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Is this the new normal?

Posted by on Dec. 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM
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I hope this doesn't get too long!  I'm new here. I have 3 girls, ages 16, 13 and 8.  They are all wonderful kids.  We have never had any trouble with any of them.  My 16 year old has 'dated' various boys since 7th grade.  This 'dating' consisted of seeing each other at school and the occasional group outing, or a supervised visit in our home. None of these 'relationships' ever lasted longer than 3 months.  She began dating her current boyfriend a little over 2 months ago and I can tell this is much more serious than any of her previous boyfriends. They have only been on 2 'dates' alone together, one to play putt-putt and the other on a picnic in a public park.  Other than that they get together in our home or his and are not allowed in a bedroom or behind closed doors.  They are both very busy with school and extracurriculars, and we are fairly strict parents, his are even more so, so they don't have a lot of 'down time' to spend together.  He is a nice kid--my husband and I don't object.  I am very open in speaking with her about sex and relationships; she tells me that they both want to wait, and that they have discussed and know their 'boundaries.'  What I have discovered recently, however, is that they are engaging in 'sexting.'  I totally invade her privacy and read her texts occasionally, and it is pretty graphic.  So far it is just words, but he asks for pictures and I don't know how long she will be able to hold off.  It sounds like he is basically using this as his 'porn' when he...ummm...satisfies himself?  I appreciate they want to wait for sex--I'm all for that!  But I'm reading that kids who 'sext' are generally already sexually active or are more likely to become so, and I'm worried that their ability to 'wait' will be hindered by their raging libidos being fed by the whole sexting thing.  Trust me when I tell you we've talked about ALLLL of it...the dangers of sending anything inappropriate online or via text, the dangers of unprotected sex, what it does to your heart if you go too far with a boy and then break up, etc., etc.  She knows she can come to me if she thinks sex is going to happen and I will assist with protection/birth control, even if I don't approve. So I guess my question this now considered normal behavior for teens who know they aren't ready for the 'real thing'?  Should I be concerned, or should I just be happy that she isn't actually having sex?  Keep in mind that I wouldn't suspect a THING if I had never read her texts, or if she was in the habit of deleting incriminating evidence...these are very straight-laced, high performing kids.  Anybody had a similar experience?  What did you do, if anything?  Thanks in advance!

by on Dec. 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM
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by on Dec. 14, 2012 at 4:28 PM
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You are not invading her privacy by reading her texts. It's your job as a parent to know what is going on with your kid. Kids whose parents never check up on them usually end up in trouble.
This is not ok. It has become increasingly common, but not ok. Kids who engage in sexting and text inappropriate pictures of themselves have been charged with child porn. It's not ok, and not really that normal. If it were me, I would have a talk with her and talk about the damage those pictures could do if they were to be seen by anyone else. Because even if he doesn't show anyone, his friends could look through his phone, or his parents, and THAT would be humiliating. It's just not a good idea. I would also talk with the boy and let him know that it's disrespectful of him to ask your daughter to put herself in that position. He may very well be a great kid, and wouldn't dream of showing them to anyone, but that doesn't necessarily mean that no one will see them. Like I said, someone may go through his phone. I'd put my foot down on that one.
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by Bronze Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM
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  I would talk to both of them at once. Let them know that you know what has been going on and it is not okay. 

by on Dec. 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM

 I would be worried that she might send a picture and regret it later so talk to her ASAP

by on Dec. 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM
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She is still under age, he could be considered in possession of child pornography...OR even worse... They have a bad break up and in his grief/ anger. He shares these photos with as many friends as he can... Or post it on the net... Once it's there, it's there FOREVER.
It doesn't matter how stand up the boy is... He's a boy with an immature frontal cortex which controls prudent decision making and regulates emotional self control. Hers is also still forming.
Talk to her, explain how texting pictures could ruin her reputation at school, college, and far into life
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by Member on Dec. 14, 2012 at 7:33 PM

 I have two teen girls, ages 13 and 18. Regretfully, I think this is the new normal. We have discussed this with them several times and so has counselors. They don't get it. I don't know of any fool proof solution short of getting rid of the cell phone, but then there is skype on the computer. If anyone comes up with a solution, please let me know also as we go through the same thing. 


have a nice day

by on Dec. 17, 2012 at 1:43 AM
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It seems to be the new normal, but us as parents have to be PRO active.  That is what we are.  We control daughter on the computer.  We don't really skype so that isn't an issue.  Then again all new cell phones are coming with skype.  YOU are the parent and you can control what she does on the cell phone.  Our dd is almost 16 and so is her boyfriend and they have been together for almost 7 months now.  For them it is serious.  So we just take it one day at a time.  He is a great kid but his hormones are raging too. 

We read text messages and we can read in between the lines.  We always talk about it as dd knows at any time we will read her messages.  She is pretty good about NOT deleting them no matter how harsh they are to read.  Sending pictures we do not mind as long as they are tasteful.  Yes, we look at those too!

In today's age it seems like every kid is handed a high tech cell phone with NO limitations.  Since we are the parent and we pay the bill and are ultimately responsible for our child that is under the age, then we have every right to put limitations on everything they do with the cell phone including reading texts and knowing who they are talking to.  

As for sex, I think they are going to have it regardless of what we as parents say.  We can scare them to death and that won't change.  WE can only hope that we taught them well enough!  For me it is a constant battle of the pill.  Trying to get dd and boyfriend to understand that just because we get her on the pill is NOT permission to have sex.  You think with the amount of teenagers walking around with kids would be enough to scare kids in to NOT having sex.  Not so, because they are still in the mindset of "it is not going to happen to me".  

You are NOT alone in this!  :)

by on Dec. 17, 2012 at 5:43 AM

Quoting 02nana07:

 I would be worried that she might send a picture and regret it later so talk to her ASAP

That is alway a concern and a big one.

by Bronze Member on Dec. 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM
Hi, thanks so much for all the replies and advice so far. There haven't been any inappropriate photos sent YET...but he requests them and they also use the new Snap Chat ap--which deletes any photo you send from the recipient's device within 10 seconds--and I think he's trying to convince her this is safe. So far she is resisting--we've talked about it so much that she truly is afraid to send any compromising photos--but I'm afraid the closer she gets to him and the more she trusts him, the more he will be able to wear her down. I know absolutely without a doubt that if I speak to her and tell her I know what's going on, she won't stop but will just delete the messages as soon as she sends/receives them. She is crazy about him and nothing I say will change her actions--she wants to keep him happy! I guess I just wanted to know if other parents see the same thing happening with their teens and if they've discovered anything that can be done to combat it, which it sounds like they do, but they haven't. Good to know I'm not alone! Thanks again for the feedback--keep it coming!
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by on Dec. 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM
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its hard to see our kids as sexual creators sorta speak and believe me when i say its great all the stuff you have done is awesome but they (kids) are the ones who make the decision when they are ready... i don't care if you have been locked up in church all your life eventually it will happen.. the sex ting thing is something many have started to do.. i personally would not do this but not everyone is like me and the other way around.. as innocent as we would like our kids to remain it just is not going to work out that way... therefore just prepare her as you have been doing.. its not a question if its going to happen question of when.. and as far as doing inappropriate things well their kid and should know better but don't care til they get caught or worse... it sounds as if you have three wonderful dds and this new bf is the one thing that is causing some differences in the dynamic of you fam, just be watching and do the best you can but they can and will find away at sometime so just make sure she is being safe... that's the best any of us can do.. because its there sex life now they can get abortions with out mom/ dads consent and bc if they want it our parental rights slowly diminish as they get older... 

by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 4:26 PM

It looks like it is the new normal FOR SOME!!

Our kids are part of a social net that we parents did not deal with in our, it is new to us...I think you are doinf what is right, keeping comunication open wuth her...tell her that you did check the textings...TELL HER YOU DID IT BECAUSE IT IS YOUR DUTY AND HONOR AS A PARENT to know what is going on in her life....OUT OF LOVE AND SAFETY!!


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