Ok, more sex talk. A mom called me the other day upset about the text messages her 13 year old daughter was receiving from a 15 year old boy. Daughter is in the 8th grade, boy is a 9th grader. This mom is extremely proactive in monitoring her daughter's facebook wall posts and text messaging, thank god! The daughter has been informed that mom will be checking her wall regularly, and when she can, she checks her daughter's phone. Mom had been seeing repeated facebook messages, wall posts and text messages from this boy asking for sex, pure and simple. This 8th grade girl, flattered by the attention of an"older boy" has been giving off mixed signals to the boy. When her mom talks to her after reading one of these texts/messages, the daughter says that she is upset and uncomfortable with this type of attention from the boy, but when push comes to shove, she only tells him in the mildest way possible to stop. Mom has repeatedly told her daughter that if you don't tell him to stop I will call his parents.
I get this girl's ambivalence. If she says stop, and means it, then maybe this boy will stop paying attention to her, and she likes the attention part, just not the pressure about the sex part. She is in a conundrum. Play along and keep this older boy, or be firm and risk losing him. Tough dilemma for a 13 year old. Clearly this girl is unable to set the limit, and clearly she has too. Here is what I told the mom to say and do. " I get how hard it is to tell this boy to stop sending you these kinds of text messages and facebook posting. I know you do not want me to call his parents, so here is what we can do instead. You and I will sit down now together and write a text for you to send to him. We will send it, and in this text, you will make clear that your parents read your text messages, and if he doesn't stop they are going to call his parents, so stop sending them and posting messages on my wall too. We will then block his number so for now he will be unable to text you. I know you don't like this, but we need to get him to stop harassing you. Also I want you to defriend him from facebook. Again, I know you kind of like this boy, but since its so hard for you to be clear, which I understand, than I have to help you do this. The only other choice is to call his parents, and I know you really don't want to do this. I love you, and I want you to be safe. I am not blaming you, I am not mad at you, I just want to make sure that this boy gets that you are absolutely not interested in a sexual relationship with him.
And, if you are a parent of a boy. He needs some talking to. Harassing girls for sex can get him into trouble. Text messages, facebook messages are all public, and an irate parent who sees these kinds of messages to his daughter will react, and react harshly. Please explain that to your sons, and most importantly, teach respect for women and the word NO!
And there you have it. This stuff is hard. Hard to have to read sexually provocative messages either to or from your teen, hard because you know your teen feels so much is on the line in the way they respond, and hard because so much of this stuff sneaks by you, and who knows what other kinds of issues your teens are experiencing. Just stay alert, and keep monitoring and supervising. They may hate you today, but thank you tomorrow.