teenagers and sex

Rene, I got a phone call last night from my 17 year old son who said he needed $20 and it was a dire emergency.

I had quite a few questions running through my mind but not the one he sprung on me. He said that his condom broke and needed to buy the Plan B pill for his girl friend.

I did not know he was sexually active and this was a slam to me. I am glad he came to ask as I don’t want to be a grandmother. If he can’t afford the pill you know he can’t afford anything else.

I bought the pill but want to know how to handle this. I told the girlfriend if she needs me to take her to a doctor I would. Question, am I over stepping my parental boundaries by offering this to her and what do I do with my son?


Worried Mom

Dear Worried,

I know this is a shock to your system but there are some good things, some not so good  things and an opportunity to learn here. In a perfect world we would like our kids to wait and have sex when they’re ready, preferably a bit older than 17. But the fact is they did it, it does no good to hide your head in the sand and you need to figure out where to go from here.

First I want to commend you for creating an environment where you son felt comfortable enough coming to you when he was in trouble. That is no small thing. I also have to say bravo to him for using a condom and for paying enough in sex ed class (or to the commercials) to know what Plan B emergency contraception is. Sounds to me like you have a pretty smart kid on your hands who was being responsible. That said here’s what I would suggest.

TALK TO YOUR SON: It appears you have pretty open communication already so I would probably tell him that I was thankful he came to me. But I would also express my shock and disappointment that he is having sex. I would explain to him that sex is a big step and not one people are always ready for mentally and emotionally even if they are physically. Make sure he understands all he needs to know about sexually transmitted diseases as well. After you’re done giving your spiel ask him if he has any questions for you. He might one or two that you had not thought of.

TALK TO THE GIRLFRIEND: While I remain impressed that you have such clear communication with your son and his girlfriend, I do think this is where it gets a little tricky. You don’t mention it but I am going to assume she is also a minor. Your question was whether taking her to the doctor oversteps your parental bounds. On this, I would say yes. However, I also think even with all the talking, it’s probably not real likely that they are going to stop having sex and you said yourself you do not want to be a grandmother. So the question is how do you keep that from happening? Talk to the girlfriend and ask her if she is comfortable going to her own mother. If she is not, then I would find the nearest Planned Parenthood. You can make sure she calls for an appointment, perhaps drive her there, but I would stop short of assuming any sort of medical liability for her. If she and your son want to have sex, then he can accompany her to the appointment

GO OVER GROUND RULES: Just because you are helping facilitate birth control for the young couple does not mean you are signing off on them having sex all over your house. Lay down the ground rules and stand by them. If your son asks where they’re going to have “alone time” uh, not your problem. You don’t know, nor do you want to. If he’s old enough to have sex (in his mind) he’s old enough to figure that part out. And he’d better get a job that pays enough money or manage what he’s got in the event of another “dire” emergency.

Your son did a mature and smart thing coming to you when he was in trouble. It was the first step in accepting responsibility for this situation. But it has to continue and that includes, getting and utilizing proper birth control.

Good luck mommy!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away.