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#1 of 15 Old 08-27-2002, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm probably overreacting, but my first child, ds age 13, seems to all of a sudden have become a sexual being! I gave him the book "It's Perfectly Normal" two years ago when I noticed that his body was just beginning to mature, and invited him to peruse it as he felt he wanted to and please come to us with any questions. Never asked anything. We've been lazy about having a real talk with him about sex, partially because of our own repressed households we came out of I suppose, even though we always swore we'd be so open, etc., and partially because of amuch younger sister running around we haven't been as casually open about it as we'd intended. Anyhow, when I read the posts about oral sex, I convinced my dh that it was past time, and we had a talk with him last week. He didn't say much, had no real questions, and again we encouraged him to come to us anytime.

I hope no one will get judgemental about this, but I'm pretty regular about snooping in his room when he's not around, just to make sure nothing unhealthy is going on. I just found a "story" he'd written about a very explicit and graphic sexual encounter with some fictional young woman that includes a whole lot of language I didn't think he knew yet, and more positions than I've ever tried! I know that it is fictional, and probably a normal "trying on" of the language, etc, but it just freaked me out that my 13 year old knows this stuff! Where did he get it? We don't have that in our house and he's homeschooled and I haven't seen any material in his room despite my snooping. Maybe at someone else's house, I guess, although he has a very small circle of friends that he visits. The poignant thing is it was right next to a saved letter from the tooth fairy in his bureau drawer.

Does this seem on target to those of you that have been through this age with at least one child? It doesn't seem like I was interested in sex per se in such an explicit manner til I was older, but it was a long time ago.

It just seems so young to me, but I guess I'm being naive....makes me realize I don't have many years of "innocence" left with dd who's six.

Thanks for listening,
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#2 of 15 Old 08-27-2002, 04:26 AM
 
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I think it is a great way for our young folks to explore, with writing. It is a safe & creative outlet to explore in. I think it is a healthy way for your child to explore without involving a partner. To not teach your child about sex is sexual abuse. Hang in there! It gets easier as the lines of communication open up!
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#3 of 15 Old 08-27-2002, 05:51 AM
 
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Hi! You're post brought back memories of my own early teens... my circle of closest friends all went through a stage (lasted a year or so intensly and continued all through highschool at a slower rate) of writing what I can only describe now as "soft (and sometimes not-soft-at-all) porn" or erotica (short stories) starring us and members of a popular '80s pop band that we were all fans of.

I can't for the life of me remember "where we got the stuff" but I do know for sure that we weren't getting it from "real life experience" at that point.

Looking back, it was a safe way for me to explore my awakening sexual desires without having to do any of it. Writing sex acts allowed me to experiment safely and even get a better feeling for what I might like/not like to do later (despite many opportunities, I waited until I was 18 to have sex--not because I thought there was anything wrong with earlier but because I had a safe outlet, in part, and in part because my mother had managed to make me feel like I could say "yes" if and when I wanted to--which paradoxically gave me the power to say "no" when I didn't).

My mother worked hard to keep the lines of communication open. Never lied about the realities of the physical and would take opportunities to also share her opinions on the emotional side of it all... but did so as her opinions, not as "the truth" (if you see what I mean?).

I knew I could ask her for birth control if I wanted AND where to find the address and phone number of both her Gyn (who she said would treat me and keep everything confidential) and/OR planned parenthood (without having to go to a phone book). I also knew that she would be willing to buy condoms for me or my friends if we wanted them but were to embarassed to buy them ourselves.

But I would have gnawed off my own arms before going to her with any of that stuff. It was enough to know that I could. (Had I needed to, I think I might have... since I do remember at least once making a joke that probably shocked and scared her (she only expressed surprise!)--if anyone wants details on the joke, ask via PM but it was pretty graphic!)

I'm starting to ramble, so I'll cut this short. My two main points were:
1-I wrote porn as a teen with NO real life experience and it was, for me, a safe and healthy way of exploring--one that let me keep the real life experience until I was ready.
2-It was MORE important to me to know I could talk to my mom about sex than it was for me to actually talk to her.

Good luck... I haven't been there yet as a parent (expecting my 1st) but I think I can imagine just how tough it might be...

Edited to add: I can't ever remember asking my mom questions... she offered information and I never had any questions. Rather die than ask questions at that point (!)--but she kept offering diverse information in smallish chunks (less than 15mins total per "talk"--often less than 5mins.) so that even the questions I didn't want to ask would get answered in short time. But I did remember, understand and appreciate the information she gave me. (But I would have preferred to die before telling her I did appreciate it!)
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#4 of 15 Old 08-27-2002, 11:29 AM
 
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Sorry, RainbowMom, but I have to be judgmental about snooping in your son's room, especially because you do it regularly rather than reserving it for a time when you have a really serious concern. That is totally not AP. It is not showing respect for your child as an individual with rights and dignity. It demonstrates that you don't trust him or your bond with him. I know how difficult it is when someone who used to tell you everything starts shutting you out, but snooping is NOT an appropriate response unless you have reason to believe he is involved with something that will cause immediate serious harm. I think you should stop it right now. Other people's sexual fantasies are none of your business unless they choose to tell you.

It certainly is normal for 13-year-olds to have explicit fantasies, to try out a variety of words for the activities they are thinking about, and to pick up information on sex from whatever sources they have. (Does your son ever roam around a library, bookstore, or newsstand on his own? That's where I read a lot about sex at his age.) It's also normal for teens to be uncomfortable discussing sex with their parents, especially if dialogue on the subject wasn't a regular part of their childhood. Even in the best parent-teen relationships, it's hard for the parents to see their "baby" as a sexual being, and it's hard for the teen to think about his parents getting sexual thrills out of conceiving him, and it just makes the whole thing at least slightly weird.

Maybe your son would be interested in attending a sex ed course or teen discussion group offered by a religious organization, community center, or Boy Scouts. That could be an opportunity to reinforce the facts, satisfy his curiosity in a healthy way, and talk with peers about developing a sexual identity.

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#5 of 15 Old 08-28-2002, 06:11 AM
 
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omgosh that is sos o kewl, - I love the answers yall- thanks, Ive got a 16 ds and a 14 dd, (amoung others but theyre my teens)and they both went thru the writing thing- I didnt actually get to read their stuff- I was lead to snoop by a divine occurance once (well thats my story!)and ended up reading a letter about a young lady who had been trying to kill herself and we were able to get some help for her because I read about it- I do however believe in NOT snooping too but Ive been led to my children's rooms when I thought something was up- Ive never read any of the sexual stuff- My daughter (now 14) is quite the suthor and is writing stuff l;ike that, she hasnt let me read any of it yet- I have to jump hoops to get her to let me read the papers for school<roll eyes> but I guess its none of my business as long as she is leading a healthy life- I too believe its a creative healthy thing to do and congradulate you on having such a seemingly well adjusted young man thankyou all for your opinions and this post- very validating fo rme-
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#6 of 15 Old 08-28-2002, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for you replies, they have been validating and knowing that this is "normal" is helping me accept this leap in my son's development. Hopefully, it will be less of a shock and easier with the next one. I also had a chance to discuss it with dh who was away at the time and after thinking about it a bit seemed to think it was also a normal thing for the age. You're right that writing is a probably a very creative and safe way to be express these sexual urges and desires and just plain thoughts! and ds has always been a writer, so it makes sense! I have been inspired through this whole thing to be more open to talking about sex more openly and in a more casual, relaxed way so that might be easier for my dd. As I mentioned, dh and I had planned to be very open about this but it's turned out it's not as natural for us to do that as we'd thought, I guess because we didn't grow up that way. It's always the first child that eases the way in some things for the next one, isn't it?

Becca, I'm sorry you felt the need to express your opinion of my snooping even though I specifically asked people to refrain. I initially felt a strong need to defend myself as though I had been attacked and even had a thought not to repost and not visit the boards again. I am not going to defend myself or go into detail about the degree of or my reasons for snooping; suffice it say that I myself am comfortable with it for now. Perhaps another time I'll start a new thread along this line, revealing the main reason behind my snooping, but this is not the place.

Thanks again, everyone!
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#7 of 15 Old 08-29-2002, 07:31 AM
 
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I remember when I was 13 (3 years ago, but I still consider it way back when...) I was a lil one the curious side. I never talked to my mom(she was always working), and I never talked to my dad(50 miles away), So I always ended up consulting my friends. They had no clue what they were talking about. They just heard stuff from their older siblings, or their friends. It is nothing to worry about. Your son is a good kid(from what I've heard), and nothing to be concrned about. I know a bunch of people who are out doing drugs and drinking at 11. Wow, I am kinda scared to have kids at this point. If my generation is this bad, what will the next one be like? Anyway, This is only my second post, so please dun criticize me too bad. I am just trying to see it from the Mtv Generation POV. Have fun, and good luck.
~Keren
PS. Wow, snooping huh? ouch.
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#8 of 15 Old 09-02-2002, 09:45 PM
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I have three sons (14, 19, and 22), practiced attachement parenting before it had a name, homeschool, and am a single parent. I think it is OK to snoop and my kids know that it is a possibly. We live in a two bedroom apartment so there is little room for privacy. I actually think there are advantages to kids not having their own room and making privacy not a big issue.

I don't snoop all the time and would never look at certain things (letters from my 19 year old's girlfriend). My oldest son's girlfriend was staying with me this summer while he was away working at a camp. I was concerned about her behavior and snooped. I found out she was planning to commit suicide. I first talked to my 19 year old about what I did and being ashamed of snooping. He said that he snooped too and was equally concerned. We were able to talk with my oldest son and she is not getting psychiatric help. She did try to OD the last day she was living with us and we were able to figure it out.

I also realize that my kids might snoop on me and I don't care. There is nothing they can see or find out that would be shocking. It is good to live your life in a way that you don't have to hide things - like the feeling of seeing a police car, looking down and seeing that you are below the speed limit.
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#9 of 15 Old 09-04-2002, 05:43 PM
 
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13-14 years old - junior high age - that is the beginning of all this. Seems like writing about it would be a safe way for him to explore. I can appreciate that it may have been very strange to read something sexual written by your son though.
Our kids are only 6 and 2 (I'm just wandering around on the boards today) so I have a little while but my plan is to sign those school permission forms for health sex ed day, buy some good books for them, have talks (in the car is a GREAT place to talk about stuff like this as you have your eyes on the road so can talk without the intensity of eye contact), tell them they can come to me or their dad (yeah, right) but if they don't want to then please feel free to go to Auntie or trusted family friend. And Planned Parenthood is in the phone book. And I like the idea of buying a big box (not 12!) and leaving them under the bathroom sink. If you need one, take one. I will not know as there are so many. And if it gets to a point where it would be noticeable then they are old enough/mature enough to go buy their own at that point. I am all for safe sex before marriage - I actually would be worried if they didn't. That was a fun, exciting time in my life and I wouldn't want them to miss it. My friend with a 14 year old dd says I will change my tune when they are that age! Teen pregnancy and STDs are worries but that is what education is for.
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#10 of 15 Old 09-05-2002, 02:03 PM
 
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Rainbowmom,

I have 1 preteen...she is 12. It is common knowledge that I snoop. My kids are well aware of that fact. Although I don't do it unless I have a reason too. They do know that it could be done at anytime. My daughter tried to argue about it one time and My reply was.."if your doing something that you have to hide from me then you shouldn't be doing it". I guess some folks might think thats pretty harsh.

Anyway..I just wanted to re assure you that you are not the only parent

And I think what your son is going through is very normal...

Good Luck
~Kathy
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#11 of 15 Old 09-05-2002, 04:07 PM
 
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Kathy, do you think your 12yo snoops on you? Would you be upset if you found out that she was?

It seems to me that there are plenty of things that people don't "have to hide" but would prefer to keep to themselves. There is nothing automatically suspect about that, regardless of a person's age.

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#12 of 15 Old 09-05-2002, 09:04 PM
 
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My children do not snoop on us. Yes I would probably be upset if they did. Lets remember who is the adult and who is the child. Maybe you feel this is a double standard- but they are children and privacy while they are still living under my roof is Not a right, it is a privelge. I'm sure you don't agree with me and thats okay. we are all entitled to our opinion. ( you will have to forgive my spelling, I'm tired tonight )

I would not Snoop into my childrens diarys-- but as far as their friends, music, extra currilular activities are concerned...their business is My business.
They know this and respect this.

Once I had a child in our home that was from a broken family and felt the need to run away. She stayed with us for a few days (w/permission from her parents). After observing my husband and I with our children her comment to us was..."My mother doest care what I do..I can go anywhere I want..she doesn't care- Once I left a pack of cigerettes out on the bed and she didn't even notice. ..." This child felt totally unloved. and it was obvious in her statements several times through out her stay. Kids need parents to take an active role in their lives..Kids need their parents to know what goes on with them.

okay..I could go on and on..but I'll give you a chance to respond..maybe I got of the subject a little there.

But i do feel its important to know whats going on in our childrens lives..even if they don't think we need or want us to know.

~kathy
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#13 of 15 Old 09-06-2002, 02:13 PM
 
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What I think is that privacy is a privelege but one that is granted by default, not earned. Once a child is old enough to want privacy, she should have a little--not a whole room that nobody else ever enters, but some space (such as underwear drawer or jewelry box) that nobody else will look in without permission, plus an agreement that people knock on closed doors. That privacy should not be violated routinely, only if there is a serious concern for her safety AND all other attempts to get information have failed, e.g. she's acting suicidal but insists nothing is wrong.

Kathy, I'm glad to hear you don't read your kids' diaries. What if you found the sexual fantasy RainbowMom found--would you read that, or would you drop it the moment you realized what it was? How about a letter from a penpal, if your child had put it away in a drawer? (If she left it lying on the kitchen table, it would be fair game, IMO.) I'm just wondering what you think is reasonable.

Knowing who her friends are, listening to her music with her, and knowing where she is when not at home are not snooping, IMO. Listening in on her phone conversations, reading stuff she has put away in a private place, peeking over the windowsill when she's in her room with a friend with the door closed, calling her friends and interrogating them, or opening her mail is snooping. The difference is between being alert and caring about what is going on in her life and insisting that she communicate some of it to you, vs. invading her privacy because you don't trust what she tells you. I can't tell whether you (Kathy) are actually doing the latter kind of thing, or you think it's "snooping" to glance in your child's open doorway to see if there's a pack of cigarettes lying out in plain view.

My dad once showed me an essay he'd written in ~2nd grade titled "My Good Drooer". It was about how much he loved having one drawer, in the dresser shared w/his brother, that was his alone, where he could keep anything he wanted and not have anyone mess w/it. At that age, it was more about keeping little brother from ruining stuff and neatnik mom from throwing it away ("But that was my very favorite rock! How could you!") than about having nobody know he owned it...but one item he mentioned was "my list of secret dreams". IMO, it doesn't matter if your child's secret dreams are totally acceptable to you; if he wants to keep them secret, you should respect that. Even if he has needle tracks on his arms but insists they're just zits and therefore you are searching his room for drugs, if you come across "my list of secret dreams" I think you should put it down without reading any further.

I've known many families in which parents routinely snooped on teenagers without justification or apology, and in EVERY case, the teens went out of their way to have SOMEthing going on that their parents didn't know about. They sometimes did things they otherwise wouldn't have done, just for the "victory" of getting away with something their parents wouldn't approve, and their parents never found out about ~75% of those things. The teens also became very resistant to talking with their parents about anything even remotely important to them. The snooping didn't result in any net gain of insight into the teen's life and permanently damaged the relationship. Not worth it, IMO. But you are entitled to a different opinion.

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#14 of 15 Old 09-07-2002, 10:55 AM
 
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I am invisioning a mother peeking over the window sill of her childs room "snooping" and cant help but chuckle out loud at that vision. I know its not funny and maybe there are folks out there that do that but I do not do that.

I will give you an example of what I considered snooping.

My dd was on the PC on Yahoo Messanger. When I walked by the PC she quickly covered up the screen with her hand.
- I feel very strongly about this- if she is doing something she doesn't want me to see then she probably shouldn't be doing it.
Later ..when she was gone ..I went into the message archive to see what and who she was talking to. We have repeatly told her not to give out detailed information about herself and I felt maybe she was doing something along these lines.

She was in fact..chatting with a 41 year old man. He was asking her questions like "what is your bra size" .." have you ever had sex yet" ..
A warning flag went up. She was totally uncomfortable with his questioning yet she went ahead and continued to talk to him anyway. She is 12 years old and has the judgement of a 12 year old. SO ..yes I did step in and not only did I delete him from Yahoo messenger but then after discussing it with my husband deleted the entire program till we felt she had a better judgement on who to be talking to and about what.

After reading your posts I really got to thinking about how much I do snoop. I really don't do it all that much. I don't have a cause for it. I have in fact NEVER looked through my childrens draws to search for something.
If I were to find a letter from a penpal I might ask to read it. My 12 year old writes to her cousin in mn and I do once in awhile ASK to read it to hear whats new.

But I do think its okay for parents to look through their kids things..especially if they are concerned about anything. markings on a childs forearm and changed behavior in my book would qualitfy as a concern and I would be ripping their room apart looking for drugs..even if they say its "pimples".
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#15 of 15 Old 09-08-2002, 11:45 PM
 
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Don't know if it is "normal" or not, but at age 13, I wrote a lot of explicit erotica. I was into creative writing. I had certain characters that I had created around age 12, and when my hormones started going into overdrive at age 13, the characters started getting it on. Now, I did start exploring some sexual behaviors at age 14, so I don't know if that is reassuring to you. I didn't have intercourse until almost 17, though. I think kids are entitled to their own sex lives. They need education and privacy, but ultimately, we all make our own decisions about how to negotiate this area. I may be in the minority, but I think if it is enjoyable, disease-free, and nonexploitive, we should have as much sex as possible, that goes for kids, too.
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