Raising Teens

A site for parents of teens striving for sanity

Author: raisingteensblogger (Cindy) (page 2 of 22)

Why your teen needs a summer job more than you realize

 

My youngest son, Garret, has been looking for a summer job for several weeks. He has applied online and in person. Part of the problem why he hasn’t found anything may be because he isn’t sixteen yet. Still, my husband is insistent Garret works this summer, not just for the money he will earn, but also for the character building that goes along with holding a job.

 A few years ago, my older son,  Jake, landed a summer job at a nearby pizza restaurant. He cleaned toilets, he bused tables, he served food and he rolled napkins. He also learned about teamwork, responsibility, and he saw people who worked two jobs to support families and make ends meet.

The more work shifts Jake took on and the more money he made, the more he loved the job. At the end of the summer, he didn’t want to quit. So, we worked out an arrangement in which he worked one weeknight and one weekend night throughout the rest of high school. Having responsibility and learning how to deal with all kinds of personalities in a workplace was as important as any lesson he learned in high school.

Now, my younger son, Garret has already learned his first lesson of job hunting. Convinced he would get the job he was interviewing for at Chipotle, he didn’t bother looking elsewhere as much as he should have. That job fell through because of his young age. Now, he’s out there scrambling with all the other teens looking for summer jobs.

As a parent, I have had to pull back and watch it all play out.  Here are the lessons I have learned about teens and summer jobs:

 

  1. Let them do it their way. Part of growing up is learning how to interview, fill out job applications and make an impression. Most teens don’t want your advice on how to do that.
  2. Encourage them to  revisit employers. The types of businesses seeking seasonal employees usually have high turnover. An employer that did not hire a couple of weeks ago might need more workers as the summer arrives.
  3. Discuss transportation. Landing a job is great but getting there may become an issue. This summer, several of us in my family with be sharing cars.  Who can take a bus or bicycle and who needs a car and when is conversation that needs to happen on the front end, before anyone find themselves stranded at work.
  4. Don’t let them quit. After landing a job, most teens will try to quit the first time they are asked to do something gross. Now that my older son has had to clean a toilet, he realizes that teamwork means someone has to do the dirty jobs.
  5. Encourage them to speak up. Many employers will try to take advantage of teens during the summer. This has happened to both of my older kids. Learning to speak up about compensation or work hours or ridiculous expectations is part of being an employee.
  6. Make them set their own alarms. Part of holding a job is being on time. As much as I wanted my teens to impress their boss, I realized they needed to learn responsibility and that means getting to work on time.
  7. Ask for references. When summer ends, it is the ideal time to ask an employer for a future reference (this goes for teens who have internships, too) It’s better to ask immediately than to try to track the person down months or even years later.

Last summer saw the strongest teen employment since 2013, but this year the hiring forecast isn’t as rosy because retailers who typically hire teens are struggling.

Still, there are summer jobs out there for teens — if they look in the right places, says John Challenger, whose company publishes annual teen summer job outlook. John suggests teens look for opportunities in industries that have been adding jobs so far this year, like transportation, hospitality and food service, or construction.

I think  Garret already has discovered it’s not easy to find a job as a teen. But hopefully he will soon be employed and by the end of summer, he will learn that having a job has a payoff, way more than just the money he earns.

 

Mother feels jealous over son’s girlfriend

It’s  Video  Friday on our RaisingTeens Facebook page. In honor of Mother’s Day we explore a mom’s reaction to her son’s love of another woman (girl).

Can you relate to how Raquel is feeling? What was it like for you when your son got his first girlfriend?

Your teen is having sex. Do you accept it or deny it?

 

Talking to your teen about sex is never an easy conversation.  But here’s why it’s worth doing.  A 2016 review of more than three decades of research found that teenagers who communicated with their parents about sex used safer sexual practices.

So, does that mean parents should accept their teens want to have sex, and talk to them about engaging in it safely?  In today’s post, Cindy and Raquel answer the questions you may encounter as parents of teens.

Do we really need to accept our teens are having sex?

Cindy: While in high school, my teenager daughter told me her friend was having sex with her boyfriend. Her friend’s mother refused to take the girl to get birth control and told her daughter she didn’t think having sex in high school was appropriate. But the girl was having sex anyway. Behind her mother’s back. My daughter was concerned because her friend had told her the condom had broken during sex several times. My daughter’s friend asked her to go with to buy a pregnancy test.  When my daughter told me this story, my first reaction was “That’s just scary.”  It made me realize that if you don’t accept your teen is having sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you are fooling yourself.

Raquel: I agree that you need to accept it.  You may not like it.  But you can not be everywhere your teen is and you don’t want your teen to get pregnant . I would rather have the sex conversation than the pregnant conversation.  I think the best way to be parent is to  make sure your teen – girl or boy- is protected. If they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, chances are they are going to have  sex with or without your approval.

Do you just need to worry if you have a teen girl?

Raquel: I have a girl and a boy but being the mother of a boy scares me the most. You have no control over the teenage girl’s decision to keep a baby if she gets pregnant. Your son may not be ready or want to be a dad and the girl will make that decision for him whether he likes it or not. That’s what you need to tell him.

If you find out your teen is sexually active, do you let him or her have sex in your house? Would you rather they do it in the car, or at a park, or somewhere else?

Raquel: Of course you don’t want them to do that, but you also want them to be safe.  If they do have sex in my house, I would rather not know.

Cindy: I’m with you on that one Raquel.

Do you take your daughter to get birth control?

Raquel: Yes.  You need to build that trust. Some of the choices and decisions your daughter makes might not be one you would have made as a teenager, but it’s not about you. It’s about your teen and what’s best for her. If she asks you to take her to the doctor to get birth control, not bringing her does NOT mean your teen will not have sex. It just means she will have it without birth control.  You have to make a decision.

Cindy: I feel like teen girls should go on birth control their senior year of high school. They may not have sex until college or even after college, but at least you, the parent, can take her to get it and have a discussion about the responsibility that’s involved in being on the pill or some other form of birth control. It could also be a good time for the conversation about self respect.

Do you buy your son condoms?

Cindy: Yes. I bought a box and put it in the bathroom. I let my son know it was there. By the end of high school, all of his friends had used them. At least I knew they were all having safe sex.

If you learn your son or daughter is having sex on a regular basis with a love interest, do you let the parent of the other teen know ?

Raquel: No. It’s so personal. If the teen doesn’t want to share with his or her parent that’s his or her business. It’s that unspoken truth and you just don’t go there.  You don’t advertise it.

Cindy: Of course, that answer is much easier if you don’t have a relationship with the parent of the other teen. If it’s the son or daughter of a close friend, you will need to prod a little to find out what her or she has revealed.

You see a pregnancy test in the garbage. Do you ask your teen about it, or leave it alone?

Raquel:  I was in that situation and I did ask my daughter. It turned out it was a friend’s who didn’t want to do the test at her own home.  Whether or not that was true, I took that opportunity to tell my daughter to please make sure she doesn’t skip a day of her pill and I explained that being a teen mom wasn’t just a fun reality show.

When you have a conversation about the risks of sexual activity  — pregnancy, infection, the potential for heartbreak – do you also have a conversation about the rewards such as intimacy and love?

Cindy:  It’s easy to talk to teens about the risks. It’s much harder to talk to have a  conversation about why we are sexual beings, or how we express love. I once read that it’s better to have short meaningful conversations about sex and relationships over time than one big conversation they will brush off. I have tried to follow that advice. I think the most important thing is let your teen know they can talk about sex with you rather than being sneaky or hiding it.

Okay parents, we tackled some pretty awkward questions in this post. If you disagree with our answers or have your own take on these scenarios  please share, or send questions our way and we will do a follow up post.

You’re wearing WHAT to prom? Not happening

One of my friend’s called me today, asking me to mediate an argument. She is fighting with her daughter over her prom dress. Her daughter wants to wear a red, super-sexy dress that costs $800. My friend is having a fit. She says the dress is too expensive and too sexy. Her daughter wants to spend her own money that she made working last summer to buy the dress and says her mother doesn’t realize that girls wear these kind of dresses today.

As a mediator, I stink.  I don’t want anyone to be mad at me. But I figured some of you might be dealing with the same problem.  Prom dresses have gotten SUPER expensive and SUPER slutty. Okay, not all of them. But many of them.

However, if you’re a frustrated parent, there is hope.  I went on Amazon and found a brand called  Ever Pretty.  All dresses are under $100 and there are some nice ones that are a little sexy, but not too sexy. BCBG is a popular brand, too and has some reasonable priced, glamorous prom dresses.

Here’s are a few decent ones I showed my friend:



I explained to my friend and her daughter that the dress is just the first part of the prom prep. There are the shoes, too. You haven’t seen slutty until you see the skyscraper heels some girls wear.  Some of those stripper shoes are close to $300.  Again, if this is an issue in your home, I got you covered. I found a brand called Fergalicious (designed by pop star Fergie) The heels are glam enough for prom but  not too pricey or too reminiscent of a hooker who just crashed prom.

Now, there’s one more thing that completes the prom outfit — the bling. I’m talking about the jewelry, purse, hair accessories…all that small stuff that adds up to big money. Believe me moms, you will want to see this stuff before your daughter heads out the door wearing it and WAY before she gets to the cash register.

Once again, I’ve got you covered.

There are the  bejeweled hair pins, the sparkly headband, the strapless bra, and fun clutch purse.

Here’s another great tip. For the guys, you  often can buy a tux online for cheaper than renting one. Check out this Kenneth Cole one for $99.

Of course, most savvy high school seniors have found a way to ensure their dress pick is the one-and-only at their prom by using social media.  You need to check your school’s sites  before you buy the dress to avoid duplication and prom disaster!!! Yes, prom in the digital age is so different then when we were in high school — not yet sure if that’s a good thing???

It seems I have mediated a peace deal between my friend and her daughter. With a little online searching, we found an Ever Pretty dress that is similar to the red one she wanted from a local boutique but not as revealing or expensive. However, our prom girl gets to wear the stylish heels she wanted. Mom and daughter are both happy.  For now, I’m declaring victory!!!

Are all promposals creepy?

 

It’s that time again: promposal season. Time when there’s a fine line between a cute or romantic invitation to prom, and an over-the-top creepy one.  One year my son’s friend asked a girl to prom by writing PROM? on her car with pancake syrup because she likes pancakes. It was sticky and she was pissed.

Things have gotten so out of hand with promposals that Jimmy Kimmel made a huge commotion about it last week. Jimmy says the time has come for celebrity promposals to end.  He gave an impassioned speech during his monologue imploring high school students to stop creating elaborate videos to ask celebrities to prom.

Jimmy’s came after a boy created a promposal video to ask Emma Stone to prom.  Emma’s answer was that she is working in London. She really dodged a bullet with that one!

But Jimmy told it like it is…. “She doesn’t want to go to a dance with you because she’s 28, and 28-year-old people don’t want to go on dates with 16-year-old children because it’s creepy.”

I’m not sure when this whole crazy tradition of teens creating elaborate ways to ask each other to prom got started and I’m even less sure why Hollywood has been roped into the craziness. Some believe it started with the use of social media. A few shared videos or pictures of romantic prom invitations may have led to the hysteria now known as promposals.

I gotta say I feel bad for shy teens who can barely get up the guts to ask someone to prom…now he or she has to do an elaborate ask and often it comes across as desperate — or creepy. It’s particularly creepy when someone you barely know does an outlandish promposal and backs you into a corner.  I just saw a photo of a guy who tattooed  “Prom?”  on his side. Sure hope his potential prom date said yes.

 

Recently I heard about a prom idea I LOVED….at one Illinois high school, prom dates are randomly assigned by lottery so no one gets left out. Male students draw names of female students in the school library, while girls wait for them in the school’s gym. After the names are drawn, a skit is performed to reveal who their dates are. The lottery system started in 1926, to ensure that all students had a date to prom, but the current students still think it’s a great tradition.

I particularly like it because no one has to out do the other with a creepy promposal. My son in high school says it stinks because couples can’t go with their significant other on their big night of high school. (He’s got a point there) He also says not all promposals are creepy. (I agree that some are sweet, but overall I think this promposal stuff has gone too far.)

What are your thoughts on promposals? Are they sweet, creepy, unnecessary?

 

Here are  the 10 Funniest Promposals Gone Wrong.

Here are 25 of the most ridiculous, over-the-top Promposals.

Video games, clothes, food…where would your teen spend his/her money?

My son, Garret, kept asking us for money on the weekends to go out with friends. It really became a problem. So we decided to give him an allowance and a debit card. My husband tracks where he spends his money, but doesn’t question him about it because we want him to make his own choices.

Recently, we noticed that Garret spends most of his money on food.  That kid loves to eat. He and his friends are big fans of Chipotle. Now that my son’s friends are driving, it’s where they go on a Friday or Saturday night. It’s also where they go on an early release day from school. If you ever go to Chipotle, you will notice a ton of teens there. Chipotle tends to put its locations near high schools and universities. Pretty smart, huh?

Even though my son is a foodie, I am now learning  that he is pretty normal in his spending habits. Teens are spending most of their money on food. Yes, they are spending more on eating Chipotle and drinking Starbucks than on clothes, sneakers and video games. Even while we complain about our teens being less social because of their electronic devices, they are spending their money on eating out.

Piper Jaffray, which has surveyed teens about their spending habits for 17 years, has just released its 2017 Taking Stock With Teens research survey.  The survey found  food is the most important category within a teen’s wallet at 24 percent of spending. Clothing comes in second at 19 percent.

“We are seeing teen spending continue to shift more toward experiences — eating out and leisure,” Piper Jaffray senior analyst Erin Murphy said in a release.

Starbucks is the only public brand to maintain its double-digit share among all teens. It tied with Chick-fil-A at a 12 percent preference level.

Here’s another pretty interesting finding: Teens would rather buy athletic apparel than fashion brands. That kind of surprised me.

Other interesting takeaways:

  • 81 percent of teens expect their new phone will be an iPhone, the highest level ever seen in the survey.
  • Move over Facebook: Snapchat was listed as teens top social media platform at 39 percent. Instagram was second at 23 percent. Facebook and Twitter tied for third at 11 percent apiece.
  • Disney films were the clear winner for the most anticipated moves list with “Beauty and the Beast,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” grabbing some of the top spots.
  • Bad news for console gaming: The percent of teens who plan to digitally download more than half of their games increased to 45 percent from 37 percent in the fall of 2015.

Do you keep track of how your teen spends his or her money? Would you agree that food is the most frequent purchase?

A Father’s Perspective on Raising a Teen Daughter

Today we have a treat for you! We are featuring a father who shares his perspective on raising a teen girl. We hope you enjoy hearing another point of view on raising teens.  Please meet Tyler Jacobson. Tyler is a husband, father, freelance writer and outreach specialist with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today.  You can follow Tyler on: Twitter @tylerpjacobson and on LinkedIn.

 
I’m a father of three: two boys and a girl. My boys and I are close. We easily bond over food and roughhousing. However, I have to say it’s true what they say about dads and their little girls – ever since the day she was born we have had a very special connection.

Raising boys vs. raising girls…these are two very different things, especially for a father. When you are raising a boy, you notice the same things he does. Marketing targeted at boys today (TV shows, cartoons, toys, etc.) are the same as you remember growing up seeing.

As my daughter grew, her mother and I did everything to encourage her to find out who she wanted to be. More than anything, we wanted her to be comfortable with herself and not feel limited by our actions. Our daughter is a thoughtful, caring, adventurous individual and we tried to help her build on her strengths as well as discover her positive attributes.

However, after a while I noticed there was a different message for girls in the toys that are targeted at children. When we would go shopping as a family, wandering up one aisle and down the next, Legos, racecars and Nerf guns were the bulk of the “boys” aisle. While in contrast, the “girls” aisle was play makeup, stuffed animals and dress up items. It seemed that all the active toys were in the “boys” aisle with sedentary toys making up most of the “girls” aisle.

At first I wasn’t sure what to do, so I’d try to ignore outside influences and just reinforce her personal freedom. It about broke my heart when she asked if it was okay that she wanted a Lego set for her birthday. In her young and impressionable mind, the message had hit home. Some toys were only for boys and some only for girls. Even though I reassured her that her choice in toys was fine, I didn’t address idea that some things were right for boys and some for girls.

Now she’s a young woman

My little girl is 12 and I only wish the social pressure was about Legos again. Instead, my wife and I have had to start having many talks with our daughter about what is and isn’t appropriate for a young woman.

In one instance, when my daughter spent an afternoon at a friend’s house, she came home with a face full of makeup. From overdone eyes to an aggressive shade of red lipstick, my sweet 12 year old looked older and infinitely hardened.

It was hard not to demand she remove it immediately. Instead, we sat down together and talked about what she liked about the makeup. She told us all her friends were wearing makeup and that she was tired of looking like a little kid.

After more discussion, we reached a compromise. My wife would help her learn how to apply light makeup, and until she turned 14, she could only wear it on Sundays and special occasions at school.

I didn’t want her to feel like she had to wear makeup to feel beautiful. I wanted her to stay my fresh-faced and happy little girl. But allowing our children to grow is one of the hardest things parents have to learn, and I don’t want to stunt her growth as a she becomes an independent young lady.

Dealing With Social Programming

After the makeup incident, I knew I had to get ahead of future problems if I didn’t want them sprung on me again. I began to research what other parents were dealing with while raising teenagers and how to help my daughter deal with social pressure.

I found a few resources to help me understand how to deal with the media, and also what my daughter may be going through with the body image pressure she’s getting from every direction.

Together, my wife and I worked to open lines of communication with our daughter. We began with simple topics like her current hobbies. As she became more comfortable talking to us, stronger trust was established and she began coming to us on her own about her concerns.

Over time, I pointed out subtle influences in the media she was consuming, pressuring girls to be a certain thing, and asked her what she thought. Once she knew what to look for I didn’t have to bring attention to anything.

My daughter has always been precocious, but it makes me so proud to see her open up and define her sense of self outside of what society is trying to sell her. My daughter is strong, independent, and beautiful exactly as she is and if I have anything to say about it, she’ll grow up to be a confident woman who will be able to think critically about what the world says women should be.

Oh no, is this a lecture? Talking to teens so they listen

 

 

 

 

 

We were driving in the car with our son Garret when he noticed a Maserati on the road next to us. He started excitedly showing us the car and telling us how he wants one.  Noticing his excitement, my husband started talking about saving up for things he really wants to buy rather than taking on debt just to be flashy.

It took all of a second for Garret to completely tune my husband out and say, “Oh no dad, is this a lecture?”

When your kids hit the teen years, that line between talking and lecturing gets thinner. My husband and I think we’re just having a conversation but the next thing we know, we’re imparting some wisdom and our kids say we’re lecturing.

The thing is as a parent, these “little lessons” just spill out of our mouths. Sometimes they come out in the form of a question in the heat of the moment, as in “Did I tell you about how I earned my own money when I was your age?”  Sometimes they come out in the form of sarcasm, “Right, you’re just going to hang out at some guy’s house when his parents aren’t home and nothing is going to happen.”

The problem is teens often think they already know whatever wisdom you’re trying to impart… as in “I know that mom!” So instead of listening, they blow you off, get annoyed and retreat to their phones where they can immerse themselves in what their friends are saying on Twitter.

One day, my daughter told me I have a lecture voice. She said I put it on when I “think” I am saving her from mistakes. I HATE to come across that way.  The only thing I have found that works is to listen more and talk less. It’s not always easy but with my daughter, I force myself to just listen and not react. Instead of trying to problem solve, point out the  ways she’s being irrational or launch into  anything that comes across as a lecture, I take a deep breath and stay quiet. Then, I tell her I hear what she is saying. It’s a strategy I picked up from a friend who says it’s the only way she survived the high school years with her daughter.

I’d love to hear your strategies. How do you guide your teen without the perception that you’re  lecturing? Is it possible to get through the teen years without offering unwanted “life lessons” that they find annoying?

Should a Teen Sleep Over a Boyfriend’s or Girlfriend’s House?

Nearly two years ago I (Raquel) wrote a blog that surprised me as it resulted in the largest response I had ever had. The topic? Should teens that are dating be allowed to sleep at each other’s house and have a boyfriend/girlfriend teen sleepover? This blog post resulted in almost 150 comments, from parents and teens!

I honestly can say I did not expect such a huge response. But I was so happy to touch upon a subject that clearly needed to be talked about. I sure hope I helped some parents and teens with this difficult conversation. Given the high level of interest in this, I thought it was worthy of sharing a Top 10 list from the interesting feedback I received from teens and parents.

Original post from March 2014

Is it okay for boyfriend/girlfriend to sleep over at each other’s house?

My daughter recently went over to her boyfriend’s house last Saturday night to hang out like she has done in the past. I fell asleep and realized she wasn’t home and it was past her curfew. I looked on my phone and found messages from her saying she is sleeping over at her girlfriend’s house.  I am a bit upset over the fact she didn’t ask permission and I know she is lying!

I asked her why she didn’t ask me prior to now and she said she fell asleep. More lies. I decided I would let her stay over her “girlfriend’s” house knowing very well she is probably at her boyfriend’s. I knew arguing at this time of night wasn’t going to get me anywhere so I said we would talk about this in the morning when she comes home.

Next morning comes around and like I suspected she stayed at her boyfriend’s house! I was extremely upset because we had this discussion before and I am totally against it, as is her father. She tells me that she doesn’t understand what the big deal is? “Lots of parents let their kids stay at their boyfriend’s house.”

I said, “Well, it’s not okay with this parent.” She said my reasoning did not help her understand why it was wrong or inappropriate because she found nothing wrong with it. They weren’t doing anything and they are 17.

How do I talk to a teen rationally about this? I am spitting nails and fuming. My daughter would not let go of the fact that there is nothing wrong with the sleepover and that it’s not wrong.

So, I am asking… Am I wrong? Do you allow your teen to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s homes? Have times changed THAT much? I need someone to please help me understand this or at least help me make my daughter understand.

I did explain to her that sometimes in life, just because we don’t think it’s not inappropriate or wrong, doesn’t mean it isn’t. There isn’t always a logical reason.

That same day my husband called my daughter’s boyfriend’s dad and told him that she was not allowed to sleep over and unless he hears it from us, don’t believe it is okay with us.

I mean, really? These teens nowadays have found a way to basically make everything a battle. Sleepover with boyfriends? Yay or Nay?

Top 10 Things I Learned After Reading Feedback on My Original Post:

  1. Talk with your child not TO your child. Sometimes simple conversations can go a long way with building a relationship with your teen.
  2. Listen to your child. You may not agree with what they say but give them a chance to talk to you if you want the same courtesy back.
  3. Be realistic. Teens of today are not the same from when we were teens so because you did not do it does not mean they should not. Don’t have expectations that your teen may not live up to.
  4. Do not judge.  You are not a bad person and you will not be punished if you allow your son or daughter to sleep over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house.
  5. Teens are not sleeping over their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house for sex. They can have sex anytime. They just want to be able to relax the way they cannot at home.
  6. Teens need to respect and trust parents first! Parents want what is best for their teen and that may be not letting them “play house” at 17 or 18. So, until you are an adult and get your own place, parent’s house…parents rules.
  7. Communicate  and compromise. Consider compromising with your teens so they do not have to lie and go behind your back. Better to know where your teens are and that they are safe than to not know.
  8. Do not try to control your teen. Teens hate to feel controlled. They just want to be able to have some freedom.
  9. Trust your teen. If you have taught them about right from wrong and good from bad, then trust that your teen will make smart choices and will be honest with you on not about just sleeping over at their boyfriend/girlfriend’s house, but on bigger issues.
  10. Teach your kids values and respect. That is more important than controlling them or allowing them to be a part of a sleep over.

Talking to Your Son About Teen Sex

I have been talking to my youngest son, Garret, about wearing condoms when he has sex since he was in third grade. I know it sounds crazy to start so young, but when he came home from the Transformer movie talking more about Megan Fox than the plot of the movie, I knew I had to have the teen sex talk early. Because I have an older son, I gave them both the “always wear condoms”  sex talk at the same time. I explained that even if the girl says she has protection, unless they want to be a dad or contract a disease, they better not be silly and always wrap their willy to be safe.  They laughed and called me a crazy mom.

Now that Garret is in high school, I am having a different conversation with him about teen sex. It’s a conversation about emotions, actions and consequences.   I want him to know that sex can be a healthy way of expressing love in a good relationship. I also want him to know sex is more than a heat-of-the-moment action. Although he’s only 15, Garret tells me he has friends who are having sex, sometimes in their own homes, and usually without their parents knowing.

Even as I repeat my “wrap your willy” talk with him, there’s something I have to worry about in addition to diseases or pregnancy as a result of unsafe sex.  As soon as my son turns 18, sex can become a crime if there is an female involved who is under 18.  Let’s say Garret  turns 18 and has sex with a girl who is a year younger than him. In Florida, it’s considered illegal, even if the sex is consensual. The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult. But states some don’t.

It’s a scary thought that my son could run into legal issues for having sex with another teen who he might think legitimately wants to “hook up.”  If the girl’s parents find out she had sex, and she decides to say my son forced her into it, the penalties for him include prison.  So, already I’m giving Garret the lecture about how things change when he turns 18 and how he needs to know the risks. I’m also thinking about the advantages of legal insurance. ARAG  (a partner of RaisingTeens) offers legal insurance that works a lot like health insurance (but way more affordable). You can use it if your teen falls victim to identity theft, pulls a dumb prank that gets him into legal trouble, gets a traffic ticket, or needs legal help of any sort like in the situation I described involving sex. When your teen turns 18, a lot changes in the eyes of the law, and legal insurance gives you peace of mind because a lawyer is always available to help you navigate through any issues that arise with any family member.   I completely understand why 90 percent of people with ARAG legal insurance feel it reduces their stress.

As a mother of a teen girl, I’m glad the law protects minors who are forced into sex. But as a parent of boys, I worry about the gray area around teen sex, consent and the law.  Parents, what are you saying to your teen boys about sex?  Do you think it’s unrealistic to tell boys to stay away from younger girls once they turn 18?

 

 

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