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Is this the new normal?

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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
Replies (11-14):
by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

I missed this post back in December but wanted to write as I am right in the middle of it with my 16 yr. old DS.  He was caught sexting verbally and photos with his GF.  He was humiliated and said he did know better, just didn't think anyone one would see it.  I did and I was shocked.  He's been seeing his gf for 8 months now.  He agreed to stop and was humiliated.  Well the next thing I found out they were doing was face-time sexting, which is like skype, so live action self stimulation to each other.  He justified this because it was live the government would never see it.  Hmmm, he said this was a loop hole to my rules and I was being a prude and he was in a mature relationship and I should not have a problem with it.  Like you, I've talked till I'm blue in the face about the dangers of sexting via text or live video and just and getting tired of the battle and being hated by my own child.  Yes, I guess this is the new normal for our kids, sadly to say.   May I ask, do you have the password to your childs phone is that how you saw her messages?  When we got our son his new phone a year ago, we didn't think of asking for the password, yes big mistake, just didn't even think of it, but now how do we go back.  He doesn't want to give it to us.  Understandably.   Like your daughter he is a great kid and we have not other complaints, so this is our first real big battle him.  Would love to hear how your situation has progressed.

by on Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM


Quoting Niccalyn:

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!

 Have you put your DD on birth control? You stated that "she is crazy about him" and "she wants to keep him happy"...........I'm sure he is pressuring her for sex....even if they both say they want to wait.

by Bronze Member on Feb. 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Hi again, thank you for all the responses. Yes I have access to my girls' phones and social networking account and I check everything regularly. They jokingly call me a creeper and I know they'd prefer I give them more privacy, but I feel I must protect them in this way. We talk on a regular basis about their online lives and staying safe.

I did speak to her about the sexting and she told him she is uncomfortable;  it seems to have tapered off although she still indulges him on occasion (ick!)

As to the birth control issue--I'm taking her to the doctor to discuss options next month. She came to me in tears last weekend because they literally had about 30 minutes alone together and they 'almost' had sex. I purchased condoms and we will talk about something more reliable with the doctor. She said its not going to happen anytime soon as this close call freaked her out, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, and I can see in the way they look at each other that they are going to have difficulty controlling this urge. I'm aggravated because his parents don't approve of the relationship (we are different religions) so they are very obviously trying to limit the time they spend together, which I believe is just intensifying their feelings and making those rare times together feel very forbidden and therefore even more tantalizing. At this point all I can do is protect my daughter and pray!

Thank you again for all the advice.

by on Feb. 8, 2013 at 9:39 AM

It seems to be more and more prevelant, but I wouldn't say the new norm.  And no you are not a bad Mama for checking her texts.  This was the rule of SD13 getting a cell phone.  DH and BM or any other family adult had the right to check SD13's cell phone for text messages and usage at any time to verify she was following the rules.  When SD13 is an adult at 18 and is paying for the cell phone bill herself, then she can have privacy.  However,  I wouldn't get super upset with her about it.  But I would have a conversation with her and let her know that possession of sexually graphic photographs, whether sending or receiving, of a person under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and carries very serious and long-term consequences if she or he is caught.  And if they break up and he still has photographs of her in compromising exposure, the pictures very well could find their way to the internet.  It has happened.  So you may just let her know that the things she does now, even though she believes they are between her and her boyfriend, may just come back to bite her in the future. 

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