Where it happened: college
As strange as it may sound, this website has helped me to be a more understanding parent. After cutting through some of crap that has been written, and being angered at the incest, brother-sister and student-teacher stories, I found I have a better understanding that kids are experimenting much earlier these days, and yet with love and guidance, parents have to be able to cope with it.
This story is not about my first time, which was at college during the height of the sexual revolution. I couldn’t even keep track of my partners, it was such a wild time. Because of this, it was very difficult to preach a hard line against sex to my kids, knowing what I was like when I was younger. The same applies to my wife, who I finally settled down with after college. The reason I’m writing is to share my thoughts and experience after learning that my 14 year old son has become sexually active.
My wife and I were married for 10 years when Eric was born. He was the pride of our life and of course could do no wrong in our eyes. Actually, he has always been a good kid, smart, popular and good looking, in short, every parent’s dream. We taught him about sex when he was old enough to understand, and drilled into him the importance of responsibilty. We never told him not to do it, but neither did we encourage him to do it. Probably like most parents we figured he was still way too young. At 14, he still looks more like a boy than a man. He has a very nice girlfriend, whom we both really like.
About four months ago, on a Saturday morning while Eric was out playing basketball, I was emptying all the trash cans in the house. When I emptied the one in Eric’s room, a rolled up paper towel fell out, hit the floor and broke open. Inside were a couple of used condoms and their wrappers. I knew that Eric and his girlfriend had been together the day before. How did I feel? A little shocked, but not at all angry. I wanted to talk to Eric about it, but I didn’t want to confront him. He came in from playing basketball, hair all wet and wearing his sweat soaked t-shirt. He looked like the little boy I had always known and I just couldn’t imagine him having sex. After he showered and changed, I asked him if he wanted to go have lunch and run some errands with me. His favorite place was Burger King so that’s where we went for lunch. Well somehow I got the subject of our discussion during lunch around to sex and Eric stammered a bit and said he had something he wanted to tell me. His voice was just starting to change, which further emphasized his youth. He admitted that he and his girlfriend had been having sex for the past two weeks, about 5 times so far. I quickly reassured him that I wasn’t angry and I was very happy that he had told me about this. We ended up having a good heart to heart talk and I think I loved my son more then than I ever had. Later that day we told his mother, and she too was very understanding.
Well, where did we go from here. From our experience we knew that once kids got started having sex they weren’t going to stop. However, we also knew that Eric’s girlfriend’s parents needed to know. We invited Elizabeth over and had a good talk with her and Eric. She was comfortable with us but was afraid to tell her parents. We told her that we would help if she wanted us to. Knowing that her parents might try to break up the kids when they found out, we let Eric and Elizabeth sleep together that night. It could have been their last time together for a while. The noises coming from Eric’s room that night made my wife and I feel old! Our boy wasn’t a little boy anymore.
As open minded as we were, it was still hard to look at the pair of cute, sleepy eyed adolescents across from us at the breakfast table the next morning, knowing what they had been doing since we last saw them. We all decided to invite Elizabeth’s parents over to pick her up, and we would all talk with them.
Well surprise! It went much better than any of us could have imagined. I think it had a lot to do with Eric’s attitude and maturity. I was proud of my son the way he admitted what he had done, said how much he cared about Elizabeth, and asked permission to keep on seeing her. Her parents had the same realization that now that the horse was out of the barn, it wasn’t going to return. They agreed to get birth control pills for Elizabeth and swore Eric to make sure that he always treated her well. The kids left and we continued to talk. Her parents also lost their virginity at an early age, her mother at age 15. They really complimented us on our son, and a new friendship had been formed.
Eric and Elizabeth have been responsibly having sex for the past four months. Both of them, recognizing the privilege that they have, have always been polite, done all their chores, and their schoolwork has actually improved. In our case, being open and honest with our teenagers has resulted in a better situation.
Parents, recognize that your kids are going to have sex and you need to make the best of the situation. Kids, you need to be open and honest with your parents, if you can. If not, then please at least be responsible. Eric and Elizabeth are probably an exceptional couple, but their experience does show what is possible when the lines of communication are open.