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Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Should I just send the nude pictures and make him happy?

December 8, 2014

This feels weird, but as long as he's happy....

This feels weird, but as long as it makes him happy….

Smart girls and guys often make stupid choices. Smarter teens recognize when something feels off. They’re the ones who stop beforehand to get a second opinion. Here’s a recent email I received from a smarter girl:

Hey Terra,

My boyfriend and I have a long distance relationship and he really wants nude pictures of me. He doesn’t pressure me about it, but I have a hard time explaining why I can’t do it. I was raised with conservative values, though I have different views from my parents on lots of things. I’ve realized it’s okay to break certain rules, but I can’t even take the picture without feeling disappointed in myself or guilty. He understands my boundaries, but I still feel bad about it. I know plenty of other girls do it and I feel abnormal. Should I just send the pictures anyway, even if I’ll feel down about myself but will make him happy??

–Feeling Abnormal

Dear Feeling Abnormal,

You already know the answer to this one, but it sounds like you need support. OK, here it is: NO. You should not “just sent the pictures anyway, even if (you) will feel down about (yourself) but make him happy.” No way!

It’s not your job to make your boyfriend happy. It is your job to live your life in a way that makes you proud of who you are. Sending nude pictures will not make you feel proud. You know that, so don’t do it.

Now, let’s talk about this request. You say “he doesn’t pressure me about it…” and yet he must be pressuring you because you “know he really wants” these nude photos of you. Repeated, insistent requests = PRESSURE. He is pressuring you about it. He is not “understanding (your) boundaries.” This is not OK.

I hope you’ve told your boyfriend how uncomfortable you are with these requests. If you haven’t yet been crystal clear, here’s what to say to him ASAP: “When you ask me for nude photos it makes me really uncomfortable.” If he asks, “Why?” Simple say, “Because it does. So stop asking.” If that doesn’t get him to quit bugging you, then you need to seriously consider what kind of guy he is and why you are still in this relationship.

I hope this gives you the courage and support you need to do the right thing.

Does it?

In friendship,
Terra

Thank you, Terra.

I guess I just needed someone to confirm it for me.

–Happily from Not Feeling So Abnormal Anymore

This smarter girl just joined the group of Smartest Girls – the ones who demand the respect they are worthy of. How are you teaching your daughter to respect herself, to treat others with respect, and to demand respect from friends and partners?

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 2:08 pm
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Teen girl: I wanna have sex to be over and done with it!

April 15, 2013

This morning’s email brought some of the usual questions from TeenWorld:

  • How do I stop being shy so I can make more friends?
  • Should I tell me bff that I kissed her bf?
  • My friend can be kinda mean, but my life wouldn’t be the same with out her. What should I do?
  • My parents accuse me of smoking and doing drugs. I don’t! How can I get them to trust me?

Be careful what you wish for

And then there was this one. Even though I’ve heard it before, somehow it felt new. I responded right away, but if that’s all I did only one girl would see it.  For something this important I decided to go bigger.

Girls, have a read. So when it comes to self-respect, relationships and sex, we can get clear on a few basics. If you’re a mom with a girl of your own,  you should read it too. (Just don’t go nuts and accuse your daughter of anything! Not helpful for keeping open the portals of trust and communication.)  And if you’re a teen guy or a dad, probably a good idea for you to read it too. Then you can think (and maybe even talk) about respect and relationships and the god’s honest truth that girls and guys don’t typically share a common perspective on sex and what it means.

Hey Terra,
A lot of my friends have lost their virginity and I really want to lose it and get it over and done with. This guy that I’ve known for ages but haven’t seen for a while wants me to come over tomorrow have sex with him. I want to, but I don’t know what the consequences are. A lot of people said you get attached and some don’t. I don’t know what to do. Can you please help me!!!

Wanna Lose it Already

Dear Wanna Lose It,

I don’t know if your friends are in loving, mutually respectful relationships (I sure hope so) but if what they’re doing is right for them, that doesn’t automatically make it right for you. You wrote to me for a second opinion. That indicates you’re wondering if having sex is the right move for you at this time.

You asked about the “consequences.” I don’t know how old you are or why you’re in such a hurry to not be a virgin any more. But I do know that sex isn’t something you do because you want it to be “over and done with.”  That makes sense if you’re talking about taking out the trash or working on a dreaded homework assignment. But when it comes to sex, getting it “over and done with” is wrong thinking that will lead to a lot of disappointment and  heartache.

Sex ought to be an act of love. If there isn’t mutual respect and trust, it’s just not good. Especially for girls. If your friends think of sex as something very casual that you do with just anybody, then it’s likely they will go from one sex partner to another, feeling crappy about themselves, empty and unloved.

Please do not follow in their footsteps.

As for the guy that you’ve know “for ages” who wants to have sex with you tomorrow. Don’t take that as a great offer or as a compliment. He wants to use your body so that he can have an orgasm. Afterwards, he will send you away and tell everyone what you let him do. Then his friends will text, saying they want to have sex with you too. Other girls will start talking about you. And if you do get “attached” to the first guy, he’ll make it very clear that he wants sex, not a relationship. All of this is going to make you feel horrible. And, on top of that, you might get pregnant. (Another very real consequence.)  You might also get a sexually transmitted disease.

But what you most certainly will NOT get, is a feeling of being loved and treasured. You deserve that. If you settle for less you’ll regret it.

I hope this helps you sort out your feelings so that you can make your own decisions. One that’s 100% right for you.

In friendship,
Terra

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , — Annie @ 1:07 pm
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Single mom + Son + Conversation about Girls=Awkward

January 27, 2012

Got this email today from a single mom who just discovered her teen son has been pressuring girls to “put out.” She felt unsure how to talk to him about it. Obviously she’s not the only single mom out there who can’t rely on a positive male role model to set a boy straight on what is and what is not OK when it comes to relationships. With her permission, I’m sharing her email and my response. Hopefully it will empower other moms to get proactive in educating their sons about empathy and respect.

Dear Annie,

I spied on my 13 year old son’s computer and found out he pressures girls for “second base.” If they don”t comply he dumps them.  His last girlfriend told people he dumped her because she would not put out.  I don’t know how to address this with him.  I am a single mom and am very upset that I have raised a boy that would do this to girls!  The worst thing is that some girls agree.  How should I talk to him about this?

Confused Single Mom

Dear Single Mom,

It’s a good thing you found out. Now that you know what’s been going on you can give your son a needed course correction.

Yes, it would be easier if Dad were in the picture, but since that doesn’t seem to be the case, the honors fall to you. You might say something like this, “You are old enough to have girlfriends, so I want to talk to you about boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. Don’t worry. This isn’t about about sex, so you can relax. This is about relationships, which, by the way, are a 2-WAY Street. If you want a good girlfriend, you have to be a good boyfriend. Tell me what you think it means to be a good boyfriend.”

Then close your mouth and LISTEN to what he has to say. I’m guessing he’s never thought about it. He may just shrug and say “I dunno.”

That’s when you say, “OK. I understand you may not know. After all, they don’t teach classes in this, though they should. But a guy needs to learn how to be a good boyfriend, so I’m going to tell you what I know from the girl’s point of view. No girl likes to be pressured into doing things she’s not ready for.  Guys who pressure girls to “do stuff” are being disrespectful. Good guys don’t do that. And good guys make good boyfriends. The kind of girls who make good girlfriends (the only kind worth falling for), are girls with self-respect. They will stand up for themselves. They will say “No, I’m not going to do that. And I don’t like it when you pressure me. So just stop.”

ASK: What do you think about a girl’s right to say ‘Stop pressuring me.”?

LISTEN for his answer.

Ultimately it’s your responsibility to teach your son how to treat people with respect. That includes friends, teachers, kids he may not particularly like, and girlfriends. He needs you to step up and teach him about respect and empathy (taking the other person’s point of view.)

Tell him you have some information that he’s been pressuring girls to do things they don’t want to do. Tell him, this is WRONG because it is DISRESPECTFUL. Say: “Maybe you didn’t know this before. But now that we’ve had this conversation, you know it’s wrong. From now on, I expect you to always treat the people you are with with respect. If I find out that isn’t the case, there will be a consequence. Do we understand each other?”

How’s that?

In friendship,
Annie

Hi Annie,
That is such a great reply. I really appreciate your response. There is so much teen dating advice on web for girls. It would be helpful if moms of boys took some proactive steps towards this problem too. I couldn’t find much. I am going to speak with him this weekend. Will let you know how it goes. God bless you.

(More confident) Single Mom

Happy to help. ;O)

________________
An easy way to ease into one of these discussions is through my Teen Relationships Bill of Rights. Check it out and share it with your son and daughter.

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Two sides of the story

December 29, 2011

Before I watched the sunset it was a normal Wednesday. David and I ate oatmeal and read the paper. I went on poop patrol in the yard. Drove to Spanish class. Filled up the car. And answered this email from a desperate teen:

Hey Terra,

I can’t take it much longer. I like this boy and he has known for about 1 week now. We’ve known each other since 2nd grade. I hate when he dates other people but mostly this one girl and he’s dating her again! He said he does things he don’t want to for her and she put him through hell last time. I hate this cause if it happens again I’m going to be hurting because I love him so much. What do I do?

Desperately in Love

I wrote back:

Dear D in L,

I understand that you love this guy and you’re very upset when he’s “put through hell” by his girlfriend. But there are two sides to this story. Let me tell you about the other one.

Nobody is forcing the boy to date this girl.

Nobody is forcing him to “do things for her” and nobody is forcing him to stay and put up with “the hell” you say she’s putting him through.

Maybe you think everything would be wonderful if he’d only see how perfect you are for him. But life doesn’t work that way. He makes his own choices and don’t let him try to convince you that someone else is controlling him.

If he wants to end it with his girlfriend, he will… if and when he’s ready.

If he wants to be with you or someone else, he will… if and when he’s ready.

I’m sorry you’re frustrated and hurting, but that’s can happen when you try to control a situation you have zero control over. If you’d like to feel better and more in control of your emotions, I have a suggestion. The next time the boy tells you about “the hell” his girlfriend is putting him through, you might encourage him to stand up for himself in this relationship. Of course, telling him is your choice. You’ll either do it or not.

And if you do, he’ll either take your advice. Or not.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Terra

Then I put the dog in the car and grinned at her reflection, joyously hanging out the window, sucking in all those end-of-the-year-in-Northern California smells.

A little ways down the road, we parked, climbed the hill and hiked along the ridge.

Then I saw this

 

4:12:18

and this

4:12:58

and this

4:13:33

and this

4:42:21

and…

4:51:54

 

This word-junkie has nothing worth saying about what I saw. Only that there were two-sides of Wednesday. Before I watched the sunset and after.

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , , , — Annie @ 11:35 am
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