Potentially Harmful Advice

Updated on October 06, 2012
R.M. asks from Fulton, CA
26 answers

I think we need to be careful when giving potentially damaging advice, when there is no way we can know all the particulars of a situation. Charging a 20 year old for having consensual sex with a 16 year old minor has long-term consequences for the boy. And despite all kinds of laws, ALL of us do "illegal" things sometimes. (Anyone ever roll a stop sign or speed?)

If there was ANY kind of coercion, that's a completely different story. If it ever turns out to be YOUR immature 20 year old son who has sex with a 16 year old, you might not want her parents to call the cops instead of using the opportunity to teach their daughter some valuable lessons.

Like I said, this could be YOUR son someday.

This has to be a question, so, what do you think, should we be very cautious about our advice that could potentially really harm someone?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?



Megan - 26 and 14 is stretching the age gap, to put it mildly.

WindyCityMom: I agree that we should teach our sons everything you are saying. But I'm talking about punishing someone else's child for what my daughter willingly engaged in.

Featured Answers


answers from Albany on

Way I see it is this. Both the 20 yo male and 16 yo female may have been raised beautifully, their parents may have done EVERYTHING 'right'.

But in that moment of desire where a decision will have to be made to do it or not, old or young (yes even 16), a normal human person is no longer a normal human person who is making rational, smart, sensible decisions.

I suppose the law Needs to put a number to it, right?

Well, now I forgot where I was going with this. Everyone who's answered so far make a very valid point. Sigh. I guess I agree with you and I disagree with you all at the same time!


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I don't think it's harmful at all. Yes, charging a 20 year old will have long-term consequences for the boy- that HE BROUGHT ON HIMSELF. If you don't want the punishment, don't do the crime. Pretty simple.

If I roll a stop sign or speed and get a ticket, that is the consequence of the action I KNEW I was taking. And if they start a 'stop sign runner registry', I guess I'll have to live with being on that. Not really apples to apples here.

People need to take personal responsibility. Sheesh.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What if the situation had been reversed? What if it was a 20-year old female college junior who had sex with a 16-year old male high school junior? I think most people would think that would be creepy. And I don't buy the argument from the other thread that they are peers. A college junior and high school junior are not peers.

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

My advice to MY sons will be to be super careful who you sleep with and just over all what you do with and around women. From early on boys are never given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to girls. I will use cases like this as examples for why they will be potentially SCREWED if they do-no matter how mature the girls seems, how much she eggs you on or even just how slutty she is.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I thought it was rather stupid advice anyway. There is no proof he did anything so it would be her word against his. The police are not going to proceed so why put the daughter through it.

I couldn't even answer that question. It kept screaming how could she do this to me!!!!! Her daughter had sex after her vow, her friends had sex after her amazing advice! How could they do this to her!!!

No thanks!
Just had to throw this out there, just because mom wants to believe she was a virgin up until that point doesn't actually mean he deflowered the girl, ya know?

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

From a legal standpoint, different states have different ages of consent (do people not know this?) so prosecution can only happen if a law has been broken. Personally, I would NEVER put my daughter through that process, unless she had been coerced, or raped, and the question asked didn't make it sound like that was the case.
I was a virgin until I was 17 and a half, but by that time I was the last one among all of my friends. I can tell you the hormones are raging at that age, and there were plenty of cute older guys around town that I probably would have given myself to willingly, if they had ever given me the time of day. And it had nothing to do with insecurity or wanting to be loved, it was about sex. Young girls/women have physical urges too, and I get pretty tired of people not acknowledging that. They are not always victims, and in fact, many cases, they are the pursuer (I know I myself was pretty forward with a few guys who were clearly nervous or not ready.)

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

The mom, Ester S. wrote "The problem is that this 20 yr old hasn't even called or come back to see her since". This led me to the conclusion that the 16 year old wanted him to and now feels used and burned. This is certainly not a reason to press charges. Despite what the law says, I think some good old fashion common sense is in order. Although he is an adult, he is only 20. It was consensual. End of story.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I agree with you. 1) I read that post as the girl consented and was not coerced...bummed now because he is blowing her off but fine with it when it actually happened 2) We don't know but perhaps she is almost 17 and he just turned 20. That makes the gap in age even smaller. I would have more of an issue with the situation if he was a little older …but 20 year old boys are still so young. My first HUGE crush was on a guy I met when I was 15 and he was 19. We did not have sex but if he spent multiple days in a row at my house alone with me like what happened in that situation, I could easily see how it could have happened. My mouth practically watered in his presence. 3) Rapists and pedophiles deserve a horrible existence. I believe adding the 20 year old who had consensual sex with 16 year old to the sex offender lists hurts everyone more than it helps. In my opinion, when I hear of someone on that list, I want to assume that they are a despicable person that should be avoided. The 18 year old who had sex with his willing and eager 16 year old girlfriend does not belong on the same list as the man who raped a six year old child, in my opinion. To me, when you add the former’s name with the latter’s on the same list, it dilutes the potency of the meaning behind the registry to begin with.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Sioux City on

If you don't want to do the time then don't do the crime. There is a reason that this law exists. If I run a stop sign I am fully prepared to take my lumps for doing so. I would turn him in and I'm sure my husband would do the same.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I like Jo, just could not respond..

16 year old girls, can make some really poor choices on their own.. Lust and attraction to older guys has been around since there were 16 year old girls, wanting attention..

Unless this girl can really admit, he in any way coerced her, there is no way, I would put my daughter, through the legal system.. They can tear through a lie in no time at a police station.. If she lies, she can be charged with making a false claim.. That would then be on HER record..

If she was coerced, then yes, I would back her up and she would not have to defend herself, because she knows the truth. I would be with her the entire time..

This Young man if he was a willing partner to a willing young woman, he is not guilty of anything, except having sex with a consensual partner.

And yes, we must continue to teach our children that the choices we make, are for the rest of our lives. To be an adult, is to take t=on the responsibilities of our OWN decisions and choices.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree completely. In most states there has to be a greater than 4 year diference which i think is acceptable and luckily not this case. i'm not sure where she lives. I think there is a diference to a willing 30 year old man and a willing 16 year old versus a willing 16 and 20 year old. they actually could have been in highschool together at some point.

I think if he coerced her into it and was searching for a young girl which it doesnt seem then yes charges should be filed and he needs to learn a lesson but if it was J. normal boy/girl attraction the issue is with her daughter not this boy.
I agree with Jo it seems that she is upset her daughter broker her rules and did this to HER when she should be concentrating on what lessons to teach and discuss with her daughter and also ask her daughters opinion of sex and when SHE wants to wait until. obviously you'd hope there is a middle ground between adbsistence and sleeping with boys you arent even dating

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I completely agree with this!
I have a friend that is suffering from this his whole life now.
He was in a long term relationship with a girl that was under 18, he was just over 18. There was not a large age difference and it was consensual.
Her parents had a fit and charged him. He was found guilty. He has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. This happened 20+ years ago and to this day his life is ruined. He can't vote. He can't get employment at places.
He is married, getting a college degree, living the life anyone would. I have known him for over 20 years now. He's a great guy, certainly not a sexual predator. Except he is now a registered sex offender and having to suffer all the repercussions that come along with it. It has ruined so many parts of his life. All for a normal relationship anyone has but just because she was a little under 18 the parents were legally able to throw a fit and press charges when the relationship didn't work out. She even lied about her age for a large part of the relationship.
This is not something to be taken lightly. Do not go throwing a temper tantrum and ruin a person's life because a relationship didn't go well. If it was consensual and no one was coerced then take it as a life lesson and move on. It is just the same as 2 16 year olds in the same situation but it was him that was "to blame" because he was over 18.
Sorry this got rambly but this really does bother me. The attitude of charge them without any thought of what it truly means.

ETA: Something to ask yourself...If the roles were reversed, the girl is 20 and the boy is 16, would you immediately jump to pressing charges? Or is it just because the girl is the younger one and girls must always be "the victim"?

ETAA:Bug: I agree, it shouldn't matter what gender it is. But, in general, society is very quick to judge and condem the male and not the female in cases like this. I think far too many people would not jump to the "turn em in" if it were the other way around. That is the point I was trying to make.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I totally agree with you. I did not read the post you're referring too, however, I'm only basing my answer on "should a 20 year old boy be labeled as a child molester for life b/c he had sex with a 16 year old girl." My answer is no. I'll say this - someone very close to me was the boy in this type of situation about 20 years ago. The parents found out about the *consensual* sex and were really upset. Instead of calling the cops they called the parents of the boy, and held a meeting. The girl's father completely understood how this boy could be ruined for life if they'd pressed charges. The boy hasn't done anything wrong in his life since (as far as I know) and is now an upstanding member of society. He is married, has a little girl of his own, and is an FBI agent. I'm not sure if he would be leading the life he is now if the dad had pressed charges. Just something to think about. (Oh, and I am the mother of 2 girls)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

We should always be careful when giving advice. But the person asking the question also needs to be 100% responsible in making the choice to follow or not follow stranger's advice. Everyone should do their own research and then make an informed decision on something so huge and life-changing as this.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree whole heartedly. People become enraged quickly and don't always think things through. Impulsive actions sometimes have severe consequences.

It's easy for mother's to say "well, if my son ever did that, he should be a registered sex offender" BUT if it really ever happens to you, YOU WILL NOT be saying the same thing. Guaranteed. At that point, it will be all about your precious baby boy and what THAT GIRL talked him into!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Let's remember that this is advise. Only the person with the question has all the facts. There were a number of different tracts taken on that advise. You can disagree on the tract to take but free speech is free speech. When we start censoring other people's advise this site will calapse. We all know when something is a consensus and when something is out of left field. I have seen lots of advise I don't agree with but on the whole these moms ROCK! As for advise, I graze in a lot of fields but I give my own milk. I am saying they have a brain and make their own decisions. I have 2 sons and I would never jump on advise and implement it in their lives without a ton of thought and people can be trusted to do the same.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Absolutely correct! I couldn't agree with you more!!!

~At 20y/o you are still very immature and do not have the necessary life skills to look at life in the long term and fully comprehend potential outcomes of said behavior and choices....but being labeled a 'sex offender' would follow that 20y/o his/her WHOLE life! At has the potential to RUIN a person as well!
Very dangerous...very very dangerous!!!

*For what it's worth, I read that post but did NOT reply...but to me it sounded like the girl was upset and *hoping* the boy would call her back, right? That in NO WAY (to me, in my opinion) says 'force or coercion' was used!!! Now I am going to go back and read who gave advice about reporting him!!!

Mom/Auntie to 6 boys and 1 girl
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, 110%, that boys at 20y/o still have a LONG way to go to becoming mature adults!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


While I agree - I disagree as well.

Growing up - my parents stressed to me the importance of being morally straight and one of my dad's favorite sayings was "don't do the crime if you can't do the time". It made us stop to think (sometimes) about the consequences of our actions BEFORE we did something stupid.

Have I run a red light? yes. Did I do it "on purpose"? No. the light changed from yellow to red in a snap - I wasn't the only one "caught" - the police man behind me looked surprised at how fast it changed. Did he pull me over? No.

Having SEX is not something you just "do". It happens with purpose and with forethought. The "man" is 20 years old - immature or not - he has to take responsibility for his actions. His parents or grandparents NEED to know what is going on. Even if it is "over" - they need to know.

IF either of my son's did this - I would be upset - and would do what I could to help them and protect them. But every action - whether good or bad has a consequence.

She needs to get more information from her daughter - however - I stand by my response - there is so much going on - she needs to break it down and tell her husband. They NEED to talk to the boy's parents/grandparents.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree!

I feel exactly the same way about car seat/booster seat questions and medication dosage questions.
Seriously? You're looking for "opinions"????? Please!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Amen, amen, and amen sister.

One thing I think is important to remember: it's easier to post a question on this site than to call a doctor, to call a pastor (or priest/rabbi/imam/etc.), to sit down with one's loved ones, etc. So people sometimes post here in hellacious states of distress. In those states, they are *extremely* suggestible. Seriously, it's one thing to randomly moralize in the abstract. But when you go around giving free advice to strangers (which I do too, we all do here), you have to take some small measure of responsibility for what might happen if people follow that advice.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I thought the exact same thing when reading that post. The Mom needs to try to find out EXACTLY what happened if that is even possible at this point. Just calling the cops, not such a good idea in my book.

In many cases the guy, even though he's only 20, probably deserves to be arrested. In a lot of other scenarios he participated in something illegal, but he may not deserve to have the title of "sex offender" follow him around the rest of his life. I think it's great we have a system in place to keep society informed of who and where some of these creeps are but I do think the law needs to be tweaked. I just can't see lumping the 35 year old child molester in with the 20 year old hormone driven "play boy" who lacks maturity and would probably do it with a lampost if it were willing.

Being a woman or girl has always carried with it special risks. Parents of girls have a whole world of pain to try to protect their daughters from that doesn't apply as often to boys. This is a special one that usually just applies to boys. I feel sad for the young men that do not have parents who help them in this area. Society says the conquest is manly and their hormones say go for it. If a mature adult isn't talking sense to them, just like for a girl, one mistake can really screw up their future.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Can you please clue me in? Is this a MMP post or a local news story?

I found it..and you have my vote.

What's happening is that the mother is in utter shock and wanting to place the blame somewhere or on someone. It's a pretty normal human reaction when one feels like they failed. She'll calm down. I think any investigator would figure out that the sex was consensual.

Mira's advice was perfecto!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We do need to be careful yes. I have two boys and I swore they would never date. From young ages now girls throw themselves at boys. My oldest we held down in 1st grade and kissed several times by a girl. And I don't know where these girls learn to be that aggressive. I used to chase boys and beat them up if I thought they were cute. My son's first girlfriend at 12 she was 13 didn't understand why he was not allowed to go hang out with her at her house when her dad was not home or she was not allowed at our house when we were not there. Her dad was ok with it. (CRAZY) Boys should not take advantage of girls and if a girl says no that should be enough. So I think parents of boys and girls need to really wake up to what is going on with their children and teach them how to be ladies and gentlemen! My son's current girlfriend get's nauseated at the thought of french kissing!!! I think she's a keeper. Were most girls her age would want nothing more than to do it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

My friend's brother is 26 and "dated" a 14 year old girl. Apparently they went to Great America with his sister, sister's boyfriend, and the 14y/o girl's mom went along as a "chaperone".

Fast Forward a couple months...the brother was charged for having a sexual relationship with this girl...

Apparently there was SOME knowledge of the relationship...and things still happened that lead to charges. Now this guy's life is ruined. I do NOT agree with what he did, but how can a mother "chaperone" a trip to Great America (in my opinion, condoning the relationship) and then turn around a few months later and charge this guy?

I have a son...he is 2...I hope my husband and I are able to have some good discussions with him about relationships and what is/isn't appropriate. I hope the result of those conversations leads to our son being smart when it comes to relationships and sex. I sincerely hope he does not do something as stupid as to "date" a girl that much younger because, in my opinion, it can only lead to trouble for anyone involved. :-(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Texas Penal Code Sec. 21.11. Indecency With a Child.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years
and not his spouse, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, he:

(1) engages in sexual contact with the child; or
(2) exposes his anus or any part of his genitals,
knowing the child is present, with intent to arouse or gratify
the sexual desire of any person.
(b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that
the actor:
(1) was not more than three years older than the victim
and of the opposite sex; and

(2) did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim
at the time of the offense.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree
and an offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a felony of the third degree.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I am teaching my sons boundaries, boundaries, boundaries (theirs and others).

I will also be teaching them that though birth-control can prevent most pregnancies, no BC is fool-proof, so it's smart to wait until you feel like you could parent a child to have sex...and then only do it with someone you'd WANT to parent a child with.

If a girl or woman gets pregant, this is one of the few places in life where the woman is (to my mind) in the power seat - and I want my boys to respect the hell out of that. They need to be on her side if that happens, whatever her side may be - THEY don't get to drive that car; she does.

So, while in this situation,
I hope no charges would be filed if it was one of my sons...
I ALSO hope I'm been clear enough on the consequences of such action that they wouldn't be that foolish.

However, since I was a girl - if I had a daughter - I'd keep in mind to a 16 yo girl, the appeal of a 20 yo beau might over-ride the reality that he is immature (and obviously not very bright).

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions