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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.

I’m worried my mom will be disappointed I had sex with my boyfriend

May 28, 2016

Happy Saturday. Today we’re talking about teens and sex.

Hey Terra,

I’m worried about telling my mom about have sex with my boyfriend. I think she’ll be fine with it but I don’t want her to be disappointed because I’m young, what shall I do?

Freaking Out

It’s not a four letter word

Dear Freaking Out,

You’re not alone here. For the record, no matter how old we are, there’s always a part of us that craves Mom’s approval. Just saying.

Now let’s talk about  you. You say you think your mom will “be fine” with it, but you don’t want her to be “disappointed” in you because you are young. Without getting into a debate about “How young is too young to have sex?” I’ll say this: I hope you used protection, the sex was a positive experience, and you have no regrets about it. That’s the best anyone can expect.

You can’t change your age (obviously) and your mom is likely to find out about it anyway, so the question is: How important is it to tell her? If it is very important, then you might say something like this, “Mom, you know that ______ and I love each other.  He and I have had lots of serious conversations about sex and recently we decided that we were both ready to have sex. And we did. I just wanted you to know.”

Then close your mouth and listen to what she has to say. She may be upset or disappointed. She may be happy for you. She may have already assumed you two were having sex so your news won’t be a big deal. Her reaction is not the key factor here. The most important thing is whether you feel good about your decision. It’s not your job in life to make sure everyone around you is happy with everything you do. That would be living your life for them. This is your life. Live it in a way that makes you proud of who you are.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,
Terra

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“I’m jealous over my boyfriend’s ex!”

March 31, 2016

Hey Terra,

Stop kissing her right now!

Stop kissing her right now or I’m gonna do something you won’t like!

I’m with this guy for like 6 months, he’s my first boyfriend and my big love ( even if he’s not my first I fell in love with)… I have a real problem, I’m jealous of his past. He lived so much with his ex and I want this relation to work out the best, but  I don’t know if he thinks the same.  How can I get over this jealousy? It’s driving me crazy! – Jealousy Sucks

Dear Jealousy Sucks –

It sure does! But you don’t have to let jealousy control you or your relationships.

You can’t change your boyfriend’s relationship history: who he has been with,  how they felt about each other, and what they did. That’s over. Done.  Same with your past crushes. (Yes, I’m talking about the first person you fell in love with.)

The only place we can live is right now. If we’re not here, we’re no where at all. (Think about that the next time you space out imagining your guy with his ex.)

Look, either this relationship is what you and this guy both want now or it isn’t. If it turns out the relationship doesn’t last, for whatever reason, then so be it. Take what you learned into your next relationship and do better. But if you can not “get over” your jealousy, then you will be equally jealous of the next guy’s ex or exes.

So what’s in the way of your just saying to yourself, “He is with me now because he loves me. That’s all that matters.”?

How do you kick jealousy to the curb? Sometimes it takes help. If you’ve got a school counselor, you might want to pop in and talk to him or her about how to deal with jealousy. You might also check out some library books about the subject (there are plenty!). Or have a look at this article I wrote. One thing is for sure, doing nothing, is probably not going to help. If you let your jealousy ruin this relationship and you don’t figure out a healthy way to deal with these feelings, the same mistrust and jealousy will likely mess up your next relationship. You don’t want that! So work on this. You can do it.

Good luck!  I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Annie (aka Terra)

Filed under: Parenting,Teens — Tags: , , — Annie @ 3:47 pm
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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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