First, a little back-story. My daughter is a 16-year-old sophomore. She goes to a private school a half-hour away. I work and so does my husband and can’t drive her so we have a family friend’s son bring her. He’s 17 and a junior. The only reason we need him is because we can’t afford both a car and gas for her and her summer job doesn’t pay enough to do any of this herself.
I know I shouldn’t have done this, but I heard from a friend of mine that her son called my daughter a whore, so I went through her phone. I found through her texts that she has had oral sex with at least two guys and one of them is the guy who drives her to school. And although she’s a virgin she told her friend that she was planning on having sex with him. I knew they were very close, but I had no clue. I don’t know what to do. I’ve had the sex talk and everything. She’s even on birth control for PMS stuff. I asked her about it (without telling her I went through her phone) and she told me that even if she was she would be safe and that it was her decision and she would only do it if she knew she was ready and had been dating the guys for a while. That makes me wonder if she’s been dating the guy that carpools her. I asked my husband what to do and he said that although he wasn’t happy with her decision it was her choice and that as long as she was being safe we should leave her alone because it wasn’t like her grades were slipping or anything. I just don’t know what to do. I’m going crazy.
Hi Concerned Mom:
Wow this is a tough one. I think first of all you have to know that you going crazy will probably have little to no effect on your daughter’s actions. But in the interest of preserving your sanity there are a couple of things you can do right now.
TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER: This is not the kind of dancing around the issue talking either. This is a head-on, no-ambiguity type of talk. Now that means you’re going to have to come clean about the fact that peeped at her phone, at which time there may be a whole different set of issues pertaining to trust or lack thereof. Just be ready to explain why you did that. But now that the information is out there, you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist or that you don’t know about it. So let’s start there.
WHAT TO SAY: Well this is up to you but I think there are two tracks, one is the physical aspect, the other, emotional. I’d probably start with the more clinical, sterile part, making sure you cover all the bases as it pertains to safe sex. Your daughter, though she says she’ll stay safe, needs to know exactly what that means and it’s FAR more than just preventing pregnancy. She needs to know about HPV and the increase of HPV-related head and neck cancers. Then you need to tell her how you and your husband feel about having a sexually active teen and it sounds like you two have differing opinions on that. I would just be really honest with her about your feelings. Ask her if she thinks she’s ready for such a big step and if she has any questions. Then..
FIGURE OUT HOW YOU WILL HANDLE IT: I know she’s your baby and it sounds as if you’re rather she NOT be having sex (of any kind) but unless you’re prepared to lock it up (in a chastity belt) and her away (in a tower), you’re going to have to figure out a way to make peace with this yourself. Please understand I’m not promoting teen sex here, simply saying it happens. So if your daughter is going to be one of the nearly 30 percent of teens who are sexually active you have two choices; you can lie awake at night worrying yourself sick about it or you can arm her with knowledge and information then trust that she’ll do the right thing.
Along with these things, make sure she understands that sex is special. She has many years to share that with people who care about her. Don’t waste it (and herself) on people who will “hit-it-and-quit-it” then blab to the world.
Good luck mommy!
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René is the author of Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting and founder of its subsequent website, www.goodenoughmother.com.