Regardless of what side of the debate you stand on, there are a few things you can do to make this tense time a little easier on the whole family so that you can prepare and so your teens know what’s expected of them:
- Make the rules clear. It sounds silly, but your child may not have known this was buck wild behavior. You may not feel the need to verbally state or explain why it’s unacceptable for your child to have sex in your home, but don’t take for granted that this is common knowledge. We live in a world where parents have a variety of values, and while teen sex under your roof may not be OK, the rules at your child’s best friend’s house may be different. You don’t have to go on a tangent about the fact that only those who pay bills at that address can get laid at that address, but you should explain your reasoning and display your authority. Also, be mindful that the rules are consistent for ALL of your children: You can’t high-five your son after he pulls the cheerleading captain but punish your daughter for experimenting with the quarterback.
- Have a game plan. Like I mentioned: It’s summer and teens without jobs or involvement in activities will find other ways to occupy their time, many of which you don’t approve of (Can you say, “Philly Flash Mob”?). If you can’t be home to supervise a schedule, start earlier in the year looking into summer sports’ leagues, local programs at recreation centers, or internship and volunteer opportunities that cater to their interests. Some schools offer extra credit or AP courses in summer. If all else fails, see if there’s opportunities for your teen to vacation with family or friends.
- Get comfortable discussing sex early, and if you don’t feel comfortable enough or equipped to have this conversation, direct your teen to someone who can. I’ve seen parents who absolutely refuse to say the word “sex”, and parents who want to have “the talk” right after potty training. If your teen feels comfortable enough with you to ask questions, consider yourself lucky and don’t assume they’re already sexually active. More often than not though, teens feel more comfortable discussing sex with someone they trust, that they have casual contact with. Much of the reason I’ve heard such detailed questions in my career is because teens in a classroom or after-school program know they can get factual info and never have to see me again.