At an online source of parenting advice, a mother asked a female marriage and family therapist how to handle her eighth-grade daughter's announcement that she and her ninth-grade boyfriend have decided to "prove their love" by having sex. The mother says, "I don't think she's ready to have sex with this boy."
Did you get that? Mom is not really sure whether her 14-year-old daughter is ready for sex. That's at least 50 percent of the problem. And believe me, this mom isn't alone in her confusion. Many of today's parents, faced with the same problem, aren't sure they have a right to be unequivocal with their kids, as in, "Over my dead body."
First, if the boy truly loved this girl, he wouldn't be pressuring her into having sex in the first place. And if he is pressuring her to have sex, he is not going to "respect" her refusal. That's not how it works when boys are 15.
This child is in dire straits. I suspect she has come to her mother hoping Mom would put her foot down and say: Absolutely not, period; followed by, "And furthermore, because I am ultimately responsible for your welfare, I am not going to allow you to put yourself in danger with that boy again. Your relationship with him is hereby over." Then, and only then, mom should explain to her daughter the reasons behind that decision. By the way, said the online therapist thinks that approach is "harsh." I think it's is responsible, unequivocal, authoritative, and everything parents should be, especially where a child's health and overall welfare are concerned.
A wishy-washy approach suggested by the therapist is exactly what this child does not need. She is asking for her mother to stand up for her principles, to take away from her the responsibility of dealing with this boy's desire. Mom needs to be unequivocal concerning her values (said therapist never talks about values, by the way, which is very politically correct of her) and equally unequivocal concerning her position on the issue. I will now model being unequivocal: Parents! It is all right to tell a child no, even a child of 14.
By the way, the age of sexual consent in every U.S. state is between 16 and 18. Mom should point that out and assure the girl that she is not shy about pressing charges against the boy. When the girl tells him that - and she will - he will vanish.
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