teengirlsmom's picture

Just learned daughter has been sexually active-going forward

I just learned this afternoon that my 16 (almost 17) year old daughter has been sexually active. Now she tells me it was 3 times, all about a year ago. At that time she had been on the pill for about a year to help with her period regularity and pain. But the pill made her so physically ill that she stopped voluntarily. The "incidences" happened during the last month or two of being on the pill.

This came out today because, seeing that she is back to having so much pain with her cycle that she gets physically sick, I took her back to the doctor to see if we could try another form of birth control that may not make her so ill. And, not being an ostrich and putting my head in the sand, have suspected that she and the boyfriend may be active and want to be sure that precautions are taken against unwanted pregnancies. I do not condone sex at this stage of her life, but am not going to turn a blind eye and if it can't be prevented, at least make it responsible.

She and her boyfriend, who is 2 years older than her, have been together for a little over 2 years now. I know with certainty that he cares deeply for her and wants to marry her. His family knows it too, and treat us like we are part of their family already.

I was not surprised when she said she had hoped to tell me in another way, at another time. I am however, still reeling. I am more disappointed than angry. I have kept my cool, let her know I'm disappointed, but am glad it's finally out and that she told me. We have always had a close, open relationship and I've tried to remain very approachable. She said she feels like a 600 lb. weight is off her shoulders.

Now here's my dilemma. This happened shortly after we moved out from her father into this different house. I am a single parent now, she my only child, and she gets home from school before I get home from work, so is alone for a time. She hates this place and was having terrible anxiety attacks being here alone. She doesn't have friends that could come here and spend that time with her until I got home, and obviously a day care type thing is out of the question. But the boyfriend was able to come over so that she would not be alone.

Both his mother and I talked about the situation and to the kids, laid out the "rules", and despite my inner reluctance, decided at the time it would have to be an option to try. As you can guess, after a time, it happened here, while they were alone.

So now what do I do? The situation with her hating the house and being alone hasn't changed. She does have a job so it's not every day like it was then, but what about the off-days? Do I now say he can no longer come over until I get home? Is it a moot point? There's no going back, but what do I do moving forward? There are only 2 more weeks of school and then it's a matter of being home alone all day!

Her father doesn't yet know. They have very little to do with each other, he doesn't pay child support because he says he has no money, and within a few short months was living with another woman who we do not care for (have known her for years) and who does not care for us. I do still try to keep him abreast of important things though, and try to keep some parenting consistent between us.

I feel so responsible because of leaving her alone while I have to work. I am so torn about what to do right now. Any advice would be much appreciated.

mayamay's picture

A job or volunteer opportunity that either puts her at work while you are at work, or puts her at home while he is at work. Inform her dad. It's not about whether he will be any help. She's his kid, she's 16, he gets to know. Enlist any community support you have. An old friend with younger children might appreciate some help with them.

Yes to birth control.

I think that a person who is too shy to buy condoms is a person who is too young for sex, but that horse is already out of the barn. Get her tested for STDs. If she finds that he's been around the block a bit, it might dim that "true love" glow.

Bring up marriage. There are worse things than being married at 16. Used to be fairly common. If contraception fails, the choices are abort the "love child," put the baby out for adoption, or have a lifetime commitment. You and the boy's folks and the young couple ought to sit down and chat about these things as if they were a real possibility in the here and now. Because they are.

Perhaps a dog to keep her company when she is alone at home?

teengirlsmom's picture

To reply to you mayamay:

1) he does have a job since this happened. It helps so that she's not home alone so much. I've discouraged her working any more than she does because she has been taking a college course as well as her high school ones, is in all advanced classes otherwise, and is active in some other school events besides. Her homework load is very heavy. She's a very bright girl and wants to go to med school. Long road ahead!

2) I did end up discussing with her father later last evening. He too was not surprised, and felt that trying to keep them apart would probably be counter-productive and cause some negative consequences. I concur. Staying approachable, dialogue between the kids and I, and birth control were the main points we concluded with.

3) I am assured they did use condoms and spermacide. This has the first experiences for both of them. Her doctor did not feel it was necessary to do any testing.

4) We do have a dog! And 4 cats!

2xstepmom's picture

Have the testing done whether the doctor feels it is necessary or not. There are many clinics that do STD testing free of charge. This is your child and she needs to know now if she has contracted any STD's.

Reading your post it seems you are making excuses for and taking on the responsiblilty for a decison your daughter has made. From your post it seems that while she over all is a sensible girl, she made this regrettable decision on her own. At this point, the most important things are to have your daughter tested for STD's, require her to be on birth control, keep the lines of communication open and move forward.

My now 26 y/o daughter had sex for the first time 2 weeks before her 19th birthday. She stayed in the relationship with that young man for 5 1/2 years, mostly because he was her first and she felt internal and external pressure to stay with him for that reason. I very strongly recommended birth control and for them to not get married for which my daughter has thanked me many, many times. Any suggestion from anyone for this young couple to get married should be avoided. Maybe they will stay together and eventually get married, maybe they will not. If they do marry now they would likely end up divorced. Divorce rates for marriages under age 25 are quite high. (Google: Divorce Rates)

As a side note, my best friend in high school got pregnant at 3:00 in the afternoon at a church picnic in a wooded area of the church property. It is nearly impossible to watch over your teenaged children at all times.

mayamay's picture

My suggestion that marriage be discussed, along with other options should pregnancy happen, is because it helps put their "true love" and the possibility of lifetime commitment because of an un-aborted pregnancy into clearer perspective.

Sexually active girls are less likely to complete high school, less likely to complete college, and extremely unlikely to complete graduate school as young adults. It is all too easy to give up what you want most for what you want now.

These kids are choosing "adult" behaviors, a conversation about adult consequences is in order.

Sister83's picture

I agree with the other posters, but two more things:

First, I want to stress that you should nip this marriage talk in the bud right now. When I was in high school, I was madly in love... I had a "promsie ring" and everything. If my parents would have seemed at all supportive of getting married, I probably would have done it. I can't imagine what my life would be like now had I married my high school sweetheart. Now, obviously some young marriages work out, and your daughter and her boyfriend are different people.. but still.. I would not advocate it or indicate that you would support them getting married right out of high school.

Second, she *really* needs to be on oral contraceptives, in addition to condoms. There are hundreds of different oral contraceptives- sometimes it is a matter of finding the one that works best. She could also consider the IUD.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Get your daughter tested regardless of if it's their first time or not. Do it for peace of mind and to educate your daughter about STDs.
Put your daughter on birth control she can tolerate.
Buy condoms and stress to your daughter the importance of using them regardless of the birth control she's on.
Always keep the lines of communication open. Stress the importance of staying in school. I wldn't encourage marriage right away. You said your daughter wants to go to med school. Allow her to pursue that w/out the distractions of marriage. If it's meant for her to be w/ this guy, it will happen.
Look into after school programs at school or sports in your town. These things along w/ work will keep your daughter more occupied.
I believe it's inevidable that your daughter will have sex w/ her boyfriend. Before long she'll be driving, and you obviously can't be there every second watching over her. Just do your best to educate your daughter, and teach her to make responsible choices. Stay in close contact w/ her while you're at work so you always know where she is. Most importantly, stress honesty. The last thing you want is for your daughter to shut down and stop communicating w/ you or start sneaking around and lying. Set the rules, and make sure she follows them. Be firm, but also be realistic. All this doesn't stop your daughter from having sex, but it will get her to open up to you. This is so important. Don't ever lose that.