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What to do when you find out your underage daughter is sexually active?

(37 Posts)
Event32 Fri 21-Jun-13 01:59:41

I am totally lost and need advice.
I am step-mum to a very beautiful 14yr old daughter. She spends week time with her mother and step-father, and comes to me and her father at the weekends and holiday times.
Earlier this year I found 'revealing' photographs of her on our family Ipad. She was bought an ipod touch for xmas, (an agreement by all the family). Little did she know that it was connected to all our home devices through the Icloud and that photos she took on her ipod would also go onto our ipad. It was a shock, underwear pictures but not naked.
We removed all her phone, ipod and computer items for a long period of time as we felt she could not be trusted or responsible. I did try to have a talk to her about why, where, who has seen them and who these photos were taken for etc..... I didn't get very far. All I could do was tell her that now we know about them, she can come to us if she needs to, we just want to protect her.
Since then I have been keeping an eye on her use of her Blackberry and monitored her using the family Ipad. My trust in her is a little shaken.
I have been in her life from a very early age and was not involved with her father until long after the divorce. Luckily I have a very strong and close relationship with her.
We have just come back from a family holiday. We allowed our daughter to use the Ipad on holiday. I picked it up for the first time this evening since we had returned and found her facebook account was still logged on. I opened up her Facebook profile as it was still logged on and looked around all her photographs and read her messages. (On a separate issue, I know she should not have a facebook account at 14. We have tried to keep her off FB but she set up her own accounts without our knowledge. Other family members alerted us to her use of Facebook and we agreed she could have one account with family members as friends so we can see what she is doing.) We hoped this would work to keep her somewhat safe, we were wrong. There were no 'lude' photographs but there were some VERY worrying messages.
It turns out she has a 17yr old boyfriend who has sent her photographs of 'himself' in various 'states' of arousal and the dialog between them would put '50 Shades of Grey' to shame! I am totally shocked and angry and hurt and worried. I have no idea how to approach this. Her mother needs to be told as well as her step-father. We need to be a united front as parents. How do we do this without pushing her away? I have totally violated all her privacy and human rights. How can we protect her without being the over-bearing bad guys and how will she ever trust us as parents now I have violated her trust by 'snooping'?
I cannot take back the 'snooping' and I am glad I did find out, as a boy of 17 SHOULD NOT be behaving this way towards a 14yr old. It started when she was 13!!!! This is against the law and how do I protect my daughter from being hurt? They say they love each other? How do I respect my child but teach her the laws and boundaries? How do I respect her choices and maybe this boy does love her? Are they mature enough to understand their actions with one another? How do I stop her hating me forever for violating her privacy?
I love her and want to protect her. If I cant stop her or even get her to be honest about it, what can I do? Am I being a bad mother if I teach her about contraception and help her stay protected for her health against HIV, STI's and pregnancy? I would never condone her having sex at 14, but if she is doing it anyway behind my back, should I try and make sure she is safe and try to teach her to look after herself?
What can I do?

MostWicked Mon 04-Aug-14 23:25:27

Do you even know if they are having sex?
It sounds like it is more talk than action.

Theoldhag Mon 04-Aug-14 23:39:47

I think it is time for you to take your daughter away for the weekend and use this time to talk about what it is like to be growing into a woman. Many posters her have come up with excellent ways of talking to her about this issue with her relationship with her boyfriend. The biological take that a poster mentioned, the legal side, the physiological side- birth control, sexual health and what can happen to those stumbling blindly on this time of change for her. I would talk about womans issues, relationships, be her guide, also explain what can happen about the photos that her boyfriend has on his device, explain the dangers and pitfalls. Here is a golden opportunity to start bonding with her on a different level. For years you have helped her to grow, support her as she enters the next stage. Let her know that you will talk to her boyfriend, set the rules, she will need boundaries in place, but these have to be supportive as she learns to make steps in her life happen on her terms and not because of external pressures such as boyfriends and peer pressure.

I would also expect to have access to her electronic communication. There are ways of doing this passively through some internet provider packages. If she wants to talk in a way to him that she feels is private, well they could always resort to written notes and face to face communication.

Or you can use disapline and enforce curfews etc.

I have a dd she is 3 years younger than your dd, i hope that when her time comes (many years I hope) that I can do what I have outlined above. Only difference being is that once we are settled in our new home, we will set up above internet package, the kids will know. I and my dp have access to their iPads etc. all interactions are sent as an email to us via icloud. They only have home access to internet and communication devises on our terms. These maybe strict rules, dd knows I will cut off her internet time if she breaks them, but I really am aghast at how relaxed some parents are about internet safety and electronic communication. Any way I digress. I know one day I have to face her growing up into a young woman, I understand your dilemma, it is one that I will face in the not to distant future. I am hoping that when she starts her period we can take a weekend away and do what I feel is lost in modern culture and that is to talk to her about being a woman and journey it takes to get there.

I'm sorry that was a ramble, it's late. What ever you decide to do I'm sure it will be the right one for you both thanks

Theoldhag Mon 04-Aug-14 23:45:40

Step dd sorry, can you get her mothers consent? Or maybe suggest these to her dm. You need to talk to your dp about best way forward, when it is my ds turn my dp will take him camping and do the same.

YouAreMyRain Tue 05-Aug-14 00:02:29

Going against the flow here.

Don't admit you read anything. She will be very angry and it could damage your relationship with her.

She is not your child, or your daughter, as you put in the OP, she is your step daughter so if I were you I would butt out.

They are discovering the thrills of their sexual identities, it is very powerful. It is also natural.

A 17yr old boy is emotionally quite well matched with a 14yr old girl. The only shock about a 3 yr age gap is when it crosses the barrier age of 16 that our society has chosen as the age of consent.

Just be there for her, support her, talk to her.

My mum read my diary at a similar age and I hated her for ages.

At 14 I also had a 19 yr old boyfriend. Looking back my mum must have been mortified but she did the very best, most marvellous thing she could have done, which was to accept it and say nothing disapproving (god knows how!!) it fizzled out.

If we'd have had electronic communication back then we would have used it in a very sexual way I'm sure (I never actually had sex with him btw, just a bit of exploration, everyone assumed we had DTD due our ages)

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 05-Aug-14 00:26:50

OP you might want to have a look here for information regarding the photos he's sending your DD. Even at 17, it's illegal to take, possess or share indecent images of anyone under the age of 18, even if they are taking photos of themselves. There was a lot said about this specifically in the media recently and the whole 'sexting' & taking/sending inappropriate photos is an area that both need some education in from the sound of things.

Other than that ^^ I can't really add much to what's been said already. I've got this to come in the not too distant future so I'm trying to educate myself at the moment.

LB74 Wed 08-Oct-14 22:09:10

Hi,
I have an 18 year old daughter who continually sends pornographic images of herself to anyone male on her Facebook account or Snap chat. Some of these people we know too which is not nice. This has been going on for a couple of years now and no matter how much we try and block Facebook disconnect wifi she manages to find a way of getting connected. We have tried talking to her and advising her of the damage she could be doing to herself if these pictures were posted on the internet especially as she is an apprentice at a nursery school but she walks away shrugging her shoulders saying she doesn't care. We have also seen evidence her wanting to take drugs and believe she has tried weed and possibly cocaine. We have tried to get her to talk to a specialist but refuses. To everyone else she is lovely but at home she is awful she doesn't wash for days, change her clothes is moody and slates mainly me to anyone that will listen. I would have thought by now she would have grown out of this stage. She never used to be like this but a switch was flicked when she turned 13 and it has gotten worse since. We are not strict parents but don't let her get away with murder either. We are not prudish we just want to protect her and cannot understand why she does this other than for attention. Does anyone else have the same kind of thing going on and do you have any advise on how to handle it without making it worse.

andyourlittledogtoo Mon 15-Jun-15 20:46:10

I agree with many PPs- the age gap between them is neither unusual, nor IMO inappropriate. There is no reason to assume that it is in any way unsavoury or exploitative, however she may benefit from non-judgemental guidance and discussion about relationships, boundaries, contraception, etc.

Think Mrsatticus and lizhow both give great advice! Good luck OP

purplishclouds Mon 15-Jun-15 20:52:53

Isn't this a zombie thread .

Br4duck Tue 19-Jul-16 17:03:58

Actually Facebook is for 13 and over...

Ellabella22 Fri 11-Jan-19 17:10:13

Honestly I’m under the consenting age and I was planning on sneaking out tonight to give a blowjob to a 21 yr old man. I started reading things and realised it was illegal and I am no longer planning on. As a teen myself it’s very much a peer pressure story, many teens are sexually active because it has become “cool”. Thank you for teaching me more about this topic.

youaremyrain Fri 11-Jan-19 22:00:54

@Ellabella22 well done for thinking about this a bit more. Men use women and girls for blowjobs and they don't have to do anything for us in return. Also it doesn't make them respect or like us. I used to do this sort of thing hoping that the man/boy would like me but often they ignored me straight after when they got what they wanted and then laughed about me and trash talked me to their mates.

If you want someone to like and respect you then learn about developing some heathy boundaries and respecting yourself.

When you do start exploring sex it's much better to do it in a relationship that's equal, where you can find out what you like yourself.

StepUpToGuilt Sun 15-Sep-19 15:30:50

Hi, I may not be a mum. But I need some advise.
I had underage sex at A young age and my mum caught me. I feel incredibly guilty. What should I do to try and heal this wound? I have talked to her and I feel a little better but I know they will never see me the same again.

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