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Answers to your questions on kids and sexuality

Question

My sixteen-year-old is sexually active with her boyfriend. I don’t approve, but I know I can’t stop this and I realize it’s normal for her age. My husband still views our daughter as his little princess and won’t let me put her on birth control. I’m doing it anyway and just won’t tell him. Is there any way I can convince him that he is wrong?

Answer

I don’t know the best way to handle the situation with your daughter but your approach with your husband is deceitful. Such dishonesty is like an acid that will burn the trust that should be the foundation of your marriage.

Disagreements about how to raise kids are normal but tell your husband if you decide to help your daughter with birth control. Maintaining that trusting relationship in your marriage is more important that avoiding the drama of an argument.

Question

My fourteen-year-old son would rather earn money babysitting rather than doing extra chores. He says it’s a lot easier, and the neighborhood kids really like him. I just have this funny feeling that something else may be going on but I don’t want to accuse my son of anything. I read so much about teens and sexual abuse and I really don’t know what to do.

Answer

You’ve asked me one of the toughest questions I’ve had in a long time.  While I don’t think it’s reasonable to condemn your son because of his age and gender, teenage males as a group have a disproportionally higher rate of sexually abusing younger children than other groups.

Have a frank discussion with your son about adolescent sexuality. Educate him on the various emotional and physical changes he is experiencing at his age. Be careful not to accuse him of being a child molester, but alert him to the fact that some teen boys for a variety of reasons use younger children in sexual ways.  Be clear about what sexual outlets are acceptable. Inform him of the life-long consequences (for him and the child) if he was ever to engage in any sexual contact with a youngster.

If he still wants to babysit, and if you feel comfortable after your conversation, let him babysit only at your house.  Trust your gut on this one.

Question

Can you tell if your seven-year-old son is gay?

Answer

It’s generally not until the later teen years that one’s sexual orientation becomes truly fixed, although a number of gay and lesbian adults report knowing by their preteen years. There is no test to evaluate your son’s sexuality at his age, and it really shouldn’t matter. Treat him as you would with any other child.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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