Monday, May 24, 2010


Word on the street is that two seventh graders at Kevin's school had sex in the restroom at school during school hours recently, and got caught. This is not idle gossip - it happened. The details are fuzzy (i.e., how they got caught, etc.). But the police were involved, and from what I hear, the two kids involved have been removed to different schools now.

Hell's Bells. Seventh grade. Thirteen years old. Kevin is a thirteen year-old in seventh grade.

So this prompted a conversation with him this afternoon. I first asked him if he knew anything about this incident. Yes, he had heard rumors. Yes, he knows of the two kids involved, though he's not friends with either of them. I laid it straight out for him: "The fact is, Kevin, kids your age are having sex. And maybe you're not thinking about it now, but there will come a time eventually when you'll start seeing girls in a whole new light, and you will be thinking about sex. It's a really, really big deal. It's a huge responsibility. I want you to respect yourself enough to believe that it's sacred, and that it should only be shared with someone you really care about, and who cares about you. There can be really big consequences for engaging in irresponsible behavior like what those two kids did." And I told him how when I was in junior high school, a classmate of mine got pregnant and dropped out of school when she was 14 (true story). And another girl in high school dropped out to have a baby. And I told him "Making a bad choice like that can have a really big and really bad impact on the rest of your life. You can catch a disease, too." He said, "Yeah, I know, Mom. It's called AIDS." "AIDS is only the worst disease you can get. There are lots of other diseases you can get as well."

Am I trying to scare him? Yeah, I guess a little. Mostly I'm just really trying to impress upon him what a big, big deal this is. It's not something to be taken lightly. He was very uncomfortable and fidgety during the conversation. I did pretty much all the talking (and believe me, it's not the most comfortable topic for me to talk about with my adolescent son, either). I also tried to impart to him that his dad and I are always here to talk if he's got things on his mind.

But I'll tell you, this kid just does not open up. It's like pulling teeth to get anything out of him as far as what he's feeling.

There are lots of emails going back and forth between him and those two girls. Several every day. I'm not digging it. And I've found myself getting very caught up in it all, about what they say to Kevin and how he responds. The one girl, C, the one Kev's known since third grade, has reiterated to him that "Dang, your parents are Strict, with a capital S :(" I'm trying to figure out why this is bothering me so much. It doesn't bother me that she sees us as strict, but I get a sense that she's kind of disrespecting us. Which I suppose is typical behavior for a thirteen year-old. It feels like we're treading a bit on Peer Pressure territory . . . like she's trying to get him to see that his parents are too strict, perhaps? I sense a suggestion from her that he shouldn't be too happy about it. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

The other girl, N, the one who Kevin has never met face to face, she's definitely flirting with him and pursuing him. Little chippy. And he appears to be enjoying the attention. Perhaps, just like with adults, it's easier to say things and behave a certain way behind the shield of a computer screen than in person, but I still find myself not liking these email exchanges between them. There has been nothing overtly inappropriate, but where is this flirting leading to? I'm concerned. And now watchful. She wants his cell phone number now. So I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see how he's going to handle that one. Because the rule is that he isn't supposed to give his cell phone number out to anyone, because his cell phone isn't for socializing - it's to keep in touch with us when he's away from home, period. So what's he going to do? Tell her that he's not allowed to give out his cell phone number and risk being seen as a square? Or break the rule we've made and give her his number? I almost feel bad for him, being in that spot. But this is only the beginning as far as peer pressure and making choices go. They also keep talking about meeting at the schoolyard over some weekend to talk about their "band." In the past, I have had no problem with Kevin meeting a friend at the schoolyard to hang out, but I can say for sure that he will not be meeting members of the opposite sex without adult supervision. Not at this age. They (generally) are clearly on the cusp of developing decidedly unchildlike feelings. I'd like to meet this girl face to face, let her see my face. I'd like to meet her parents and impart to them that their daughter is sending flirty emails to a boy she's never met. Because I would want to know if my thirteen year-old daughter was doing this.

Ahhhh. Honestly? I feel like my heart is breaking a little. I feel like I'm losing my boy. I mean, I know I'm really not - not yet. He's still here, he still needs his mom, he still needs hugs from me and for me to tuck him in every night. But he's growing up. He's got secret feelings and a whole other life outside of this house and this family that has nothing at all to do with me. It's very painful, this gradual separation. He's taking a piece of my heart with him as he slowly grows away from me.

And I have no idea at all if I'm doing this parenting thing the right way.


heather said...

I'm right here with you. Sometimes I wish my kids didn't LOVE to read my blog. It makes me feel a bit censored because I have been wanting to write about these things too. Ryan, my 11 year old, opened a junk email and was linked to a porn site. My innocent little boy destroyed in an instant. It was all he could talk about for a few days. It was obvious it was very much on his mind. We decided we really needed to sit down with both Jack and him to talk about the changes they will be seeing as the get older and the huge consequences that come with stupid choices. We still haven't had that official talk but need to. It's been hard to see both of them change and become more independent and more obnoxious! I think this stage of independence will be the hardest for us and it will seem like no big deal once our other kids become teens. Been there, done that. I think it's great you spoke to him. Jack is a lot like Kevin--very quiet with his thoughts and feelings. It makes it difficult to know if you're doing everything you should be doing. And can I just add that it makes me so sad to think of those young 7th graders doing that in the bathroom. Soooooo sad!

diane rene said...

oh wow! scary, but sadly it doesn't surprise me.

the talk is never easy, but at least you had something to spur the conversation, something that makes it relevant at his age. it will mean more to him than just 'mom thinks I need to know this even tho I am light years away from sex' (or we hope that is what they are thinking, right?)

I lost my virginity at 14, tho it wasn't by choice, I understand the importance of these talks with my kids. and, since the majority of my kids are female, I also stress the importance of not placing yourself in a situation that could cause problems, ie. sneaking off to be with some boy when you say you are some where else.

I try to keep an open line of communication with my girls about sex. I let them draw the line of discomfort and only push it when I feel they NEED to hear what I have to say. It's not always easy, but for me it's easier than having 'THE' sex talk only after they are at the age where WE feel they need to hear it.

we were late with the talk in my house. by the time it came around, I was way past the needing to know stage. I won't make that mistake with my girls.

Kara said...

I'm dreading the teenage years which are creeping up faster than I'd like. My oldest is only 7, but during the last week of school she told me that a boy in 4th grade liked her. Seriously. It was kind of creepy.

I know I'll be in trouble sooner rather than later. I went through puberty on the early end of average, and my husband went through it even earlier (he was shaving his face every day before school by 5th grade). My kids are biologically predestined to hit puberty by 10 or so I expect.

As for 13 year olds having sex. Yeah, it happens. While I wasn't having sex at 13, I am related to some people who were. One of whom I walked in on at that young age. I called my gyno (I was 17), made her an appointment, and got her on birth control. I have no problem with educating my daughters on birth control options. I think education is really the only logical option. I'd hope they'd wait until they were older than 13. I wouldn't even hate the idea at 16.

I think you are being smart about the whole thing. Leaving the lines of communication open. Some parents just hide their heads in the sand and assume that their precious widdle angel would NEVER have sex. I'm young enough that I still remember the teen years. I hope I remember them when I have teens.

You should watch the movie KIDS. It's pretty graphic (so you may want to watch on your own first), but it's a very realistic look at teen sex.

Monica Crumley said...

My eldest is in 7th grade and will be 13 in July, so I read every word of your post very carefully. This is exactly why I'm uncomfortable allowing our son to go to Washington DC next April for a class field trip. I don't think duct taping the hotel doors will keep kids from wandering. And I have one of the "good" kids right now. We're strict and that won't change.... EVER! I think you were wise to talk to Kevin, even if it's uncomfortable. Girls can be very bold and I think they're being socialized to think they have to act/dress/talk a certain way. A friend of mine had the same prob w/ her son's cell phone/facebook acct and texted the girl who was texting inappropriate things and told her to lay off or she would approach the girl's parents. The mom did it with her son's blessing, though, because her advances weren't welcome. You could always take away the electronic privileges. THat'll make you really popular, but who cares, really? Your job is to raise your son right in a sex-crazed culture. Good luck!!!

Mumofone said...

Firstly, I admit my child is only 2 so I have a long way to go before this is an issue for me. But my sister's daughter is nearly 9 and we have talked a lot about this sort of thing.
I do wonder whether using the words:

"someone you really care about, and who cares about you"

make sense as a reason NOT to have sex when you're young. Teenagers can have very strong feelings and can be 100% sure they DO care about the person and that the other person cares about them. I would worry that this might still be seen as validation to have sex when you're young. I'm not sure teenagers have the insight to realise what "caring for someone" means in the way adults use the term.

Secondly, it has been bothering me too reading about how N seems to be targeting Kevin so much. You say that N is a friend of C but do you know for sure that N is a teenage friend...its not someone she met online or something is there a chance N is only pretending to be as young as Kevin? If she is indeed Kevins age (or thereabouts) then I fully agree with your comments that you feel her behaviour is inappropriate.
Good luck with however you handle this.