Sunday, May 10, 2009

So You Find Out Your Teen is Sexually Active

So you find out your teen is sexually active? Now what?

Well you can scream and holler, lecture, ground them, take away all their priveldges, or send them to boot camp? Or you can realize that they are just growing up and that this is the beginning of them becoming young adults. No parents look forward to their children becoming sexually active but it can and does happen regardless of the parental values. So what do you do when you find out?

Assuming your teen knows about safe sex and both the physical and emotional pitfalls that can result from a sexual relationship, there really isn't much more you can do other than remember that they are still the same child that you have raised for all these years and provide them guidance and support in their decision. They are not going to stop having sex just because the parents tell them not to and they will continue to find places to do it.

So I say...let them explore their sexuality, give them their privacy and let them know that sex is and can be a very wonderful experience and is nothing to be ashamed about. Let your child know that sex is a private matter between them and their partners and allow them the freedom and privacy to learn about sex in a healthy and safe environment. Teach them that there is much more to a relationship than sex but also that sex is an important part of a loving and committed relationship. The attitudes our children have about sex in their teen years will be the attitudes they will continue to have as they become adults. Once they become sexually active...we want our teens to know how to be responsible, safe, and develop a healthy outlook on this part of a relationship.

I don't think that any parent would ever encourage their teenagers to have sex, but on the other hand once they take this step we should accept their decision and allow them the ability to explore and discover their sexuality in a positive way.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Talking To Your Teen Daughter About Sex

As our girls grow up we have talked to them in age appropriate terms about their bodies and have had the birds and bees talk. So what do we tell them about sex when they hit the teen years and think they are ready to lose their virginity?

1. Respect: respect for their bodies and themselves. They can only lose their virginity one time.

2. Safety: If they are going to have sex they need to protect themselves. This includes how to put on and take off a condom safely along with the many birth control options available. And also a visit to the gyn or clinic for a discussion with a professional.

3. Independence: The decision to have sex should be a decision they make, not because they are pressured for any reason, but because the relationship has reached that stage where both partners are comfortable in taking the next step.

4. How to say No: Every girl matures at different ages and stages and they need to know how to say no to any or all sexual activities they are not ready for or comfortable with.

5. How to say Yes: Undestanding that sex can be a wonderful thing when they are both physically and emotionally ready.

6. Sex is not bad: They need to understand that sex can be good in the right situation, when both partners are physcially and emotionally mature enough.

7. Intercourse is not the only way to have sex with a partner: There are many other options, including mutual masturbation to experiece sexual pleasure and if a girl is not ready to have intercourse she should be aware of the other options and be willing to let her partner know.

8. Masturbation is healthy and normal: A young girl needs to know that exploration of her own body is a very normal function and is not something that they should ever be ashamed of.

9. Communication: Before having sex with a partner it is important that they both are able to talk with each other about their bodies, their readiness, their fears and their desires and the physcial and emotional consequences.

10. Don't expect fireworks the first time: For most people, the first time, is a learning experience and many times the expectations and anticipation far exceed the initial experience. They need to undesrstand that the first time may not be as wonderful as they thought it would be.

11. The first time should be planned, discussed, and made a very special occassion: They will always remember their first time and as parents we would hope that it is a memorable and mature decision. We do not want them to have sex the first time in the heat of the moment where physical desires override the brain.

12. Allow plenty of time and privacy for the first time: The back seat of the car or the basement with mom and dad upstairs, is not the mature way to lose their virginity. Once the decision is made to have sex, then they need to find a safe place without interuptions or fear of someone hearing them. Planning where and when is just as important as the decision to lose their virginity.

13. If at all possible discuss with mom or dad or a close adult friend or relative the decision to have sex prior to making this decision. This does not always happen and it's understandable, but before they make the decision to become sexually active, it would be best if they felt comfortable enough to talk to someone who has been there before.

14. Being mature enough to be able to talk to their partner: After the first time and even subsequent times, it's important to be able to express to their partner what they like, what they don't like. What feels good, what doesn't and what limits they will place or boundaries that they will accept.

15. Undestanding the consequences: Although sex is wonderful, teens need to be aware that there are consequences. The emotional pain of a breakup with a sexual partner can be devastating and they also need to be aware of the physical consequences of pregnancy or sti's, when the sex is unprotected.

16. Sex is a private matter between two consenting individuals: Sex is not a notch in somebody's belt or a way to show how "grown up" they are to others. It is an intimate experiece that should be mutually shared with a partner in a committed relationship in a private setting.

It's not easy for any of us, regardless of how liberal we might be, when we discover our children have had or are getting ready to have sex. But sex is a natural part of the human makeup and it is our responsibility as parents to guide our children into making rational and mature decisions. I know this does not always happen but we can only hope that it works out that way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Are Kids More Sexual Today?

There is alot of talk these days about how kids become sexually active younger these days. So I ask do you really think kids today are any different than we were when we were that age?

Obviously the media directed to our youth has much more of an influence today than it did when I was young but I think that may not be entirely bad. Kids today are much better informed about drugs, sex, and drinking than we ever were. When I grew up the word "rubbers" was whispered and today the word "condoms" is used often and not in hushed tones.

Growing up I knew what "rubbers" were and yes there was the pill, but it's not something we talked about. Girls my age were considered trashy if it was known we were having sex, but boys were considered studs. My mom talks about girls that got pregnant in her day, having to go visit their "aunts" for the duration of the pregnancy. And many of us were having sex back then, but there was no sex education in school and we were taught to save ourselves for marriage.

Today many of us have open discussions with our teenagers about sex. Yes, we even talk to our kids about safe sex. Young girls having sex today are not considered the sluts of the world and I think it's safe to say this sterotyping is finally fading from our society. Sure there are still many parents that expect abstinence from their teens but there are more of us today than there were years ago that accept teen sexuality and promote safe sex.

I do not think teens today are really any different than they were when i was growing up, however I think the media has done a better job of educating both teens and parents, and has made sexuality a topic that can be discussed more openly and not in hushed tones. Can you imagine the public reaction if condom ads and birth control ads appeared on TV 20 years ago? And who ever heard the words "erectile dysfunction" back then? Today human sexuality is a topic that can be discussed and our kids are much better informed than we were. Kids aren't having more sex today than we did, it is just more accepted today and our kids are better educated than we ever were.

So instead of blaming the media for teen sexuality, thank the media for making sex a topic that can be discussed openly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How comfortable are you with your sexually active teen?

One of my mom's groups has a poll asking.."how comfortable are you with your sexually active teen?" The poll gave various choices ranging from no acceptance at all...all the way to under my roof so I know they will be safe and comfortable. As of now there are over 500 votes and the leading vote getter was the "under my roof."

Even as sexually positive as I am, these poll results surprized me, because in my own group of friends my parenting style is in the minority. Sleep overs in my house are a common occurrence and my daughter is in a very committed and loving relationship. But to find that there are so many people in that group that share my views was eye opening.

So I'm trying to figure out why this poll was so much different than I experience with my own group of friends. Could it be because this group attracts more liberal minded moms, or could it be that people can be more open with their views with the annonymity of the internet? I really don't have an answer but I did feel somewhat validated in my parenting style knowing that so many other parents accepted their children's sexual activity to the point that they preferred it was conducted at home in a safe and healthy environment.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this? I just found it very interesting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Backseat of the Car

An old high school girlfriend was in town for the holidays and we had a chance to catch up over a few drinks. As we were reminiscing over some of our high school episodes she brought up "planters hill" which really wasn't a hill but it's the place everyone "back in the day" went to make out with their boyfriends. Sadly Planters Hill is now a development.

But as we laughed and drank our wine we talked about our exploits in the backseats of our boyfriend's cars and I thought it would be a good subject to blog about. Nooooo I'm not going into the x rated details so if that's what you were looking for you will be disappointed. It does however bring up the subject about teens and how many teens did and still do experience their sexuality.

For many teens, the back seat of the car is really the only place they can have their privacy to engage in intimate relations. Again I'm not advocating that teens have sex, I'm just stating that if teens want to have sex they are going to. But is this where we want our teens to learn about and experience sex? First off it's not a very comfortable environement (unless the teens are gymnasts) and parking in a deserted area is not a very safe place to engage in this type of activity. In addition, having intimate relations while constantly listening for other cars or the noises in the dark, definitely takes much of the romance out of a romantic situation.

Now I'm sure there are some parents that believe that the more uncomfortable the situation is the less likeley the teens will be to have sex. But remembering my jaded past, tells me that the sex will still occur but it will be more of a purely sexual act than a passionate romantic loving encounter.

As I've said before, I have always wanted my girls to understand and experience the beauty of having sex once they were in committed and loving relationships. Anyone that has read any of my posts knows that I don't condone teen sex but I do accept that it will happen, and I want my kids to know that sex can be wonderful, fun, healthy and fulfilling.

So do we want our kids to experience physical intimacy in the backseat of a car or should we allow them their privacy to enjoy and explore their sexuality in a safe and comfortable environment?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Bond of Good Communication

As we raise our children especially when they become teenagers how can we get them to talk to us. I have heard of and know many parents who complain because their teenagers will not open up or have any meaningful discussions with them. It's not uncommon to ask a teenager a question and get only a yes or no response, or even a grunt here and there or even the dreaded "eye roll." Why is it that kids do not want to communicate with parents??

I know I'm not the perfect parent and I may not even be a good parent...but i try and I think that's all we can do as we raise try our best. So what does Barb think we can do to get our teens to open up, to tell us what's going on in their lives and to discuss issues with us?

1. Never yell, scream or lecture: Doing these things will immediately cause an "ear blockage" from our kids and anything that is said will not be heard or will not be absorbed into their teenage brains. So I say...always keep your cool.
2. Listen, listen, listen: When our kids say something, it is most likely important to them, so listen to them and hear what they have to say and then discuss rationally.
3. When confronted with a difficult situation you do not always have to give an immediate response. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I need to think about this and we will deal with it later." That gives us time to cool down, reflect on the situation, and deal with the issue in a logical and well thought out approach.
4. Be logical: Be willing to explain your reasoning why they can't do something. I have talked before about, honesty, respect and safety and most of the time I can explain an issue to my kids as it relates to those 3 core values. But sometimes don't be afraid to say, I'm your mom and my gut tells me such and such is not a good thing to do. It's ok to say, "I really can't give you a reason other than I'm not comfortable with such and such." Your kids might not like that response but you are being honest. Making up reasons only causes your kids to lose trust in you.
5. Always be honest: If you are honest with your kids you can expect honesty from them in return. If they ask a question, don't blow them off. Deal with whatever it is honestly and truthfully.
6. Remember how you were at their age: As parents we do not want our kids to make the same mistakes we made. But mistakes are part of growing up. Our past mistakes have made us who we are today.
7. Remember they are teenagers: They are at that age where they think they know everything, and they want to be independent. Don't be afraid to let them spread their wings as they mature, but always be there to catch them when they fall. Never say "i told you so."
8. Spend time with your kids: Do the little things, give them your time, your attention, your love and your trust. Kid's don't wake up every morning thinking of things to make parents crazy. Kids want to please their parents.

So all in all what I'm trying to say is good open communication with your kids is probably the most important gift you can give them and they can give us parents. There are no silver bullets, and all we can do is our best.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teens and Privacy

How much privacy should we give our teens is a dilemma that most parents are confronted with. Some parents believe teens do not have a right to any privacy, whether it be in their bedroom, on myspace or facebook, on the computer, and even on the phone.

I have always expected my kids to give me privacy and I in turn have given them their privacy when they reached the age where they were mature enough to handle it. My youngest has had myspace since she was around 13 or so, and she voluntarily added me as a friend. I didn't require her to do it but she did it on her own. I have never had a problem with her computer use and I've never used any spyware to track where she goes on the computer. She gave me her password awhile ago because she wanted me to watch if she got an email about a job. But she knows that even though I have her password, I would never read any of her emails unless she asked me to, and i would never try to snoop her IM's. And she would do the same with me. As for her bedroom, that is her private area. Just like adults, children need their own space and since she has been in a serious relationship I have no problem giving her privacy whether it be by herself or with her boyfriend.

So I think privacy is something that we expect our kids to give us and in turn we should give them their privacy. Now if the situation ever came up where I thought she was abusing this priviledge, such as doing drugs, or other inappropriate activities then everything would change...but she knows that too, so she respects the privacy I give her and does not abuse it.

Privacy is important for all of us, and as long as our kids understand that it's a priveledge not to be abused, I'm all in favor of giving kids their privacy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Talking to the Other Parents

Having teens involved in a sexual relationship can be traumatic to many parents. Upon discovering this fact about your child, there are a wide range of emotions that many parents go through. Some parents prefer to bury their head in the sand and feel that the less they know the better, while other parents attempt to restrict the relationship and tell their children no you are not allowed to have sex. In my bloggings I talk alot about how I handle and accept this with my daughters. However there is no best way for a parent to handle this situation, because every parent has to deal with this based on their own values and beliefs and parent their kids the best they know how.

But...if you are like me and accept the fact that your child is having sex and you are comfortable with it, then what is your responsibility to the parents of your teens boyfriend or girlfriend's parents? Do you have a responsibility to discuss this with the other parents? I think alot of parents struggle with this decision especially if they do not know the other parents or don't know them well. The worry is will they react? Is it my job to let them know what their child is doing?

I think the answer is not always clear but I do believe that if you believe it is ok to let your child and their partner privacy in your home to engage in these activities or if you believe in allowing the two kids to sleep at your house, then I think it's necessary to have a discussion with the other parents. This is not always easy and can be stressful but it's important that the other parents know how you plan on handling this. So call the other parents and let them know your thoughts and get their thoughts on how they believe this should be handled. And if the other parents are of the mindset that teen sexuality should be stopped or at least is not acceptable to them, then you as the parent need to respect the other parents values. On the other hand some parents may think like I do that teen sex in a loving committed relationship is healthy, and if that's the case then both sets of parents are on the same page.

So the point of all this is that if your teen is involved in a sexual relationship, don't be afraid to talk to the other parents. Parents need to be on the same page when dealing with these types of relationships and it goes along way in minimizing problems in the future.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Heartbreak of Breaking Up

My daughter's friend just broke up with her boyfriend of 14 months and is devastated. It's tough as parents to see our kids hurt and seeing our children hurt, hurts us many times as much as it hurts our child. I know of some parents who don't want their children to be in sexual relationships or any relationship for that matter, based on the deepness of the hurt if a break up occurs.

Breakups are often times very difficult whether it be with a teen relationship or an adult relationship. When two people fall in love and are committed to each other, it is a wonderful feeling. And when a breakup occurs it can be the worst feeling in the world.

That being said, breakups are part of life. Friendships breakup, families break up, and partners breakup. There is usually a large amount of guilt and grief associated with a breakup and when a break up happens, it's hard to find the strength to get through the days that follow. But most of us have gone through this situation at one time or another.

Dealing with hurt and grief is a part of life which when we look at it objectively makes us much stronger people. It becomes part of the foundation that makes us who we are as people. But as parents we worry about our children being hurt because most of us have been hurt and we know what a terrible feeling it is.

As I talked to my daughter's friend, my words of wisdom, didn't seem to hit home, which is normal, because she is still going through the pain of a breakup. As I told her however, as she looks back on this at some point in the future, she will understand the strenghts and goodness of her relationship and she will also understand how fragile relationships can be. I know it will make her a wiser and stronger person as she gets older, although she can't see that now. And with my daughter, it would pain me tremendously to see her have to go through the hurt of a breakup but if it does happen someday, she will learn that there are no guarantees in life and pain is part of the process of becoming an adult. I don't want to see my daughter hurt, ever, but i want her to grow up to be a strong and independent adult who learns from both the joys in life as well as the pains of life.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Safe Sex Really Can Be Safe Sex

So many times you hear parents saying that the only safe sex is abstinence. They put the fear of God into their kids heads about std's and getting pregnant that they miss out, or at least in my opion, they miss out on letting their children grow into happy healthy well adjusted adults.

Most common forms of birth control these days are 99.9% reliable when used correctly. Yes there are some that are not quite as effective but when talking about the pill, the patch, depo, the nuva ring and others, the reliability is proven...but they must be used correctly. The same with condoms, when handled and used properly. (condoms are stated to be 85-98% effective but the testing does not include proper handling or usage.)

So what I'm saying, if you have a belief system that premarital sex is wrong, that's ok explain that to your children but do not use the fear tactic of there is no such thing as safe sex. Everyone has their own beliefs that they try to instill in their children and that is a parent's job.

If on the other hand you have come to the realization that your children do or might someday have sex, then education on the proper use of birth control and condoms is so very important. You can't just say here are the condoms good luck and have fun. And you just can't send your daughter to Planned Parenthood and hope she gets on something. Oviously it's important to talk to the gyn about what method is best for each girl and do your research, but most women can find something that is to their liking. And don't forget to talk about the need for condoms and their proper usage. There is much more to know than just sliding it on the male partner.

The point of this blog, (c'mon get to it Barb) is that yes there is such a thing as safe sex for both teens and adults. If your child is sexually active, do your research and talk to your gyn, and explain in detail the proper use of birth control to your teen. It's even better if you have the discussion with both your teenager and his or her partner at the same time. It's important that in any relationship both parties have a full understanding. If your like me and your kids understand the proper use of birth control, then you can relax in the knowledge that your children will be safe and can learn to explore and enjoy their sexuality without worry. And even if you do not believe in premarital sex, please do not scare your children into thinking that if they have sex they will get an std or become pregnant.

Just my thoughts for the day! Love me or hate me, I'm Barb!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Teaching Kids the Difference Between Sex and Making Love

I think that if we as parents can teach our kids that there is a big difference between having sex and making love, it will go along way in helping our kids mature. Sex results from raging hormones, peer pressure, partner pressure, or just the desire to have a few moments of passion or momentary pleasure. Making love is a mutually fulfilling experience between two committed people that care deeply about each other.

Although we are all sexual beings and we were born with the need to have sex, it's important that kids understand that making love is healthy and wonderful, and is something that can deepen a relationship. Having sex on the other hand is not a healthy emotional activity for teens.

When having the sex talk with kids, in addition to talking about the need for safe sex and the consequences, we should explain the difference between sex and making love. This helps instill in the child a true sense of what sexuality is all about. When a person loses their virginity, it is something they cannot get back and it's also a time that they will always remember. Having good memories about making love is much better than having regrets about having sex as they get older.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What Do You Teach Your Kids About Sex?

For many parents, it's hard enough to talk to their kids about sex but should you teach them about sex as well? Hopefully most parents discuss the emotional consequences of sex, std's, pregnancies etc. And we all have to discuss sex with our kids in the framework of what we as parents believe. But once the basics are covered and we are accepting of our teenagers sexual activity, what kind of conversations do we have next?

Anyone reading this probably knows that I think sex should be a wonderful enjoyable experience in committed relationships, whether it be adult or teen relationships. I've always explained to my kids the importance of:

1. Continually talking to their partner about sex.
2. Exploration..learning what both parties enjoy and not being afraid to try new things.
3. Understanding that both parties in a relationship need to feel fulfilled, it's not just a one way street.
4. Being aware that sex is only one part of a healthy relationship.

It's also important to realize that all kids are different. My oldest daughter is much more private and our conversations regarding sex are usually brief and limited, although she does know that I'm always willing to listen if she wants to talk. My 16 yr old on the other hand, is my talkative and inquisitive one. Although she does talk alot and has always had many questions, in most cases I don't pry into the specifics of her sex life, there are somethings that even i don't want to know lol.

But with both my girls I have always felt that the sex talk needs to go beyond the safe sex aspects. It's important that they know how important it is that both parties talk about sex and just don't do it without any conversation. Explaining what is enjoyable and what isn't is what keeps a relationship evolving and growing. Being willing to explore various activities is the only way we find out what gives us pleasure and what does not. There are many resources for all of us to learn about new techniques or different activities. There are books, movies and online sites that are wonderful resources for people of all ages. Especially in the teen years, what they learn now is the basis for healthy relationships as they get older. And kids need to know that both partners have needs that should be taken care of, and a good understanding of the others needs is so important. And most importantly, sex is good, sex is fun, sex is exhilarating but there is much more to any relationship than just good sex.

I think if we can make our kids aware of the above, they will develop into emotionally healthy, happy adults with a strong sense of who they are and this will go a long way into developing strong relationships in the future.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Safe Healthy Enjoyable Sex

I just read a post in one of my groups that got me riled up. A few Moms were talking about how they wouldn't provide condoms to their teenagers. They said they wouldn't provide condoms and they wouldn't allow their kids to have sex. Jesus Christ...what are these people thinking? Now how in the hell can you prevent teenagers from having sex once they decide to do it? Do these moms think they can just tell their kids that they can't have sex and the kids will listen? WTF?
Ok now I admit I'm pretty liberal and as I've posted before I think sex can be wonderful in committed relationships. Yes even for teenagers! Teens have the same sex drive as we adults do, they maybe have an even stronger desire for sex than we do. You can't just say, no don't have sex and no I won't provide you condoms or birth control. That is a sure recipe for unwanted pregnancies. If you tell your kids how bad sex is and how wrong it do you expect them to be able to talk to you and come to you for guidance? All that is accomplished is to force the kids to sneak around and many times engage in unsafe sex.
Now I don't think casual sex for teenagers is a good thing at all, but it is our job as parents to talk to our kids, make them know they can talk to us about anything, and keep the lines of communication open. By doing this, we can hope they will listen to us and come to us when they have serious issues they are dealing with. Kids need to know that they can say "NO" to sex but they also need to know to be safe when and if they do decide that they want to take that step.
Finding out your teenager is sexually active can be a traumatic experience for parents, but it's a fact of life that nowadays many kids will not wait until marriage to start having sex. So we as parents can either accept it and guide our kids to be happy, healthy and safe, or we can say OMFG, no way, you can't have sex.
As your teenagers grow up, it's important to listen to them, talk to them and not be judgemental. I'm definitely not saying we should encourage our kids to be sexually active, but many kids will take that step and we need to be there for them. Kids need to know that once they take that step it is something they can't get back, but it can also be a very wonderful experience that enhances a loving committed relationship.
So my point in all this rambling is, talk to your kids, listen to them, and don't freak out when you find out they've had sex. Be willing to get your daughter birth control, have the condoms available and hopefully our kids will learn to have healthy loving relationships when the time comes. I'm sure not everyone agrees with this post but it's just my humble thoughts.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Europeans Treatment of Teen Sex vs Americans

I recently read an article which stated that Americans look at teen sex as a risky experience while the Europeans feel that teen sex is a pleasurable experience. I think the Europeans hit the nail on the head. The only caveat that I'm making in this post is that, teen sex should be safe and consensual.

Although I'm sure even in Europe that parents don't encourage their children to have sex, they realize that if it happens there is nothing wrong with it. Bravo. What is so wrong with children seeking pleasure? It's a normal desire for both children and adults. Many adults seek pleasure through many activities such as smoking, drinking, laughter, and yes sex. So why can't we understand that children have the same need to seek pleasure just like us. When children are young they seek their physical pleasure from sucking their thumbs, and having a "binkie," and as they grow they learn about masturbation. After the onset of puberty teens tend to seek out different ways to seek out physical pleasure. Kissing and hugging becomes more of the norm after puberty. And then Sex can become an important form of pleasure for teens.

There is not a "magical age" where young adults can have sex, children mature differently. It is our responsibility as parents to accept our children's needs for pleasure as they grow up and to talk to them and prepare them emotionally to be responsible and safe in the activities they undertake.

So Moms and Dads out there, can you accept the fact that we all have a desire for physical pleasure, even our kids? Do you think like the Europeans or do you have the mindset of most Americans? It's all up to us as parents to determine what is best for our own children, for me, I say what's so wrong with good safe consensual sex?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Teaching Teens: Intimacy Does Not Always Mean Intercourse

Many parents of teenagers are so worried about their teenagers having sex that they disapprove of almost any physical contact their children have with their partners. What parents do not realize is that physical contact is something that is a natural instinct. Parents love to hold their children, we kiss our children, and we hug our children, it is how we express our affection for them. And this is something children learn from an early age, so why is it so difficult for parents to accept their children having physical contact with others as they get older.

Physical contact does not necessarily mean intercourse, although as relationships evolve, intercourse may happen. I think as parents we need to teach our children that intimacy can be holding hands or kissing or cuddling, it doesn't always have to be intercourse. We all have different belief systems and the values we instill in our children will hopefully guide them as they grow into mature and responsible adults.

Young adults are no different than we are as parents, they have a need and desire for love, whether it be parental love or the emotional love they get from being with a partner. When our children hold hands, kiss, or hug their boyfriend or girlfriend at the time, they are just expressing affection, which is a need all of us have.

That's why it is so important for us to teach our children that intimacy and seeking pleasure is a normal and healthy desire that we all have and that there are many ways to express intimacy, without engaging in intercourse. Sure many times intimacy leads to intercourse but if we teach our children alternative forms of intimacy, it can prolong their need to engage in actual sex.

Kissing, hand holding, hugging are all very safe activities that are healthy in any relationship. As relationships become more serious, intimacy can take the form of masturbation or mutual masturbation, and a variety of foreplay activities. Obviously the urge to go further than this is great however if we teach our children that there are ways to enjoy intimacy without actually having intercourse, hopefully they can prolong their virginity until they are in long term committed loving relationships.

So when we have the discussions about sex with our children we need to understand their needs for affection but also talk about the act of intercourse not being the only way to express their intimacy. There are many other ways for our young adults to experience pleasure without having actual penetration. We need to be open with our children as they grow, and not be afraid to have open and honest discussions.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Spitzer Situation as a Teaching Moment with a Libertarian Slant

My youngest daughter and I began discussing the situation with the ex governor of New York and his relationship with the escort service. The newspapers and television have covered it extensively and have continuously bashed the governor for his behavior. Now, assuming he only used his personal money for this affair, is what he did wrong? and should he have resigned? Ok, I've read that he wasn't always the nicest of guys, but that's not the issue, the question is, did he do something wrong?

This was a consensual relationship between two adults, and done in the privacy of a hotel room. Whether safe sex was practiced or not, is a decision that they made and why should any of us judge it? Yes he was married, but that is an issue between the governor and his wife. And yes prostitution is considered illegal but so is smoking marijuana, cheating on income taxes, drinking and driving and a variety of other activities that many adults participate in. Most of the media jumped on the bandwagon and condemned the governor for doing something they considered "wrong." But "wrong" according to whose standards?

What the governor did was an issue between him his wife and the other woman. It did not involve anyone else and noone was hurt except his family and that is a personal matter that the governor brought on himself. So why such a media outcry? Probably because it had to do with the provactive word "Sex." Although many people do not choose to pay for sex, others do, and that is a decision made between consenting adults.

I do not see how having a heterosexual or homosexual affair, paid for or not, warrants the media scrutiny the governor faced. Sure he had to deal with the fallout at home and with his kids, but what makes it any of the public's business who he is sleeping with. I'm a believer that what goes on in a bedroom should stay in the bedroom and is a very personal activity. Obviously the governor enjoys sex and yes he paid for it, but does that impact his ability to govern the state of New York, anymore than it would impact my job as a teacher? I think not, and I think the media ruined his career because of a personal issue that had no bearing on his job.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cyber Sex and Masturbation

I'm a member of several parenting groups and sometimes subjects that come up in the groups give me the motivation to blog in the anonymity of the internet. Recently there was a post about a mom walking in on her daughter who was having cybersex with her bf on a webcam in her bedroom. The mom was in shock and it sounded like she was ready to have a nervous breakdown over finding her daughter engaged in this activity. Obviously most people do not think like I do, but I say what's the big deal?

Cybersex is nothing more than masturbation, and albeit a webcam is more a form of mutual masturbation, why is this so bad? Obviously it had to be embarrassing for both the mom and daughter when the mom walked in, but what woman or man for that matter has never masturbated? It is a natural form of human pleasure, and it's definitely a type of sex that doesn't cause worry about pregnancy or std's, and most of us learned to masturbate at young ages. Yes Mom, most likely your child has masturbated before.

Is there a stigma about this type of activity? Obviously we do not want to see this type of activity from our kids anymore than they want to walk in on us when we are taking time to enjoy ourselves. But in privacy, children should be taught that self pleasuring can provide a wonderful feeling and is a great release at times for those sexual urges that we all get. Even if our children have sexual partners, the need to please one's self still occurs, and whether it is through a sex aid or the "old fashioned way," why is this such a big deal to some parents?

I read an article one time that talked about self pleasuring and mutual masturbation as a way to postpone our children's desire for intercourse. Now I'm not sure that's true but it is an interesting observation. I personally think that once a young couple enters the world of mutual masturbation they are more inclined to start intercourse, but again that's only my opinion. But I still don't think either of those activities is a bad thing in a committed relationship.

I have no problem with my two daughter's having sex aids, and I've even helped them shop online before for these items. Before you go saying, OMG Barb is nuts, let me tell you that searching the various catalogs online can be a wonderful educational experience and promotes great discussions with your kids about their sexuality. Once we can get past the embarrassment of talking about sex with our kids, we can have open and honest discussions.

So yes I admit, I have masturbated lol and don't tell anyone but I do enjoy it (shhhhh.) So as I ramble on....if I walked in on my daughter pleasuring herself while watching her boyfriend doing the same on a webcam, I'd smile and get out of the room as quickly as I entered, and remember from now on to knock the next time I decided to go in her room.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I Love My Teenagers, Yes I Do

I love raising teenagers, Yes I really do, and because of that I'm a member of several parenting groups. Typically the topics are about teen behavior whether it be drugs, sex, drinking or attitudes, and are written by frustrated parents. Now I do understand that there are "troubled teens" out there but I've come to the conclusion that there are just as many "troubled parents" as well. Now I'm no pollyanna, and I have seen teens that are very troubled, but I think there are alot of instances that it's the troubled parents that cause the troubled teens, not always, just in alot of cases.

I'm just a Mom, not a psychologist or a researcher in academia, so take what I write lightly. I have no silver bullets for raising teenagers but I think parents need to remember their own teenage years when they deal with their own kids. I think if we show them love, laugh at them, laugh with them, and cry when they cry, we can learn to be good parents. Teenagers are just a younger species of adults who are trying to become adults, and we as parents can either be there to guide them or we can be there to hold them back in their journey. It's all up to us. We as parents can either say that we won't let them make the same mistakes that we did, or we can say we will guide them so they can grow and learn from their mistakes and become happy successful adults.

I've posted before about the fact that I really only have three rules with my kids, safety, honesty and respect, and they have heard these three rules from me all of their lives.

Safety covers alot of activities from safe sex, drinking and driving, drug abuse, riding with unsafe drivers etc. Like I tell my girls safety covers anything when their physical or emotional health is at risk.

Honesty covers the need to be truthful at school, with friends, with employers, with partners, and at home. Now I know, there are times when I've not always been truthful and there will be times when our kids aren't always truthful, but if we ingrain in them the basic tenet of honesty, these lies will be few and far between, and will be more "white" lies than lies that impact their lives.

Then we get to respect, which is having respect for others and having respect for themselves. If we can teach our children to respect others, they will learn to be tolerant, non judgemental, loving human beings. I explain to them that they don't have to like everyone but they do need to respect everyone. When we teach them to respect themselves they learn everything from personal hygiene to getting good grades, to having good relationships.

So those are my three rules, and do I care that their rooms might be messey or that they might come home ten minutes late? I don't sweat the small stuff. When deciding what battles I pick I go back to my three rules. A good rule of thumb to use when we get upset with our kids, is to say to ourselves,"will it matter a year from now?"

Ok I know parenting isn't quite as easy as I make it sound, and I'm the hippy open minded mom, that your mom warned you about. But I love my teenagers and it's a great ride, although it won't last forever. We only have a short period of time to raise our kids and it's up to us to either bitch and complain or to sit back and treasure the time we have with them.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Healthy Divorce? Maybe

I recently came across a wonderful website,, which talks about handling divorce in a very powerful way. When I got divorced 10+ years ago I didn't have the benefit of this site, but I handled my divorce alot like the thoughts the author expressed. Please check out this site, it is a wonderful resource for those getting divorced or already divorced.

My divorce was neither easy nor happy because by the time we separated we both had an intense dislike for each other. My girls were 6 and 5 at the time, and I know I was not the best mom to them and their dad was not the best dad. To make a long story short our marriage was filled with affairs on both sides, a few drugs and alot of drinking, definitely not the way to get parent of the year awards.

I spent the first week of him being gone to reevaluate my life, although I should have gone to counseling I didn't. I finally came to the realization that our marriage was a total mess due to the both of us and that it wasn't all him. I still despised him and the anger didn't go away but I did realize that I sure was not blameless. I came to the conclusion that my number one priority now had to be my two girls, and no matter how hard it was going to be, I had to do what was best for them. I called their dad (even now I hate calling him my husband or ex husband.), and I said I wanted to meet him. The only rules I set for our get together is that we both had to be sober and we both had to promise to be civil to each other, which he surprising agreed to.

We met for coffee and he came sober and I did too. I explained my feelings that our marriage was a disaster and I accepted my responsibility for my share. I then told him, I don't care if you hate me or I hate you, we have to move forward for the sake of the girls. I said here is how I will conduct myself from now on and it's up to you how you handle yourself. I told him that I will never say anything bad about him in front of the girls, he was their Dad (the jerk that he was), and I was not going to deprive my daughters from having a father in their life. I told him the rest was up to him, and he could handle himself whatever way he wanted to but i was going to stay consistent with my beliefs. He said he agreed (although I didn't care if he did or not, I just wanted him to know how I was going to conduct myself.) This discussion lasted all of 30 minutes but I did clear the air and I felt better about myself for saying what I did.

Well we did get the divorce, child support was promised, etc., and he did start seeing my girls on weekends, and not once did I say anything negative about him to my kids. Fast forward ten years, the child support never came, his contact with the girls got more infrequent and he's off doing his thing with his new life sans his daughters. Oh sure there are the birthday phone calls and maybe he'll visit when he feels the urge but this is the path he has chosen. My girls have been hurt but I have still managed to bite my tongue and stress to them he is still their father.

So anyways as I ramble on...relating this to the three trusts, I did trust myself that I could be a good divorced parent without "bashing" my ex. I did trust my ex to be good enough, and I did trust my girls to see the truth without my influence. Mine have seen the truth with their father, and although it's sad, it is a fact of life and I believe they have learned one of life's valuable lessons. So I'm a single mom and I'm definitely not perfect but who is? I'm very comfortable with who I am, I'm strong, I'm opinionated and my girls are my life. Oh, and just so you don't think I'm an angel, I still do say alot of bad things about my ex but never in front of my girls.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ughhh I'm Still a Smoker

One of my previous blogs was about my attempt to quit cigarettes....well so much for that idea. The quit didn't work although I did quit longer than I'd ever quit before so that is a good sign. Why do cigarettes have such a hold on me? I'm probably no different than most smokers...I need my nicotine and I'm sure my smoking is due to both the physical and emotional addiciton that I have. During my quit I think the thing that made it the most difficult was being around others who smoked. Maybe if I could've just locked myself in my room for three months and didn't have to see my mom, my friends or my daughter with a cigarette, I just might have been able to do it. But oh well, I'm back to living life as an "outcast" smoker, and sure I know it's bad for me but I sadly admit I enjoy it. One of these days I might give quitting another try, but for now, I'm back to being a smoker.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Teen Sex in Committed Relationships

I'm a member of a number of parenting groups and often times I get criticized for some of my opinions. Recently a mom wrote about her terror when she found out her 15 yr old daughter was sexually active. So I say is there a magic age when sex is ok? Obviously there are alot of issues both sexually active teens and adults need to be concerned with, STD's and pregnancy being the most serious. But these are issues we all need to think about regardless of age.

In my discussions, i find it interesting that parents accept their child will probably masturbate, but they are shocked at the thought of providing sex aids to teens. Many parents think that 14 is too young to have sex but at 16 it gets more acceptable, and at 18 even more acceptable, oh but "not in my house." What's with these magic ages?? Many parents still would like to see their children to remain virgins until marriage however most accept the fact that it won't happen, but these parents also provide tight supervision to reduce the opportunities their teens have to be sexually active.

So here's what I think....I think sexuality is a part of any serious relationship, just a part, not the most important part. A relationship should be built on common interests, trust, honesty, chemistry, and a deep caring for the other person...and good sex. Sex does not make a relationship work but the physical committment can make a relationship a truly wonderful one, regardless of age.

It's obvious that as we all get older we are not the same person at 30 or 40 that we were at 15. We all evolve and in many cases the person we love at 15 is not the one we love at 40. But being in love and sharing ourselves with our partner in our teen years is part of one's life experience and influences who we become as we are older.

My 15 year old daughter is in a very committed loving relationship. I highly doubt that this is the same love she will feel at 25 or 30 but for her it is love as she knows it now. Her boyfriend and her are happy to sit and just talk for hours, or study together or being together with their friends. Their lives are not centered around sex but it has become a part of their relationship. To see them walking down the street, talking and holding hands, it's obvious that they have bond which works for them at their ages. I don't try to supervise them, on the other hand there are times when I give them their private time together. They are respectful when they are here and keep their sexuality to the privacy of the bedroom, just as I've always done with my past partners.

Will this relationship last forever? I doubt it will, but then again you never know. But for now they are very happy together, there is no concern with STD's, and she is on birth control which the gyn states is 99.9 % effective. They are safe they are happy and they are learning about how wonderful relationships can be, which I think will guide them well as they get older.

Monday, January 7, 2008

13th Day Without a Cigarette

Anybody that knows me would tell you that I am the least likely person in the world to ever quit cigarettes. I have not gone one day without a cigarette since my 11th birthday and my cigarettes have always been my best friend. I started stealing my mother's camels at 9 and by the time I was 11 I was addicted and had become a regular smoker. I smoked through the flu, I smoked through countless URI's, and I smoked through my two pregnancies. I'm not proud of any of this, I'm only mentioning it so that people realize how severely addicted I had become. Many of my friends have quit smoking over the years and I never once thought that I had the willpower to join them. I always needed my nicotine, and when I spent a yr in a non smoking college dormitory I had a tin of Skoal that I would dip when i was inside. Yep so thats how bad I was. On Christmas eve my daughter announced that she was quitting smoking the next day and wanted me to join her in this journey to become a non smoker. I laughed it off and said for her to quit and maybe i'd quit in a month or so. But then I began to think that I'm 38 yrs old now and have been smoking 28 yrs, and really I knew I should at least give it a try. So I told my daughter yes i would quit with her. We sat up and smoked Christmas eve and on the way to bed we both threw out our left over cigarettes. Now I did not go into this with high expectations for myself but I did want to do it so that my daughter would quit. Probably my biggest regret as a smoker is that both my girls picked up the nasty habit too. So we began Christmas day with our coffee and no cigarettes, talk about traumatic but we both decided we were not going to give in. Later in the afternoon I did run to the CVS to pick up some Commit Losenges for us which believe it or not really helped take alot of the cravings away. To make a long story short...or shorter lol, 3 days into our quit and hundreds of losenges later, my daughter gave in and started smoking again. But by then I figured that I'd gone longer than I ever have without a cigarette and I had become determined I was going to quit for good. My daughter accepted the fact that she'd smoke outside and not in front of me...she did not want to tempt me anymore than I was already. So now it's been 13 days and no it hasn't been easy at all but I have not had even one puff of a cigarette since Christmas eve. Oh yes my dreams are filled with thoughts of nicotine and yes I'm bitchy and yes there are moments I'd give anything for just one puff....but nope I'm not going to give in. I've gone too long now to go back to my old life as a smoker. I'm still on the losenges and I did give in and buy a tin of Skoal but I haven't opened it yet and I don't think I will. I truly want to become a non smoker now that i've gone this long.....Maybe I will just have to suck on my losenges forever but hopefully soon my dreams of having a cigarette will disappear and the cravings will go away. I don't consider myself a non smoker quite yet but I want to beat this addiction and to me it is now a challenge as to whether I can beat cigarettes or will I let cigarettes beat me. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I really want to become a non smoker and I'm closer to that day than I have ever been.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Well I'm Getting a Son in Law

Well my oldest daughter Alli who is 17, got engaged over Christmas and the wedding will be in June although the actual date has not been determined yet. We are all really excited and now our time is spent on looking at bridal magazines, deciding the guest list and all the fun little details that go along with getting married. I'm excited for her and Matt, although they are still young they have been together forever or at least it seems that way lol. Married life won't be easy for them since he'll still be in college and she'll be a senior in high school next year but if any young couple can make it, I think they can. And no she isn't pregnant thank god. She has officially moved into Matt's house now but he's only 10 minutes away so I still see her almost every day. And I'm not an empty nester, having Jenny still here with me helps alot. So alot of exciting times going on here and lots of planning that needs to be done. We are all going to a bridal show next weekend which I think will give us all alot of ideas, and hopefully that will give her a better idea of what type of dress she wants. It's been funny the comments we have gotten from friends and relatives about the engagement. Some are so shocked that they are getting married so young, and others are absolutely thrilled for them. As for me I'm excited and there are no guarantees that any marriage will last regardless of the couples ages, but they are happy and that's all that matters. I'm not sure anybody ever reads my blogs but for me it seems to be theraputic lol. Happy new year everyone, Hugs, Barb

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some Rules that Just Don't Make Sense

One of the most insightful blogs on parenting is authored by Dr. Karen Rayne, maybe I think it's insightful because I almost always agree with her lol. Anyway check out her blog it's a great resource for any parent. Adolescent Sexuality by Dr. Karen Rayne

But...back to matters at hand, her blog today was talking about parent's that set certain ages for their kids to start dating. And....I decided to take her question a little further and talk about certain rules and laws that make no sense, so here's a few:

1. You have to be 18 to buy cigarettes but you can buy lighters at any age.
2. Pot is illegal but rolling papers aren't.
3. You can't talk on a cell phone when you're driving but you can eat a BIg Mac.
4. Cigarettes and alcohal are legal but pot isn't.
5. Schools have pop machines for kids but they don't let kids drink coffee at school.
6. I can't smoke at work but the guy in the next cubicle can fart all he wants. (And his 2d hand fart smell is alot worse than my 2d hand cig smoke)
7. It's illegal to gamble unless you're the church or the state run lottery.
8. You can join the military and risk your life for your country at 18 but you can't drink until you're 21.

Just some thoughts from a libertarian Mom ....after I have more coffee maybe I'll think up some additional rules that don't make sense.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ecouraging Teen Sex vs. Accepting It

I am a teacher at our local joint vocational school and teach evening school for adults preparing them for the GED test, and consequently I usually have my mornings free. Twice a week I meet a group of female friends for coffee at our local Paneras ( God I love the cinnamon crunch bagels.) My friends pretty much know my views on raising children and it can often times lead to interesting discussions.

Several weeks ago we were talking about teenage sex and the question came up as to how do we as parents balance encouraging our kids to have sex or just accepting it. I don’t think any parent would encourage their teen to engage in sexual activity, but does providing birth control, or providing your teen and their partner privacy encourage sexual activity?

As a group it was agreed that providing birth control to young girls that are having or close to having sex is an intelligent parenting decision. Although two of my friends did worry that providing contraception could be seen as condoning or encouraging sexual activity, it was agreed that it was better than the alternative of unprotected sex. Where the discussion got interesting was when we began to discuss whether or not we allow our children and their partners the privacy to engage in sexual activity.

Of the 5 women there, 3 firmly stated that even if they did know their children were having sex, they would tighten the leash and supervise them as closely as possible to severely limit the opportunities for sex. They were pretty much of the opinion that even though kids have sex, it is the parent’s responsibility to limit the opportunities as much as humanly possible. They felt that anything less than that would be seen as encouraging young premarital sex. It was interesting because these 3 women all felt that they would provide birth control if needed to children as young as 13 but all felt that they would attempt to limit any opportunity for sex even for their older teens until they were out of the house and had no control over them.

The other two women, myself being one of them, felt that emotional maturity was an overriding factor and we did feel that anyone under 13 (an arbitrary age we chose) did not have the maturity to engage in a physical relationship. And we also said that there are 15 and 16 yr olds that don’t have the necessary maturity. Our minority opinion was primarily based on maturity level and the seriousness of the relationship the child was in. As we took the minority view, my friend and I both felt that teenagers involved in a serious relationship should be allowed to have some privacy with their partner, where they could feel free to have intimate time together. The other 3 women felt that this would be encouraging our children to have sex, however we believed that we were not encouraging it but only accepting it and hoping our children would learn to have sexually healthy attitudes as they grew into adulthood. With my 2 daughters, 17 and 15 who are both in committed relationships, I allow them privacy and do allow occasional sleepovers with their partners, and yes same room and same bed. Is this encouraging my daughters to have sex? I don’t think so, they have already made that decision on their own. I feel it is accepting the fact that they are in physical relationships and dealing with it in a practical safe and healthy manner.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ewwwww Please Don't Call Me "Permissive"

I just hate when people call me a "permissive" parent. To me that word connotates that all things go and that I am an uncaring parent who lets my kids do what they want when they want. It's true, I don't like rules and never have. To me most rules are barriers that inhibit curiosity, exploration, education, and independent thinking. I believe that establishing guidelines for children, having open and strong communication, and setting high expectations is much more effective than establishing arbitray rules. It's important that children know and understand the core values of the family, and these core values become the basis for the guidelines that are set. The core values in my family are:

1. Safety in all aspects of life is important; this can be anything from staying away from drugs, no drinking and driving, practicing safe sex, or not running into the street blindfolded.

2. Respect for yourself and others; Treat everyone with respect, you don't have to like a person but you must always respect them as individuals. Treat yourself with respect, this means both your body and mind.

3. Honesty with everyone including yourself; Dishonesty and lying only causes bigger problems, be true to yourself, your friends and family. The hurt caused by lying is much deeper than the hurt that comes from the action being lied about.

4. Work hard in everything you do; whether it be at school, work, an outside activity or a group event. I have long told my girls that I am prouder of them when they work their hardest and get a C in a class than a class they get an A in where they don't have to work hard. Success in llife will come faster for the overachievers faster than the brainiacs.

I have always believed that if I live my life according to these core values and stress these values to my children, the major decisions in their life will be the correct ones. Or at least I hope so. And no, i'm not perfect and I am not always batting 100% in following my core values but they are the foundation with which I try to live my life and hopefully these are passed on to my daughters. Sure my daughters are not perfect either but at least they have a foundation which they try to follow most of the time.

So no, I definitely don't consider myself a "permissive" parent, but I am understanding, practical and loving. I am involved with both my girls school work, all of their activities, their friends and our lines of communication are open and strong. Call me what you want, call me liberal, call me open minded but please don't call me "permissive." End of my rant

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thoughts From a Sex Positive Mom

My Oldest Daughter Allison 17 Yrs old

I'm a 38 year old divorced Mom who strongly believes in Sex Positive Parenting. Now before everyone makes alot of assumptions, being sex positive does not mean I encourage my children to have sex nor does it mean I am a proponent of one night stands or casual sex. However below are my thoughts on rasing children to have a positive outlook on sex.

My Family: I have two daughters 17 and 15, who are wonderful loving and intelligent young women who I am very proud of. How I have raised sexually positive children.

Sex Positive Parenting: This means that I do not want my children to grow up thinking that sex is bad or that there is a stigma about sexual activitiy. Since my children were little, I always used the appropriate names when discussing sex and body parts. I have always wanted my children to be able to learn and explore their sexuality at their own speed and not at any predetermined ages.

When my oldest daughter was 10 she came across my vibarator in my dresser drawer. When asking me what it was I explained to her that it was a toy that I used to make me feel good at times. This led to a basic age appropriate discussion of masturbation which at the time she felt sounded "yucky" however I explained to her that as she grew older she would understand more and that she could ask me more questions whenever she wanted to. And believe me she did.

From the time both my girls were 9 or 10 we have had talks about the birds and the bees, how women get pregnant and diseases. These talks just evolved based on their level of interest and attention span and what I thought they could handle at the various ages. Never have I told them that sex was bad or wrong but I've always stressed sex is a wonderful experience if your partner is someone you care about and if you are practicing safe sex.

Although Allison had all the normal crushes when she was young and it was the "boyfriend of the week" in the early years, when she turned 13 she asked me if she could go to a movie with a boy. Her first real date! She came home from the date and it was obvious she had her first real crush. This was the beginning of Alli's journey into womanhood. This one date led to another date the next weekend just going to Applebee's, with his mom and sister sitting at the next table. And then there were the phone calls and the Instant Messages between the two and he'd come over here and they'd just hang out and watch TV. Although in the beginning their romance just involved holding hands and some kissing, it was obvious that they liked each other and did get along well. He was a very nice smart and polite boy, although still appeared to be a shy 13 yr old. He would come over on weekends and stay for dinner and then theyd stay here and listen to music and watch tv. It was interesting seeing this young relationship develop and although I did not ecourage the relationship, I'd talk to Alli about how important it was to still maintain her girlfriends and other activities. I wanted her to learn balance in her life. During the early stages of their dating there was always supervision when he was at our house or Alli at his house. Although I'm sexually positivie I didn't want to give them opportunities to take their relationship to the next level especially with them both being only 13.

As they continued dating and spending more time together, Alli and I had long talks about safe sex and how I didn't want her to rush into anything just because she may have those teenage urges. She alwas assured me that they were fine. I did have her on birth control at the time due to her irregular periods so that did make me a little more comfortable, but I also knew that they had very little unsupervised time together. About two weeks before her 14th birthday, Alli and I were sitting at the breakfast table and after some hesitation she blurts out that her and her bf almost had sex the night before. They had walked to the nearby park and apparently their kissing and hand holding had escalated to the point that they were involved in a full blown makeout session. According to Alli, the only thing that stopped them from going all the way was his inability to maintain an erection. As I sat their listening to her, trying to say to myself, "don't overreact" all sorts of sad thoughts were going through my progressive mind. It's alot easier to be sex positive in theory than it is when it actually happens. As I gupled my coffee and lit another cigarette, i asked her if she really cared about Matt. Well obvously they had been dating almost 6 months by this time so she said she loved him ( probably as much as any almost 14 yr old could love someone). So we talked and we talked again about safe sex, about pregnancy, diseases and emotional readiness. Emotionally I didn't think she was ready for this step in their relationship and i let her know my thoughts. I also did tell her that when she did have sex for the first time, it should be special and with someone special and I didn't want her to look back later and regret it. She said she'd think about everything we talked about and I told her that I would make sure there were condoms in the bathroom drawer if they ever did decide to do it. Looking back on our talk it was one of those moments where you start realizing that your baby is becoming a young woman. After some tears and hugs our talk ended with Alli saying Mom I love you thanks for being here for me. Later that day I bought some condoms and did put them in the bathroom drawer without saying a word. Over the next few weeks I'd periodically check to see if the condom supply had diminished and it hadn't. Then one Sunday morning I got up and there she was sitting at the kitchen table with her coffee and she said mom guess what? She went on to tell me that yes they had intercourse the night before. And they did use a condom and she said it was "awesome" her words. Now remembering back when i was that age I dont think my first time was "awesome" however at least to Alli it was. So we talked about it, or at least she talked about it and I listened. She had just turned 14 by this time and they had now dated over six months. We hugged and I told her that although i wasnt going to make it too easy for them to have sex, I would try to give them some private times together in the future. We did talk about how important it was for Matt's mom to know they were sexually active and I suggested both her and Matt have a talk with Matt's mom. (Matt's mom and I had had several conversations about this in the past but I wanted them to be grown up enough that they would go and tell her). So my first born was sexually active, and at 14 she was a little younger than I had hoped she'd be but I'm not sure any age is the right age when it's our daughters were talking about. From that day on, there were times when I'd leave them alone at home unsupervised so that they could have some private times together. By the time she was 15, I allowed Matt to sleep over on weekends or Alli would sleep over at Matt's house on occasion. And now Alli is 17 and her and Matt are still together and in love now more than they've ever been. They both graduate high school next year and plan on going to the same college. And they are both wonderful caring kids that have a healthy sexual attitude and I'm proud of them both. My next Blog maybe I'll write about my youngest daughter Jenny.