in boys and sex. How do I know? I was snooping through her phone and read some VERY explicit text messages that she sent and received to a boy at her school. I was shocked to say the least. Not because I think my daughter is a goody two shoes or anything, but around her dad and I, she's such an immature little girl. Around us, she sucks her thumb, is really silly, and does and says the goofiest things. Sometimes we think, maybe she's a little TOO immature for her age. Well, I no longer think that. I haven't told her father yet. Nor have I let on to her that I read the messages. I wouldn't even have known any of this, but lately, her attitude had started to change & her teachers were saying she wasn't as focused & had not been handing in all of her work. Which is SO not like her. How should I approach this to her and her dad? Do I let on that I read her messages? I want to be able to trust her, but now, I'm afraid to let her out of my sight. There's no telling what she may do with this young man. My first reaction was to withdraw her from that Catholic school and send her to the all girl Catholic school that I wanted her to go to in the first place. I know that I need to talk to her, and I need to be calm, but I don't know if my husband is going to be as calm as I can be. What should I do?
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E.G. answers from New York on December 10, 2009
My daughter is also approaching that age and I am in the same boat. SHe is 11 and I read her diary which shows she wants to kiss boys. It is still early in the game for her but I see it approaching. I think it is ok to read your daughters texts beacuse you are a concerned parent. If you tell her you read them then she will start deleting them. It is the only window for you to know what is going on. You should sit down with her and tell her about sex. Be explicit about std's etc... If she is in that place then she will do it whether or not you know about it or not but you just need to educate her on the health issue side of it. Also how important it is to love the person you are with and take you r time to get to know someone first because you can get your heart broken very easily at that age. I am worried too!
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A.H. answers from New York on December 10, 2009
Where she goes to school has nothing to do with it. She's 14! She is going to think about sex and boys. It would be unnatural if she didn't. You absolutely need to talk to her, because she is going to be getting information from other sources anyway. As for your husband, well, he's just going to have to realize his "baby" is not a baby anymore. I would suggest talking to both of them separately. I assume you've already had the menstrual period talk, since she's probably already gotten that. There are probably books at the bookstore you can read to help you with the discussions. Good luck ! What an exciting / terrifying time for you all.
K.P. answers from New York on December 10, 2009
1. What ever you do, don't tell her you are snooping. You don't want to loose her trust or your edge.
2. Talk to her about everything sex related.
3. She is immature, it comes with the age but that doesn't mean her hormones won't try to drive her to having sex.
4. We are more than just hormonally driven and can make choices about sex. Your role is to steer her to a more positive decision regarding sex and waiting as long as possible to have it.
The previous writer spoke of getting a bad reputation from having sex but that is the least of her worries. Point out to her the assorted possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases, the emotional baggage that comes with having sex outside of marriage, the physical toll of pregnancy and/or abortion and a host of other things. Just don't lecture but dialog. Find out her feelings. She may be interested in having sex out of curiousity but hooked is hooked. Once you open that barrel of monkeys it is very difficult to put the lid back on it and you never get all of the monkeys back in the barrel.
It is important for your husband to talk with her too. He is a guy and knows how guys think and why they do what they do. It is a team effort but you must open up the dialog quick fast and in a hurry. Also note she is learning by watching the two of you. Some things are taught and some things are caught. If her self esteem is high it is less likely she will turn towards sex. Build her up in her strenghts and with positive friendships.
I wouldn't change schools because it would be better for her to learn how to deal with boys under your protective umbrella than to begin to learn away at college outside of your comfort and protection. Any way you look at it she needs to learn.
R.M. answers from New York on December 10, 2009
I agree with the other responders that you have to talk to your daughter and that it really doesn't matter where she goes to school. At her age she will be interested in boys and sex, its normal. The closer you and your husband can be to her and the higher her self-esteem the less likely it will be that she will have sex at a young age.
One question though, does your daughter pay for her own cell phone or use yours? If its yours (and maybe even if its not) I think you have every right to monitor how she's using it. It may or may not be a good idea to tell her, but if she knows she has to answer to you she may be less likely to use it to send provocative messages, or heaven forbid, pictures.
This is a tough one, good luck.
R.Y. answers from New York on December 10, 2009
Almost all teenagers are interested in sex but talking about isn't doing it, although it leads there eventually. Absolutely talk to her, even the embarassingly explicit parts. Make sure she knows that being mature enough to have sex means being responsible enough to take precautions to avoid pregnancy and STD's. This means being able to talk to your partner about it--if it is too hard to talk about sex with your partner then you aren't ready to do it. My mom's best sex and relationship advice boiled down to "If you won't respect yourself or your partner in the morning don't do it (whatever it happened to be)."
As for the not letting her out of your sight, obviously you will have to at some point. You probably know all this but do make sure you are supervising thoroughly by finding out where she will be, who will be there and when she is expected back. Check with other parents that a party or event has adult supervision (if she knows you will be checking then she will know she will get caught if she lies). If she is not sure about doing something let her blame you and say "My parents won't let me do that." If you end up having her and her friends over at your house or driving more than your share of trips to the mall/movies/whatever then at least you know where she is and who her friends are.
Getting back to sex related issues. It can be confusing because girls and boys are all learning about dating and sex as teenagers and there is a lot of gray areas and people making mistakes in judgment. As another poster said, alcohol and sometimes drugs can definitely play a role in poor judgment. Talk to her about keeping herself safe and think ahead to not put herself in a risky situation (like being alone with a guy she doesn't know well, especially if there is drinking). I had a fairly tame social life in high school but in college I had a group of female friends and we all looked out for each other. Everyone came home together, we arranged a safe ride (taxi, bus, designated driver, etc.) I am not a big drinker but it definitely helps to know your own limits (an not have more than 2-3 drinks until you have the experience to know). To be honest, my mother's crazy college party stories (when it was legal to drink at 18)scared me right out of binge drinking, ever.
Well, my kids are little still, not teenagers but I survived my teens with very little trauma and drama. I almost forgot, if you can get her talking it really works to give her a scenario and have her think of what to do (especially when it is serious enough to call in a parent or other authorities). Role playing works too.
S.L. answers from New York on December 14, 2009
I have a 15yr old daughter and can really relate with you in this area. When she was about 13/14 years old we had the same situation. I sat down and talked to her about sex and what it really means. I told her that sex is a very serious thing and that most boys only want to "do it" with you and move on, as this is their nature at this age. I explained to her that sex comes with alot of consequences and responsibilities (i.e. STD's, babies) After all the talking and listening, she has made a descision to not have sex till she feels she is ready ( I am praying that will be when she is well over 21 smile). I periodically ask her if she is having sex, and remind her of the all that goes with the act.
The best thing to do is just talk to her and get her to tell you what is on her mind about the subject. And no you really don't have to let her know that you snooped in her stuff, as it is your right as a parent to know what is going on in your childs life. It doesn't matter who pays the bill, she is still a minor and your responsibility.
I would also mention it to dad, but get him to realize that the best thing to do is not be confrontational about it but, be there to listen to her and advise her accordingly. Most times teens are just talking the talk and not doing the deed.
Be strong and diligent, she will appreciate it in the long run.