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April 11, 2008


Ha! I can one up you on that! True story...I folded up my son's clothes and put them lovingly into his drawer...found condoms. When he came home, I asked, "Hey, what's up with that?" His response was, "What about it? You've always preached safe sex." Sooo...when his gf came over, I asked her how long she had been having sex with my son...I thought she would faint! Ended up with me giving another sermon on commitment, safe sex, etc.!

The lesson here is...Don't ask anything that you really don't want to know!

PS...Banana flavored? Why?? Never mind...I really don't want to know.

Great post and I'm with you on all aspects. My son knows I just know but we don't dicuss it until he's ready. I've given him complete privacy and unless I stumble on it, I do not snoop.

We can have great sharing conversations or he'll look at me and I can see it's a not discussing subject. Just being in tune with them and seeing even if they don't know it makes it all work. Does this make sense LOL LOL

Sort of makes me wish for those days when all I had to lecture them on was sharing their toys...

Debbie - Yup. Isn't it so easy to go into "mom mode", trip over the privacy lines and end up somewhere you just don't want to be? Been there, done that. (And banana? Well, there's a certain phallic inevitability about the flavour, at any rate...)

Debbie - Being in tune with them, and being ready to listen when they're ready to talk is hard. Being willing to wait when they're not willing to talk is even harder. And sometimes you have to push them, whether they want to talk or not. Knowing when and when not to push for conversation is hard, and for me, pushing when they don't want to but I feel they must is the very hardest of all. Ugh.

SuburbanC - Ain't THAT the truth? At 18, he's technically an adult. He can drive, he can vote, (he can have sex!). In fact in two days, he'll be 19, an in my neck of the woods, old enough to drink, too.

But, despite the fact that he's basically a sensible young man, and mature for his age, he's still young and inexperienced ... and some days doesn't your parental heart just ACHE with all the very big mistakes and heartache they're open to now?

I am so happy my kids are still babies, I am soooo not mature enough to handle finding condoms in the washer. Its awesome that he is safe though.

Back in high school "Jaws" used to carelessly leave his IM's up on the computer screen. That was a goldmine of information. Now that he's in college my surveillance methods are limited. However,I have a friend whose daughter allows access to her Facebook page. I happen to know that Jaws Facebook page is linked to her daughter's page, so sometimes I check in there too. Otherwise, I'm pretty laissez faire. It's a delicate dance.

Eh, flavored condoms are a dime a dozen. I've never heard of anyone actually using one if anything else was available, and I've never heard of sex actually happening once the flavored condom was unwrapped. They smell. Strongly. It really kills the mood.

They tend to appear in the free baskets, and they tend to get passed around among teenagers. So, I would say a banana flavored condom is not really a sign of anything. They're novelty items.

I'd rather not know. My boys know about safe sex. All the deets. I refuse to allow them to engage in sex in my house(when I am present) it CREEPS me out bigtime. I'd prefer it be private, not on my premises and without my knowledge. Only the married folk in this house get to have sex on the premises. Call me staight laced. There are somethings I do not want to be aware of.

Great Post.

Banana flavored anything...yuck. A condom...triple yuck.

I'm just curious, did you give it back to him?

I only ask because my devil's streak would spend a lot of time trying to devise ways to make the most of the situation for my personal amusement.

Of course, in the end, I would probably satisfy myself with a handful of private jokes that I could share with Hubby and not say anything to my son at all.

I'm just curious how you handled it.

Teens are frequently careless and even more often oblivious about their surroundings and their "stuff," so all a parent really has to do is be alert to potential conversation pieces. I learned a lot about my son that way when he was growing up.

Of course, that assumes that parent and teen have a pretty healthy, communicative relationship in the first place, which is definitely not always the case. When it's not, kids become hyper-private and actually ARE careful about their stuff, and parents have been known to resort to snooping - which I don't think is ever OK, even though there may be any number of justifications given for it. (This is coming from a reformed snoop, by the way.)

But as you say, even healthy, communicative relationships have reasonable privacy zones as kids get older.

The Big Question: Does he read this blog? And if so, will he start cleaning up after himself? I almost hope the answer is no to both questions. At the least, it'll give you more material!

Audra - We grow up with our kids, don't we? Or maybe they grow us up!

Nina - Wow!! I can't believe he would be so oblivious. WHAT a goldmine. I'm astonished.

MaryAnn - Ha. That would explain the flavoured condoms, all right! However, this post tells about something that happened a few months back, in fact, and son has now confirmed that yes, he and the girlfriend have done the deed. And given the average age of first intercourse in North America is 17, if you find condoms in your 18-year-old's possession, I think you can be pretty sure they're for actual use. (And grateful they're being used!)

JaniceNW - The sex in the house issue is an odd one, no? To my knowledge, the kids haven't, not when I'm around. I think the idea makes them more squeamish than it does me. (What if mom HEARS us??) Do they make use of an empty house, the times they've been left for a few hours or a couple of days? Quite likely. I view this as a privacy issue: as long as my kids are practicing safe sex (and this one evidently is), and respectful sex (I can only hope, based on their characters), the rest is none of my business.

Zayna - I tossed it in the garbage, assuming a laundered condom would be less than fully effective. And yes, a handful of private jokes with my husband... Hee.

Florinda - If I ever had serious concerns that my kids were involved in self-destructive behaviour (which safe sex, even unmarried safe sex, is not), I am sure that I would snoop. Any way I could. In the normal run of things, I don't snoop. As you say: keeping the lines of communication open and being alert to the cues they leave around is the best way.

Daisy - No, he does not, though his older step-brother does, so he may get the warning, anyway. Given that Adam and I have talked about this now, he has nothing to hide. It might (might) make him a tad more discreet, but I'm not holding my breath!

OMG...I'm glad you went through this before me. Banana flavored??? Ugh!!!

I can beat you all - my son came home last summer from college with a BAG FULL. A large, gallon size baggie. Left in in the open, on a shelf in his bedroom. He is an RA, so has unlimited access to the freebies in the student center! Yes, I did ask him, and yes, we pummeled him with " so, you think you are Casanova or what!" type comments!He eventually put them away, but his younger sister still gave him a hard time!
It gets better - this Christmas, we had all 3 grandparents stay from England, and he was asked to clear everything personal from his room, so his Nana could sleep there - good job I checked, coz he left a strawberry flavored under the alarm clock!! Heart attack averted!!

I think you would have to be a little naive if you don't think that most hormone-driven teenaged boys aren't doing the deed, especially in a "committed" relationship. My sage advice to my three sons is to "always wrap that rascal!"

I think you would have to be a little naive if you don't think that most hormone-driven teenaged boys aren't doing the deed, especially in a "committed" relationship. My sage advice to my three sons is to "always wrap that rascal!" And we occasionally like to sneak home when we're supposed to be out. Keeps them on their toes!

Okay, I am totally freaked out! I have a 12 year old that is 5'6" and built better than I was at 18! I hope some Moms are preaching virginity! I sure am! All boys are hormone driven...and I expect boys to try, but I am pretty strict and I hope the opportunity won't arise for a long long time! Having strict parents kept me a virgin until college when I met my now husband of 22 years.

IMO preaching virginity today is a waste of time. Your kids will see you as totally unrealistic and may begin to ignore any other advice you give them as well. I totally agree with Ilona, talk the talk, provide the condoms and be EXTREMELY HAPPY if they are used.

Di - I'm thinking MaryAnn, above, was probably right as to the source of that particular condom. But then, maybe it was just curiosity. I've tried some weird things in my time before deciding "ugh"!

Emma - Strawberry flavoured under the alarm clock! LOL

One summer, my eldest had a volunteer position with a sexuality organization, and her job was putting condoms, a teeny packet of lube, and an informational folder into a small zip-loc baggie. Our dining table became an assembly line, with hundreds and hundreds of condoms on it, in boxes beside it, on the floor under it. I wish I'd taken pictures!

Therese - Wrap that rascal. Good advice!

Sharon - As long as you're giving her solid information about sex and sexual health, teaching her your values is appropriate and right. However, it's been long proven that keeping information from teens doesn't prevent or delay their sexual activity -- it just makes them more likely to get pregnant or contract a STD. Teach her modesty and the value of virginity, but also give her the information she needs to keep herself safe and healthy.

Terry - I tend to think preaching virginity till marriage is naive, but there are subcultures within the larger culture that support it, and make it more likely. In fact, I know a 20-year-old who has been in relationship for at least three years with a young woman he intends to marry, and I believe him when he says they're still virgins. I wouldn't believe many, but this fellow? Yes, I absolutely do. So it can be done. But can it be expected? Probably not.

Stats show that the age of first sex for teens in socially conservative homes and non-conservative tend to be very much the same. There is some lag for the conservative teens, but on average, only a matter of months.

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