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So the other day I walked in on our teenager and caught his girlfriend with her pants down. It is quite clear what they were intending to do.

Now he claims he had no intention of having sex with her, he was just "taking a look". However, we all know where such behaviour inevitably leads.

I am really not sure where how to proceed.

He is 15, she is 13. It is against the law to have sex at that age. In 9 months time he will be 16 and she will still be 13. It will be even more against the law then.

Also it is quite clear to me that this girl is quite vulnerable. She comes from a broken and quite possibly violent home. Our son is adamant he loves her and only wants the best for her.

Everything about the situation is just bad in my book. However, I don't really see that there is much I can do to prevent it. I can tell him he isn't allowed to see her anymore. But that will truly ruin the relationship I have with him and they will see each other at school. Right now he says he has gone over to a friends house, but I am sure he is probably with her. I can't stop this from happening.

Do I provide him with contraceptives? Thus sending him the message that it is ok to have sex. At least it avoids pregnancy, but it isn't going to prevent the possible emotional turmoil that can come with hugely underaged sex.

Should I let her come round to our house again? Do I let them up into his room with the door closed? Trying to prevent the inevitable would just mean they will find other places to do it. Is that any better? At least it would reduce the number of times they could have sex.. Is that preferable?

What do I need to explain to him / talk to him about to help him act as responsibly as possible in this situation?

Thanks

  • 7
    You say that everything about this situation is bad, but to me it looks like 1) your child is exploring himself (which isn't in and of itself a bad thing) and 2) you're aware of the behaviors before something life-changing happens they aren't prepared for (STIs, pregnancy) - so not everything is bad! – corsiKa Feb 18 '15 at 15:29
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    Whether he'd actually be prosecuted or not is another matter, but never mind "many jurisdictions". The UK does not have a Romeo-and-Juliet defence, but there is a lesser offence where the offender is under 18. It's still an offence, though, even if the other party consents (which legally they cannot do under any circumstances if under 13, but can in some circumstances from 13+). The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is the thing to check for the details, but the questioner is correct to say that it would be illegal. – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 17:28
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    "She comes from a broken and quite possibly violent home" -- what did child protection social services tell you when you contacted them? – DanBeale Feb 18 '15 at 18:48
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    @Mari-LouA - amen to that. "The girl is thirteen, she may think she knows her mind but she doesn't." - Amen to that, too. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '15 at 20:02
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    They have been dating for about 5 months now. They do seem pretty close. They would even face time each other all night whilst sleeping just to feel close to each other. (I did put a stop to it when I found out.) – ScientistSteve Feb 18 '15 at 20:41

13 Answers 13

52

You can no longer micromanage your son's activity

You have probably noticed that your can't control your son's actions by force or persuasion anymore, if you ever could. He's old enough now to be self directed, which is scary. The only thing you can do is to give him a moral framework in which to live.

Provide a credible moral framework

Can you explain to yourself why you think this is wrong? Is it purely because he could get into trouble with the law? Is it because of your religious convictions? Is it because you're worried he or his girlfriend might get hurt? Teenagers typically have a fairly high tolerance for risk and warning him about heartache or legal consequences is unlikely to have an effect.

Give him the information he needs to make the right choice, then trust him

You need to show him how to act, but more importantly explain why he should act in that way. You can't prevent him from acting by force or threats any more. He will make his own decisions now and there's little you can do to prevent that, so give him the information he needs to make the right choice.

After that all you can do is trust him. That's a pretty scary thing.

Best of luck.

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    I am more concerned about her. I feel that she is too young and too immature and that she is only doing it to please him because she craves acceptance. – ScientistSteve Feb 18 '15 at 16:27
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    Then you need to explain that to him in a way that hits his head, but more, that he feels in his heart. It needs to be real for him. – superluminary Feb 18 '15 at 16:39
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    @Daniloloko - actually in the UK at least, sex between a 16yo and a 13yo is statutory rape. It's very illegal. Teenagers typically have high ideals and low respect for authority though, so I doubt the law would deter him. – superluminary Feb 18 '15 at 16:42
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    I would add to this that you need to a) explain the situation to an adult the girl trust (could be her parents, teacher, yourself) and have that person talk over the same points as you do with your son. b) Explain to your son what consent really means, and that she can say yes, change her mind half way through, and say no. you can also maybe help them by pointing out many alternatives to sex, all the way up to mutual masturbation. – Ida Feb 18 '15 at 21:40
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    All of human history has shown that "providing a moral framework" does not prevent much where sex is concerned. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 18 '15 at 22:04
41

Your son is nearly sixteen, and that means he's clearly beyond the point where you can 'make' him do things - and it seems like you agree based on your question. So what that means, to me, is the important thing is to help him understand the consequences of his actions. Teenagers are of ten able to make good choices when they understand the full consequences of their actions, but they're unable to understand those consequences fully in many cases, or at least think about them.

That means that you should have an adult conversation with him, where you do two things: you make sure he knows the consequences of his actions, and you give him an opportunity to ask you questions about anything he is unsure about. How you approach him is the real complication: depending on your relationship with him, it may be very difficult to establish the conversation as a real conversation and not a lecture. Nonetheless it's very important to structure it that way.

I wasn't a big fan of how my parents dealt with situations like this with me, though fortunately it wasn't all that important because I was a curious, research-oriented kid who learned a lot about this on my own, and I was also very consequence-averse. But the one thing they did right, was when my father did have a conversation with me (at about 16, in fact), it was focused on the first part of the below. He treated me like an adult, didn't try to tell me "you can't have sex" or even "you shouldn't have sex", just focusing on discussing what I should think about before I choose to have sex, and what those possible consequences are. While we had our differences particularly at that age, this conversation went miles better than I suspect many do.

The main consequences you want to discuss:

  • Physical consequences. Is he aware that even at 13 she can get pregnant? What does he know about birth control? Two kinds of protection is best: is she protected as well as he - is she on the pill? In this kind of relationship it's not unheard of for a girl to choose to try to get pregnant to hope to 'keep' the protector in her life; is he able to ensure that won't happen?

  • Financial consequences. Given all sex involves some risk - and get the actual percentage of "protected" sexual encounters that still involve pregnancy, it's not that low; it's over 1% of people who regularly have sex with a single protection source per year, at least for condoms - what would you do if she did get pregnant? How would he change his plans for the future- would he still go to university and expect her to work to support the child, would they live with one of the parent sets and expect them to help, etc; while he doesn't have to make firm plans now, he should be aware of the potential problems and at least consider the solutions.

  • Legal consequences: is he aware of the legal consequences of his actions? Are you sure you know the complexity of this sort of thing? The combinations of exceptions can be difficult to navigate to laws in some places - I'm not in the UK so I don't know the law there. But make sure you know exactly what the law is, and make sure he does as well. I would start by asking him if he knows what the legal consequences are first, or if there are consequences.

  • Relationship consequences. If they begin a physical relationship, that will have consequences on their relationship with each other, and their relationships with others. Talk through how the different relationships might change. His parents (ie, you), her parents, their friends, siblings, etc. - all could be impacted. Not a reason not to do it necessarily - but something to be aware of and to consider, particularly how they can ameliorate some of the downsides.

As far as his and her personal situation goes, there's another one - and this has some bearing in all cases, but in particular here.

  • Psychological consequences: is he aware of the consequences of having a physical relationship with this girl, given the power relationship and her prior experiences? It may not be a bad thing - it may be a good thing, even, depending on circumstances - but it will have consequences, and he'll need to be aware of them. It also will have consequences on his psychology; he should be cognizant of those, and be aware of how to identify when something is going wrong.

I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of, largely based on what my parents talked about with me and what my wife said her parents and school did (My school wasn't so forward thinking, sadly). That's a lot - and way too much for one conversation, and especially if it's brought forward with a lecturer approach. Think about how to discuss this in parts, because it could take hours - and maybe some of it is simply seeding his mind with 'think about this side of things'. He's an adult soon, and capable of thinking for himself; trust him to, while making sure he's aware of these concerns. Discussion, not lecturing, is key. And hopefully I remember all of this in ten or so years when I need to have this conversation with my children...

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    "The combinations of exceptions can be difficult to navigate to laws in some places" - Law.SE is now open for business in Beta stage, and could hopefully be a resource for just that kind of question if jurisdiction is supplied – user3143 Aug 31 '15 at 11:10
  • The age of consent in the UK is 16. However fpa.org.uk/factsheets/law-on-sex says that they won't prosecute where the ages are similar and they mutually agree to have sex. The trouble is that the boundaries are not clear and 16 vs 13 might not be similar enough. – Paul Johnson Jun 10 '16 at 18:51
  • Your misinterpreting condom succes rates. Condoms prevent 99% of pregnancies that would have happened, but not every act of intercourse would lead to pregnancy. The odds of pregnancy for a single act is roughly only 10%, Thus the odds of a single sexual act using a condom leads to pregnancy is actually around 0.1% – dsollen Aug 9 '18 at 18:42
19

I agree with your concerns for the girl. There are some great suggestions in the other answers, so I'll limit myself mostly to consequences for the girl. Let's assume you can't stop them from having sex, which doesn't mean the discussion shouldn't take place; they can still be in a relationship with each other that doesn’t involve sex.

Discussions with your son should always be welcome, honest, patient, and respectful, so that they can come to you with any problem they might have.

Your son states he is adamant that he loves her and only wants the best for her. At 15, and certainly at 13; they probably doesn't know what's best for her. Discuss with him what “best for her” means. That does mean taking special care not to hurt her (she needs love and respect from people she cares about). In adolescents, early sexual experiences play a significant part in their future ability to form solid, trusting relationships. While such sexual experiences can be positive, they can also have a harmful effect on mental and physical health and development. It is important that young people are mature and ready before they engage in sexual activity.

Young adolescents tend to be less deliberative and rational about sexual decisions than older persons. There is an ever-increasing sexualization of pre-adolescent girls in western societies. Is he aware of the damaging effects on decision-making that this has on girls? What is his definition of love and respect? (For that matter, what is his definition of "enthusiastic consent" and "mutually pleasurable"?)

Sex at 13 is illegal. Even adults often feel like doing lots of things, but can’t because the law says they can’t. Discuss the ramifications of this with your son. But worse that merely illegal, the female usually bears the brunt of the consequences of sex at this age. Her parents have a right to know what's going on with her. Is your son ready for what might happen to him and her when her parents find out? Who will tell the parents?

What will happen to her reputation? Sexually active girls are often treated differently by other young people. Terms such as "slut" and "slag" are thrown around with alarming ease. If they break up, how will having had sex affect her future relationships? (She is more likely to be coerced/manipulated into having sex by future partners.)

The younger adolescents are when they begin having sex, the greater their risks of negative consequences, and early sexual intercourse experiences often are psychologically coercive. For the girl, learning more about social pressures, negotiation, and refusal skills is important. Even the small difference in their ages for her may represent a power imbalance. If she is not enthusiastically consenting (she is only 13), they shouldn't be having sex.

Contraception: if he's not using contraception every time, then he's not doing what's best for her. Seven in ten pregnancies to adolescent teens occur to teens who were not using any method of contraception when they became pregnant. Adolescents engage in risky sexual behaviors because they believe that they have little to lose. Adolescents who value education and job success and who perceive their future opportunities optimistically should have stronger motivation for avoiding early pregnancy and parenthood.

Girls from abusive backgrounds and those with poor relationships with their parents tend to have sex earlier. They also tend to get pregnant more often and are more likely to keep the baby (this was taken from a UK website). What will your son do if she gets pregnant? (Currently, only about two percent of premarital births are relinquished for adoption.) Teenage fathers do not involve themselves very deeply in their new role. Furthermore, the young man often leaves the child’s mother during pregnancy or during the two years after birth. How will keeping the baby affect her future? His? Also, her future ability to educate herself and find a good job are affected by having a baby. Is this what is best for her?

If she gets pregnant, who will pay for the abortion (if she chooses that route) or child care if she keeps it?

If they do have sex, because of her age, there should never be alcohol involved, or her parents might be able to sue regardless of what she says happened.

Should I let her come round to our house again?

Sure. She's an important part of his life. That should make her an important part of yours. In fact, you might even look upon her as a daughter. Which means, if she were your 13 year old daughter, would you want her to be having sex?

Would I let them close the door? No, I wouldn't. Would I supply condoms? No, but I'd make sure he bought them with his own money; if he can't afford condoms, he can't afford any of the responsibilities of sex.

Teenage pregnancy

  • "If she gets pregnant, who will pay for the abortion" -- among many difficult issues, I think that one's easy to answer. The NHS will. Of course, people who find this question in the future might not be in countries with socialised healthcare like the questioner is... – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 19:57
  • @SteveJessop - Thank you! I was wondering if the NHS covered that. Not all insurances do in the US. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '15 at 19:59
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    It isn't for everyone, nhs.uk/conditions/Abortion/Pages/Introduction.aspx says "Funding of NHS abortion services differs in various parts of the country. The level of NHS provision ranges from more than 90% of local demand to less than 60%". But I don't see how a 13-year-old could possibly not be treated as a priority. Also, abortion is mostly illegal in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the questioner only specified "UK". I don't know if there's any exception for children, or if she'd have to travel. – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 20:02
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    +1 especially for encouraging her to come around to the house. Gives them a chance to hang out together in a non-sexual context, if nothing else! – Acire Feb 18 '15 at 20:04
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    @SteveJessop - From what I read on the UK Adolescent Sexual activity site, under 13 is a top priority for services, then 13-15 (all manner of services available for these groups), so I imagine that yes, it would. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '15 at 20:05
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You need to bring some other adults into the equation. The first people I'd talk to is her parents. Yes, part of the problem might be that she doesn't have great parents but that's why you need to talk them, even more than if her parents are good.

The second type of person to talk to is a trusted teacher, or maybe neighbor, who has dealt with both your son, and the girl. Having another adult "counselling" them, and looking over their shoulder won't hurt, and may help.

In the last case, you should talk to both the son and the girl, and explain to them how illegal the act is and how unprepared they are for the potential consequences. As a "sugar coating," you could tell them that it will be ok when they are both over 16 (in two-plus years).

In any case, I would not "condone" the act by giving them contraceptives. You can't follow your boy around, but to protect yourself legally, you ought to tell your son that if you catch him doing it again in your home, he will be severely punished. The last thing that you want is to be accused of "harboring" underaged activities.

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    I disagree with "explain to them..." and "how unprepared they are...", because I think that implies they're not mature people who might very well be prepared and might know the consequences. They might not, hence a discussion, but coming from the point of view of "I'm telling you..." is not going to work. I also don't think that 'protect yourself legally' is important here nor is it actually effective: if they do something illegal, I don't think telling the judge "Sorry your honor, I told him he'd be punished if he did it" will work. – Joe Feb 18 '15 at 17:26
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    I would be concerned with bringing up a daughter's sexual activity to parents who are uninvolved, uncaring, and/or abusive -- it isn't likely to end well for the girl, and OP's son would blame his father for any punishment she is given. It doesn't really provide a foundation of trust. – Acire Feb 18 '15 at 18:13
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    We have already talked to the mother. Her wishes need to be respected. She wants to talk to the father before deciding what to do. She didnt sound too unreasonable. – ScientistSteve Feb 18 '15 at 20:15
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    @ScientistSteve - that's a great step forward. Now the responsibility is shared, and they can have the necessary talks with their daughter. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '15 at 21:58
  • @ScientistSteve for me, now you will be the problem of the relation between then two... not the sex problem, im only telling a true history... the problem of it is that you already said that she cames from a violent home... The best thing was to go to school and try to ask what to do to someone thats LIVE whith IT every DAY... not from the internet. In other worlds "the necessary talks" gone be other thing. – Danilo Breda Feb 19 '15 at 16:35
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Contraception

You don't want to make this situation worse, so make sure your son has access to condoms and knows how to use them.

That includes showing him how to put one on (ususally done with a banana) and making him practise, making sure he understands that — contrary to the common misconception — a girl can get pregnant on her first time, that he needs to wear them from the get-go, that wearing two condoms is less safe instead of more since they can tear due to the friction, and so on.

Make sure he understands that this does not mean you condone them having sex, but that you want them to be safe above all.

You shouldn't have to fear prosecution yourself for doing so. According to the fact sheet provided by the CPS,

A person does not commit an offence of aiding or abetting a child sex offence if they give advice to children in order to:

  • protect them from sexually transmitted infection,
  • protect their physical safety,
  • prevent them from becoming pregnant, or
  • promote their emotional well-being.

This means that parents, doctors, other health professionals, in fact anyone can provide sexual health advice to children as long as their only motivation in doing so is the protection of the child.

However, people who cause or encourage the child to engage in the activity, or 'advise' children for their own sexual gratification, will be liable to prosecution.

Conversation

Instead, this can be the start of a conversation with him. Offer him condoms, but tell him you wish he wouldn't need them. Share your concerns that she may be in a position where she can't fully freely consent and that she is, or they both are, too young to be having sex yet.

I wouldn't mention your concerns regarding the legality too much. According to the same fact sheet,

The age of consent is 16. Because children can and do abuse and exploit other children, the Act makes it an offence for children under 16 to engage in sexual activity, to protect children who are victims.

However, children of the same or similar age are highly unlikely to be prosecuted for engaging in sexual activity, where the activity is mutually agreed and there is no abuse or exploitation.

The Crown Prosecution Service has issued guidance to prosecutors, which sets out the criteria they should consider when deciding whether or not it is in the public interest to bring a prosecution.

Their age difference is, if I understand your post correctly, 2 years and 3 months at the most. I am not a lawyer and certainly not an English one, but that does seem to fall under "same or similar age".

But more importantly, of all arguments possible, that one is least likely to convince them to not have sex (yet). Instead, try to gauge if they are both equally ready; if one party is more so than the other, try to dissuade them. You may try to outright forbid it, but I fear that that may not have the intended effect.

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    So much +1 for the contraception part. – Acire Feb 19 '15 at 12:28
  • I think this is a pragmatic answer. Some of us grow up faster than others and a two year gap is not that much. My understanding is that uk police and cpp are very understanding over this matter if it is mural – Ed Heal Aug 5 '15 at 17:48
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English Law: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/contents

Your son is 16 and thus would count as a child offender under the law. (Once he's 18 the law becomes much more serious, although it is serious for under 18s).

Note that he has already broken the law. He touched a child; the touching was sexual; he knew she was under 16. This offence carries a six month prison sentence. Because he is under 18 he is unlikely to get a prison sentence unless he's in a position of responsibility for her or she's a vulnerable person (diagnosed mental illness; learning disability; etc.) http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/fact_sheets/sexual_offences/

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/part/1/crossheading/child-sex-offences

13 Child sex offences committed by children or young persons

(1) A person under 18 commits an offence if he does anything which would be an offence under any of sections 9 to 12 if he were aged 18.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.

What should you do? Sit them both down and explain the severe consequences of their actions. These include STIs; pregnancy; criminal conviction and subsequent registration on sexual offenders register; impacts of a conviction upon employment; impacts of an arrest (even without conviction) on travel to some countries (eg: US). Explain to them that they need to wait until she is 16 and can give consent. You tell them that you cannot allow them to break the law in your home and that you have a duty to protect the girl from harm. You ask them if you can contact her parents or her social worker if she has one to get their help. The children may say no, (What did child protection social services say when you reported your concerns about her violent homelife to them?)

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    You might choose to take the max-scariness line with the child, but also note "children of the same or similar age are highly unlikely to be prosecuted for engaging in sexual activity, where the activity is mutually agreed and there is no abuse or exploitation. The CPS has issued guidance to prosecutors". You say, "he is unlikely to get a prison sentence", you could add if you chose "he is unlikely to be prosecuted" and I suspect "unlikely to be arrested". Unless, of course, someone deems that the relationship might be abusive, and he's wholly at the mercy of their judgement as to that. – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 18:58
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    ... I'm assuming of course that 15/13 would be considered "of similar age" in that guidance, without having seen it. – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 18:58
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    The issue might depend on whether the girl's parents choose to press charges. While prosecution seems quite unlikely in general, if there's somebody complaining on her behalf that could change. – Acire Feb 18 '15 at 19:23
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    Oh, and one more point, that five year max sentence applies to the whole range of sexual activity. There will be sentencing guidelines within this, that a lawyer could talk to you about should the details ever become important, or that might be available publicly from some reliable source or other. You don't want to create the impression that the child might as well be hanged for stealing a sheep as a horse, and that if he's already touched her then because full sex is the same offence it's the same thing... – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 19:51
  • I agree with the cautious approach, but from what I read (on a UK site), I think how you present this is not how this is actually handled unless he is in a position of power over her (he isn't) or unless she does not "enthusiastically consent". (A girl under 13 cannot do so.) Still, it is illegal. – anongoodnurse Feb 18 '15 at 20:10
6

There are two textbook definitions of adulthood. One is legal adulthood, where we've set dates from birth at which point you're entitled to certain privileges, and there's physical adulthood which is, quite simply, sexual maturity. Your son is quickly approaching both of these milestones in his life.

If your son is going to be engaging in adult behaviors, then he needs to be aware that there is no free lunch: he needs to accept the adult responsibilities too. Ultimately, this is entirely his decision (since he can, and probably will, go behind your back if you're not supportive anyway) although you can sway that decision with threats of punishment if that's what you believe is best for him.

What is most important is how can you handle this that best prepares him for adulthood? He absolutely needs to be educated about both the risks and rewards of sexual activity. They need to know that not all sex is the same, and some sexual activities are safer than others. And, it may sound unimportant, but there's some sexual activities that are a lot less physically painful for his girlfriend. Just sayin'.

You need to engage him in a way that you build trust and mutual respect. That means you being honest with him: you're scared for him, you're not 100% sure what you should do, and that you want to work it out with him together. And for you to do that, that he is honest with you: no sneaking out or lying, he trusts you enough to tell you what he really wants and how he really feels, and that he knows you'll support him as he makes his decisions.

Whether or not you give him contraceptives or what action you take should be the result of an in depth conversation you have with him.

Now all of this doesn't touch the legal system. Honestly, here the legal system throws a wrench in your ability to raise your son your own way. The only way to for this to be legal would be to have both you and her parents give consent, since she is legally unable to. Otherwise, once he turns 16, yes in the UK your son could go to prison for 2 years even if they don't touch each other. Of course, that's only if they find out and press charges, but still if you're teaching your son about how to weigh risks and benefits, going to prison and coming out a registered sex offender should be something that heavily influences a decision.

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    As near as I can tell, both being under the age of consent is still an offense. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing it's to scare kids into ignoring the natural signals their bodies send them because educating isn't something that can be done through the school and through the law, but punishing them is. Not that I'm opinionated or anything. – corsiKa Feb 18 '15 at 16:12
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    I have added all I really want to touch on for the legal system. This is parenting.stackexchange, not legal.stackexchange. OP knows there could be major consequences for his son already, I'm assuming he's either well versed on the laws, and will do further research anyway. And his son should too. The result should be a natural byproduct of their conversation. – corsiKa Feb 18 '15 at 18:01
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    English law: cps.gov.uk/news/fact_sheets/sexual_offences – DanBeale Feb 18 '15 at 18:27
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    @corsika - please provide some reference for your facts. As far as I can tell they're wrong and English law does not have gendered crimes for sex with a child. Your sentence seems wrong too - an adult having sex with a child risks a 14 year sentence; someone under 18 having sex with a child risks a 5 year sentence. – DanBeale Feb 18 '15 at 18:43
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    As for the two years part, that was a summary from the bbc: bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4hPrqzTRSBvvzHkTckNYNZ5/… which summarizes it as: A boy who has sex with a girl under 16 is breaking the law. Even if she agrees. If she is 13-15, the boy could go to prison for two years. If she is under 13 he could be sentenced to life imprisonment. A girl age 16 or over who has sex with a boy under 16 can be prosecuted for indecent assault. – corsiKa Feb 18 '15 at 18:56
6

A quicker response in order to cover something I view as an important point: teens have a much higher tendency towards risk-taking behaviors. Thus, while the legal aspects may be the most concerning to you, to your son the legal ramifications only apply "if we get caught." And of course, he'll NEVER get caught again.

I agree with the above posters that the key is making sure he's aware of all of the consequences and to engage with mutual respect, but keep in mind that he's going to do what he thinks is best for him and for her, not necessarily for you. If in his mind the only reason to use protection is to "avoid worrying my parents," the message hasn't been properly internalized.

5

You're in an unenviable position with your 15-year old right now. He's very close to the age where he's been told that he'll legally be allowed to participate in sex, but his girlfriend is still very far away from that age.

He may, however, be at an age that he will understand this somewhat complex situation - so you should definitely first consider just talking to him about it. Not just at him, but with him. Help him understand the reason he has to wait - that he would go to jail. And explain that he could go to juvinile hall (or the UK equivalent) even before he's 16.

But also talk to him about the other dangers involved. That no contraceptive is 100% safe and there's a chance, always a chance, that he could get this girl pregnant. Talk to him about maturity, and how though he may love this girl, that she is not in a position, at an age, or ready to commit to something this serious. And explain why what he is doing is not just wrong, but dangerous to him and to his girlfriend.

You won't be able to prevent them from seeing each other - they probably go to the same school, and probably have already thought of several ways to see each other without your consent. That is not a battle you can win, nor should you try to get on the adversarial side with them.

You probably will not get the chance to talk to this girl about the situation in the same way, but since she is coming over to your house to see your boy, you can at least try. She may not have parents who will have this talk with her, but as a guest in your house, you have every right to speak with her about this and explain this to her the same way you are explaining this to your son.

On the subject of talking to her parents about this...it may not be a good idea to start with explaining the whole situation first. Talk to them first about the fact that your children are 'together', and suggest to them that they may want to talk to their daughter about this topic - don't give a specific reason. You do not want this to be accusatory or confrontational. Not if you can help it.

Do make it clear to your son, however, that what he was doing is not acceptable - not that sex alone is unacceptable, but the level of things that he was doing when you caught him is not acceptable. Make that clear - or he may assume that you're only talking about 'the whole thing'.

Finally, make some ground rules to prevent this from happening again. Insist that all doors to rooms remain open when she comes to visit, and that he inform you when he is going to visit this girl. Make it clear you are interested in their well-being, not just in punishing them for bad behavior.

Utlimately, what you are trying to teach your son is that this is for his own good, and not just because you are morally objecting to it, but because it is dangerous for him and his girlfriend to be doing this at their age.


One more suggestion I can make is to figure out why he wants to do these sorts of things with her so badly. You may find out he has some misconception about what it means to be boyfriend/girlfriend, or that he's being peer-pressured at school, or that he has some other reason for acting the way he does. Knowing if there is some other problem that is leading him down this path will let you figure out how to properly handle it - and when you do, be sure to come back and ask what you might be able to do for such a situation, if it's not just him wanting to get closer to this girl.

5

First let me say the following.

There is no moral law (religious laws) and no "law of men" that can do anything at all to prevent teenagers from attempting to have sex. There is only one law that controls teenage sexual behavior and that is biology (the law of the jungle).

I would bet a lot of money that, if you allow these two kids to be alone, they will attempt to have sex. Young boys and girls are far too irresponsible to properly use birth control. Hormonal birth control can also be physiologically dangerous for any woman. Embolisms occur far too often in women.

I remember when I was your son's age a long time ago. I was a sex-seeking machine. Were it not for my father understanding this reality and skillfully blocking my every attempt to be alone with any girl, I could very easily have gotten a girl pregnant. We are creatures that are specifically designed to reproduce. That natural force is unstoppable without extremely active parenting.

Remember, to prevent this impending disaster (pregnancy), it will take 4 parents to actively prevent it from happening. If her parents don't give a damn, you are in a hell of a pickle. Perhaps you need to consider tactfully approaching her parents about preventing this impending disaster. Perhaps you all need to consider tactfully alerting the teenagers' teachers to be on the lookout for attempts at "reproducing".

As far as your son "...only wanting what is best for her...", that's ridiculous. He is probably barely capable of understanding what is best for his own left, pinky fingernail.

Preventing teenagers from behaving naturally requires an almost full-scale military operation of 4 active parents. Don't embarrass them. Don't hit them. Don't go overboard on punishment. Don't get hysterical. The kids are only behaving naturally. However, this behavior is like a hurricane in its intensity and needs an all-out prevention plan by all affected parents.

Knowing how I was when I was 15 years old, I'd never let myself be alone with a girl I was attracted to. And I can guarantee you I wasn't the most determined boy out there. That's REALLY scary!

5

Perhaps your son would be impacted by the true story of my 13-year-old cousin who experienced a 15-year-old boy who "loved" her in the same way. She had a baby when she was 14. Then she had an abortion as a result of someone else when she was 15. She became drug addicted, then a prostitute.

Please tell your boy that if he does this to her, even if no child is conceived as a result, he is showing only hate for her, not his love.

There is a reason why having sex with 13-year-old girls is illegal, and the same reason applies to 15-year-old boys as it does to fully grown men.

  • 5
    I wouldn't say "showing only hate," but perhaps "significant disregard" -- in other words, he isn't pursuing sex to directly damage her life, but he is failing to think of her well-being and putting his personal urges above what's best. – Acire Feb 19 '15 at 12:26
2

Things you might want to say:

  1. That he will possibly ruining his life: not only by going to jail (and not finishing high school, and having problems with college), but also by getting a 'sex offender' label that will follow him through his life
  2. That he will possibily ruin her life: with unwanted pregnancy, with a judicial procedure that inevitably breaks them up (yes, there are other reasons. But those are stronger/more imediattely comprehensible).
  3. That 13 years old are not biologically ready for sex and a possible pregnancy (even if she was emotionally mature — we know she isn't but that point is harder to argue — it would still be biologically very dangerous)
  4. If the matter is a matter of lust/curiosity, there are ways that are far morally superior to deal with the issue: finding a girl his age is one, professional services another. This is not meant to be a serious suggestion to visit a prostitute, but more as a contrast: his idea is so bad that even a prostitute would be preferable! Also, just by saying that, you might help him separate and understand better his emotions (considering that he is, in fact, very probably motivated by lust, but does not know it)
  • Thanks for a sensible answer. Some of the other answers verge on complicity (with its own legal consequences)! Love your point "his idea is so bad that even a prostitute would be preferable!" – Richard Feb 19 '15 at 0:12
2

Although the question stands at 7 months old now, I would like to shed some light on this as a 16 year old guy myself.

My girlfriend is 15, fully a year younger. We have been in a relationship since she was 13 and I was 14. We had sex for the first time at 14/15 and we are still together, with no children and both happy, while still practicing regular sex. Both my and her parents know about this and having spoken to them on the same level, they trust us.

My point is that children nowadays are much more mature around each other than around adults - it's something normal as even most of you act differently around your parents, thus your children's grandparents. The OP's son may need a chat, but don't go in with a story to scare him, and DO NOT SPEAK TO HER PARENTS! This will make your child distrust you, as it is something they should do when the time comes.

Ask him if he is ready and speak t him about what is important in sex - the pleasure of the other person, and that that is what should be bringing him enjoyement.

As to the previous answers pointing out the law - it is a very sexist and debased set of laws, which are mostly put in place to stop child sexual exploitation.

Just because they are young does not mean they are stupid or immature, or can't think for themselves and have to be given a framework.

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