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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » From a mother's perspective

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Author Topic: From a mother's perspective
Member # 43880

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I'm a mother of 3 and I want to ask your opinion on how i've handled the last year with my 15 year old son, who is my oldest. I know this is mainlya teen forum, but us parents have to deal with teen issues as well. Both he and I have found this site very imformative, so i'd like to hear your opinion on something. This is rather long.

A little over a year ago, my son told me that he had started to date a girl in his class who he has known since pre-k. I really didn't think much of it at the time. I had always made sure to educate him about sexuality and puberty and dating and such, but liek many parents I was in the "well that's for the future" mindset. A few weeks after they had started dating i walked in on them making out. Needless to say, this was a wake up call that my son was a young adult with young adult issues to deal with. I first spoke to him, asking him about his relationship, telling him that he could be open with me and that i'd never be mad at decisions he made regarding dating. Based on that conversation, I figued that a sexual relationship between them was either imminent or already ongoing.

I determined after soulsearching that I would not act as a disciplinarian regarding them but rather I'd try to guide them to make good decisions, offer advice when asked and just be generally supportive. I didn't think they were ready for a full sexual relationship, so the 3 of us had dinner together in which i gave them my thoughts. I told them that their choices were theris to make, but I hinted that i was not approving of them having sex. I said that I would not have a problem with them spending time alone in his room and that they could fully undress while there if they wanted and i would respect their privacy. I strongly urged them to consider oral sex to share intimacy as opposed to full sex and made myself available for any advice they ever needed, which they did ask for on various occasions on various things.

This has been the arraingement most of the past year. A few weeks ago my son and his gf came to me looking all nervous so I knew an awkward question would be forthcoming. After some mumbling, he told me that they had been talking for a month or so and decided that they wanted to have sex and since I had been so understanding to them that they felt obligated to ask for my blessing. I first said that they never needed my blessing and that it was their decision to make. After pondering a few moments I said that i was proud of them for how they conducted themselves overall. I provided them with a box of condoms that i had and told them i was there if they needed any advice.

So, what i wanted to know based on that were these questions:

1. Do you think I have handled this well? Was I too involved? Was I too enabling?

2. Are there things I should have done that I didn't? Are there things I did that were either ill-advised or wrong?

3. Is there anything as they go forward that I should do or be aware of as a parent in your opinion?

I'm curious because I have 2 more who will be at this age shortly and if i made mistakes, i'd like to be able to correct them. Thanks for reading this long narrative.

Posts: 3 | From: Ft Worth Texas | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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I think the fact that your son AND his girlfriend came to you when they were feeling like they were "at" sex tells you a LOT about how well you handled this. You clearly created a supportive, safe environment for them where they really trusted you, and that's fantastic.

I really think it sounds to me like you've done a great job here. It seems like you shared your thoughts and feelings while still leaving room for theirs, and all of this obviously happened with a lot of love, care and thought.

One thing I would suggest is not presenting oral sex as one thing, and intercourse as "full sex." Both of these are kinds of sex, both present possible physical and emotional risks, and both have some safety issues involved (ideally, condoms should be available for oral sex, too, though if these two were each other's first partners for everything, STIs, sparing oral herpes, were not likely an issue). But too, I think it's important not to separate intercourse from everything else save when we're talking about pregnancy risks, which is the big difference. Oral sex is no more or less emotionally intimate, after all. Know what I mean?

Additionally, with the condoms, you might also just want to ask if they know how to use them. A whole lot of people really don't know how to use them properly.

Obviously, with your next teens, you'll have to figure out what the best approach is because they're all not the same people. This way may be great for the other two, or it may not: it really depends on who they are and what they need. But from the sounds of things, you'll do a fine job sussing that out.

As you move forward with the two of them, you certainly can ask THEM how they feel about how you've all been handling it together, but it sounds pretty clear to me that they probably think you've been awesome. [Smile]

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 34285

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Applause from a teen who wishes parental communication was better. Don't get me wrong, I love my parents, but there is close to zero communication about sexual matters at all. I think it's great how open you keep the lines of communication between not only your son, but his girlfriend as well. My boyfriend's parent's wouldn't do something like that either, but just discourage it completely, and offer no privacy either. I just wanted to compliment you on the support you offer. It's a shame how few parents are like that, including my, and my boyfriend's parents. -Smiley =)
Posts: 169 | From: usa | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43359

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Reading this, I thought you did a fantastic job at handling this situation. My mother was much the same, always being supportive of any decision I made in my relationships, and trusted that anything I did, I would do it safely and at my own pace. She knew the first time I had sex, and has always been someone I could go to for any and all advice on sex.

I'll be totally honest. I know too many parents who try and avoid sexual communication with their children, and are surprised when something "bad" happens, for lack of a better term. More parents in my opinion need to be like you. Be open with your kids on sex. It may be uncomfortable for you, and it may be uncomfortable for them. But having that open line of communication on a subject that tends to be amazingly confusing for a teenager can be the best thing for them. They will always follow their emotions and their feelings, mostly "at the time". But the knowledge and faith you give them can go a long way.

I applaud you, mom!

Posts: 33 | From: Ontario | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43709

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You sound like a wonderful parent. Are you this open and supportive about everything your children do? Wow. Perfect.

I don't believe that my mom doesn't know I have sex (I've been with the same, slightly older, guy for 3 years) but she keeps pretending it'll happen later. Maybe she's waiting for me to bring it up, but that's not going to happen while she's still acting blind. And his parents really are blind--we have sex at his house and they pretend not to notice, and never bring it up either.

I'm glad there are parents out there who confront and support us rather than pretending a big part of us just doesn't exist. Thank you.

Posts: 87 | From: USA | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43880

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Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. It does mean a lot to hear the compliments.

Per your suggestions, I did ask them if they knew how to properly use a condom. After a few bumbles and stumbles through the answer, i got a brand new condom and one of my dildo's handed it to them and said show me. While their verbal explanation left much to be desired, they were quite efficient in the demonstration, so that eased my mind.

I aslo asked them as suggested their thoughts about our communication. They said that they appreciated my openess to them although it was still an awkward thing for them to discuss sex with me. I reassured them that my door was always open for advice on technical things, emotiuonal things, whatever. They opened up and we had a several hour conversation that was quite productive. There was one item we discussed that I wanted to post a follow up to everyone for a second opinion of sorts.

Towards the end of our talk, I had a gut feeling thatthey were holding back on a question. I prodded a little and they put forth the following: they had been talking amongst themselves a few times about different things they wanted to try at some point, and they discovered that they each wanted to watch the other have sex with someone of the same gender. They asked what did i think of this. I took a while to ponder this one as it was an unexpected question.

I first said that they should take a while to reflect and enjoy their newfound relationship as it is now, because it is all new to them and not to be taken lightly and that they really should wait a while before trying anything drastically new. Having said that I said that I was cool with homosexual experiences and revealed to them that both my husband and i have engaged in and occasionally still engage in sex with people of the same gender. That also revealed that my husband and i swing, which was probably TMI, but i figured that if they knew i had personal experience with their question they would take my advice to heart. Anyway, i said that there are a lot of issues involving inviting others into their sex lives, and even more issues when you experiment with your own orientation. I said that trust and communication between them was of the utmost importance when considering these activities; that you both have to be really sure its something you really want, especially when you consider the risk increase when inviting others in, even close friends. I also told them that it was a bad idea to do something like this in an effort to please the other, which may put some self pressure on them to perform for their parnter. I suggested to them that they are young and their relationship much younger and that they shoudl spend them next months and even years discovering their own sexual identity as a couple. I suggested that they discuss their fantasies with each other, even role play them with each other, let their imagination run wild between them, but save any real world experiences for the years to come when they have had much time to experience each other and develop the trust and communication needed to sustain a long term relationship and even enjoy the occasional fantasy.

Wrong answer? Right answer? Too much? Too little? Did I miss an important point? They seemed receptive to my advice, hopefully they will take it to heart.

Posts: 3 | From: Ft Worth Texas | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43943

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I think you are really being a wonderful parent sharing so much knowledge and advice with your kid. I know most of the posters here are from the US, and that even there there's a lot of diversity wrt tolerance/openness to teenage sexuality, but this goes beyond and sounds so marvellous to me. Mainly bec. I've never known anyone who could be in such a situation as you are - sex just isn't brought up, ever, full stop. Perhaps it shouldn't be this way - maybe then teenagers wouldn't end up having sex in stairwells in the housing estate or school - but I just hope that your son appreciates how much you're doing for him and how lucky he is to have a mum like you [Big Grin] For keeping him safe and protecting him from both physical probs and emotional hurt.
Posts: 35 | From: Singapore | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Wow. You are *amazing*. It's obvious you want the best for your kids, and your advice re: homosexual encounters/opening up a relationship at all is some of the best I've heard. I have good communication with my parents, but man, this would have saved me a lot of time and grief had I been able to talk to them at this level of detail.

Also, your ability to separate your own discomfort at the idea of your teen being sexually active with what is best/healthiest for him. That takes some impressive self-awareness, and I'm sure he is the better for it. Again, all I have to say is, wow, keep doing what you're doing.

(And also, maybe, that not all of your kids may react the same way to your approach. While your oldest might be fine, your middle child might be more reticent, more nonchalant...I'm sure you've thought about it but it bears repeating that no process is foolproof/repeatable, especially with kids. [Razz] )

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I think that you are being wonderfully open with both your son and his girlfriend. My only concern is this - what about his girlfriend's mother? Does she know any of this is going on? She may not share the same views as you do.
Posts: 125 | From: Canada | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 43880

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I have spoken to her and she is accepting but not as open as I have been. (that is the simplified version of the conversation) She has asked that they not have sex when she is home. She's also concerned that they may not use a condom properly (based on a past experience of hers), so i offered and did have a sit down with them going over condoms again.
Posts: 3 | From: Ft Worth Texas | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Maritess ^_^
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Applause all around! This is my wish with my mom! You handled this amazingly in a mature, responsible way. ^_^

I'm going through the same situation with my mom, though she is opposite of how you handled the situation with your son. How were you able to, how should I say this, I guess what parents call "let your child go"? It must've been very hard for you. My mom isn't ready to let me go yet and so I think that's why it hasn't been very easy with her for my boyfriend and I. I did the same thing like your son did, I came to my mom and opened up to her about it (I'm always open with her, about almost everything) though she had opposite of what your reaction was. When I talk to her, she says two different things. She either says "It's your choice, you'll be the one to deal with the consequences for the rest of your life" and other times she says "I can't let you do that. It would be like throwing my daughter to the sharks, and I'm not going to do that to you." I know it's my choice, but I'm not sure what to do. I want to make this choice, I know I'm ready for it but I don't want to hurt her either. Any advice?

Life's a gift full of sweets, bitterness, and everything in between, so just accept it! ^_^

Posts: 55 | From: US | Registered: Nov 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
moonlight bouncing off water
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Like you my parents have created an open line of communication which can be awkward at times but is also very liberating. I do truly believe that having parents like mine has shaped the person I am today. If you are 1 billionth as good a parent as mine then you are sure to produce great kids. (P.S. you seem fantastic)


I am ME and that is the only label I need.

Posts: 864 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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