Last night about 11:00 P.M. after my 2 children (10 yr old daughter and 13 yr old son) had gone to bed, I was putting away the clean lauundry. Everyone was asleep so I quietly went into their rooms (with the light from the hallway on so I could see where I was walking). When I opened my son's dresser drawer, I moved the ONE, lonely shirt to the side for the "fresh supply". (I promise I wasn't snooping!)When I did, I could see something underneath that "one lonely t-shirt". What is this? I asked myself. Oh my God! There was not one, but TWO new packs of condoms. I left the condoms under the tshirt where he had hidden them and I tip-toed out of his room, careful not to wake him. I stayed up all night crying and doubting my parenting skills while trying to come up with the best way to approach this without seeming upset, mad, judgemental towards him, etc. (I'm sure he knows I saw them because there were more t-shirts in his drawer this morning than there was last night). This morning I acted as if nothing had happened as we did our normal morning routine. This isn't about me and how disappointed and upset I am. It's about HIM and my concerns for the choices he has made OR plans to make. Do I ask him if he's sexually active? Will he just lie to me? How do I open the door for him to be HONEST and open with me? It's my job as a parent to talk to him about this. I want him to be open and honest. I'm uncommfortable doing this... I don't want to put him in a position to lie and say they belong to a friend. Yeah, right! You don't carry a pack of cigarettes around unless you smoke or plan to smoke them. Please give me some advice how I can let him know I love him and I'm concerned about the choices he has made or plans to make. (does that sound like I'm accusing him?). HELP!!! It's 1:30 P.M. DST and he'll be home around 4:15 P.M. My daughter gets home at 3:00 P.M. so I need to take a shower and try to look like I've had a normal day before she gets home. I really need some advice quick... I don't want to talk to any of my friends about this as their 13 year olds are friends of my son's, too. I just want him to know I love him and I want him to be HONEST and open with me. Not to mention, I'm probably smarter than his peers which is where he's probably getting his info and condoms from. Is that last sentence the wrong or right thing to say? Sorry this is so lenghty but it has been therapeutic for me as I was typing this novel. SORRY! P.S. My husband and I just went through a lengthy, nasty divorce that lasted a year and was just finalized recently so I feel as if I've been so caught up in that unpleasant situation and I feel like a terrible Mom! Please help me to believe in myself and that I will do what's in the best interests of my son. Thanks for your time. I was so happy when I saw your site come up in the beginning of the list when I did a search on "adolescent sexuality" !!!! Posts: 1 | From: Cumming, GA | Registered: Dec 2003
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Well we're glad you found us and really hope we can provide you with some help here.
I'm going to shift this post over to Parents, Adults, & Teens where you can get more input. I'd also encourage you to read that forum especially since we've had several discussions similar to this which might provide you with some more insight.
It certainly sounds like a good idea to raise this with him, although it won't hurt to postpone it until you've had time to think about how you want to handle it and feel you can do so calmly.
One option might be just to say in a calm way that you noticed the condoms in his drawer, then see what he says. Aim to open up the discussion, not close it down. If you seem to be open-minded and not punitive, that reduces the chances that he'll feel he "has" to lie to you.
quote:You don't carry a pack of cigarettes around unless you smoke or plan to smoke them.
Well, don't jump to conclusions - the condoms could be an indication of optimism or bravado (personally, when I was a teenager, I bought condoms in a hopeful moment years before I ever got a chance to use them).
And many sex educators will advise kids to buy condoms "just in case" even if they're not planning to be sexually active right away.
If he is sexually active or planning to be soon, then it's fine for you to let him know that you're concerned about that, and what you're concerned about.
There's nothing wrong with letting him know if you feel that he's not yet emotionally ready to handle sex or its consequences. And that might eventually start up a discussion about what readiness does involve.
quote:Not to mention, I'm probably smarter than his peers which is where he's probably getting his info and condoms from. Is that last sentence the wrong or right thing to say?
Well, you're likely at least to be a lot better-informed. And again, there's nothing wrong with letting him know that you want him to have accurate information so that he can take care of himself. Pointing him towards this site might be helpful, as he may not feel comfortable coming to you with all his questions.
Whoa, that's a tough one. I commend you for wanting to handle it kindly and responsibly, and for wanting to make yourself approachable. Being a parent your kids can actually talk to is one of the best things you can do for them.
What are your feelings on teenagers and sex? Do you believe it's better to wait until one's married, are you okay with older teens being sexually active so long as they're safe about it, are you somewhere in between? I think you'd do best to clarify your feelings privately first, and approach your son when you're alone with each other, trying to be as non-confrontational as possible. I'd try to communicate that it's okay to to be curious about sex, it really is, but it's also important to realise that actually becoming sexually active is a very different thing, and it's something best handled when you're emotionally, legally, and financially ready for it. You can explain too, that while it's smart to be prepared by having condoms, having them by no means means you have to use them. A lot of what you've told us might be good to tell your son, too; simply that you were alarmed, you really care about him, and you want the best for him and want him to make smart choices, and be able to talk to you. Every relationship's going to have its awkward moments, and sometimes we just need to acknowledge that and deal with them honestly.
Just as a possibility...could it be possible that his school gave them out during health? That could definitely be a possibility.
Also, he could possibly not be having sex at all...he might be holding it around to be "cool." I know my brother bought a pack of cigarettes to hold in his shirt pocket with his friends because they got it from a movie...the funny part he was 19 when he did that. But he hasn't smoked a single one...
You know what? I think it's pretty cool that your thirteen year old knows enough about safer sex to realize condoms are important. We see a lot of people posting here that are several years older who still haven't gotten the message or are ignoring it intentionally.
Having condoms doesn't mean he's having sex but it is a pretty good indication that it's time to talk to him about this. (As you seem well aware.) Something that's always helped me be honest with my mom was her very calmly explaining how she felt and why. No guilt trips -- don't tell him you feel like a bad parent! -- or anger, just her feelings on the matter. She shared her values and, where appropriate, experiences. Because she treated me so respectfully it was hard to ignore what she was saying.
Listening is obviously important too. There may not be much he wants to say on the matter or there may be all kinds of things. Either way, give him the opportunity to really be open with you, even if you don't like what he's saying.
You may also want to use this discussion to set some limits. If he is sexually active perhaps you'd like to meet his partner. Or you might want to set a rule about not having sex in your home.
Also feel free to point him here.
------------------ "Don't you know about the new fashion, honey? All you need are looks and a whole lot of money." -- Billy Joel, "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"
I'm most definately not a parent, but I am a 20 year old daughter of two really open easy to talk to parents.
Right off the bat, i wouldnt start the conversation with your son by telling him you found condoms, at 13 that can sound accusative as well as him thinking it's an invasion of his privacy, even though it clearly was just mom doing the normal putting away of laundry . Instead, I would say just casually bring up some sex ed. "You know, you're a teenager now...and you're getting closer and closer to adulthood and dating, and i think there are some things you should know..." If it were me at 13...i definately would look at my mother like she was crazy while she was talking to me ...but i would also take in the knowledge my mom was giving to me, and put it towards my experiences.
My mother has always been a great example of keeping the lines of communication open between us. I think as long as you talk to your son, and dont say anything about finding the condoms...but let him know your view on a boy his age being sexually active and how to be safe it should go over well. As long as you have a good relationship with him, he shouldnt take offense to the conversation.
I hope this helps you! If not, I apologize Good Luck!
P.S. Another thing i thought about... Obviously like everyone else here has said, having condoms doesnt mean he's having sex. But, even though as a parent you might not want to think about it, but know its going on...if he's using condoms, he could be using them during masturbation... I have guy friends who actually prefer to use a condom, because its "cleaner". I dont know if thats any help at all...but i thought i'd throw it in there...
[This message has been edited by Faeryprinces (edited 12-02-2003).]
First off I think you should calm down, because there could be thousands of reasons your son has condoms.
For one, he might not even be having sex at all, maybe he has a girlfriend and thinks he will be and I applaud him for being smart and wanting to be safe.
I know as a parent it must be a big deal to you, because if I was a parent and thought my 13 yr old was having sex I would probably get all freaked out. I think you should sit down and talk to him in a very calm way, without accusations and just explain to him about the consequences sex could bring.
Anyways I think you have plenty of advice to choose from here so good luck!
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