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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?

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.

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.

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.

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

Actually Facebook is for 13 and over...

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

Isn't this a zombie thread .

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

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.

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.

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)

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.

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

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.

lizhow14 Mon 04-Aug-14 22:58:42

also maybe address the snooping with 'I turned the ipad on and these messages were on the screen' so it doesn't look like you have been deliberately looking at her account?

lizhow14 Mon 04-Aug-14 22:53:21

This is so difficult as I remember being that age but I am also a parent! I was sexually active at 14/15 (about 12 years ago) with a boy the same age-we were in a relationship for 5 years until 19. I sought contraception as my parents thought if they didn't mention it, it wasn't happening! Teenagers are packed with hormones and I think for quite a few, some form of sexual activity (from snogging to intercourse) is inevitable. However, what really worries me about today's teenage generation is the technology and the half naked/sexual selfies that can be passed around friends/internet etc.
If I was in this situation with my daughter I would hope that communication was already open so that we could talk openly, me explain my fears regarding the pics, messages etc. that he could be showing all his friends and the whole of the world and to ensure she was fully aware and had contraception (and she was aware it wasn't just to protect against pregnancy but STIs). I would want her to know that consensual sex was part of healthy adult life and the importance of being in a loving relationship, waiting until ready and knowing that you can say No! I would then just hope that she could make fully informed decisions yet know that I was always there if she needed me and that she shouldn't fear speaking to me. I do not condone underage sex, yet I think teenagers will do it anyway so I would want to ensure she was fully informed, prepared and that it wasn't a taboo subject to experience as part of rebellion.
Your situation is a bit more complex as she is your step daughter-I would maybe speak to her first before going straight to parents. If after speaking to her you're still concerned that she may be at risk then I would speak to parents. It's a really difficult one as you don't want to break her trust as she may then not come to you if she needed you.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 04-Aug-14 19:48:37

I would inform the Police and let them deal with it tbh.
Unless her mum and dad are going to get together and agree on boundaries and rules then there's little you as a step parent can do about it.
Your dh and the girls mum need to sort this and if it involves the Police then they can give her the info she needs and might take this from them.
the same happened with my niece, the same ages as well. The boy was prosecuted for grooming and niece had all her accounts stopped and lap top, phone i pad etc confiscated by Police and wasn't allowed any internet access for months until it was deemed safe.

WhatsGoingOnEh Mon 04-Aug-14 19:40:32

Would it really be a good idea for girls as young as 14 to be on hormonal contraception? I'm not a doctor but it seems a bad idea to use hormonal contraception at such a young age.

mathanxiety Thu 24-Jul-14 03:03:38

He doesn't love her. He loves his dick.

Tell her about revenge porn. Ask her how a young woman might feel if such a thing were to happen to her.

MrsAtticus Thu 24-Jul-14 02:41:41

I thought about your dilemma from the point of view as a parent and didn't know what to say. Then I remembered that i was sexually active at that age (with boys that age and above) and here's what i wish my parents had done:
-made sure the channels of communication were open
-tried to restrict my social activity to some degree, to make it less likely I would find myself in difficult situations (e.g. no overnight parties)
-explained to me that sex has emotional as well as physical consequences, it took me a long time to forgive myself for my behavior, it was only really once I was old enough to look back at my 14 year old self and realize I was a child that I did.
-instilled in me some self-respect and awareness of boundaries.

That's a tall order I think, but I would aim for that, as opposed to coming down like a ton of bricks IYSWIM. A lot of course will depend on her maturity, which can vary such a lot at that age.

Maryz Thu 24-Jul-14 01:51:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lightshines Thu 24-Jul-14 01:36:30

Grumpasaur - I am not in the OP's situation but have thought about what I would do if it arises.
Thank you for your informed, practical and sensitive advice. I have filed for future reference.
The wisdom of MNers never fails to impress me.

tiredgranny Thu 24-Jul-14 01:00:24

the photos would worry me her b/f could pass pics on would be classed as child ponography and b prosecuted and put on sex offender register.

big article in papers saying about this

unrealhousewife Wed 02-Jul-14 12:41:03

Get your legal facts, sit her down and explain the law. Then explain why these laws evolved.

The human body isn't fully grown until 18 for a start.

Also explain to her the psychology of teenage boys, what hormonal pressures they are under.

I have told my own that the human body is designed to procreate and replicate itself as much as possible, regardless of the consequences. in performing this function and it affects your mind as well as your body so be aware that what's behind their feelings of love and lust is often just barefaced human biology.

WaitMonkey Sat 21-Jun-14 10:45:24

Have you told her parents ?

itsbetterthanabox Sat 31-May-14 00:42:43

Tell her parents. Have they not already talked to her about contraception and safety? If not do it now! Have the boy and girl actually met? Or is this all online? Discuss it with her and let her know the risks etc. speak to the boy. Tell him he is acting inappropriately, this may help a great deal if he sees that he is taking advantage.

grumpasaur Sat 31-May-14 00:23:08

Op, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your daughter is unfortunately just being a pretty normal 14 yo these days!

Also it's not stat rape... Complicated legal explanation, but it isn't because he is under 18.

I work in sexual health with 13-24 year olds. The best thing you can do is as follows:

Make sure she is on contraception (reliable) and that she is also using condoms to protect herself from STIs

Make sure she has a full sexual health screen now, and then regularly every 12 months

Make sure she understands that photos can be shared, and that is illegal for her to be sending photos of herself. As she is Under 16, even though they are photos of herself, this is technically classes as distributing child pornography

Finally, and most importantly- talk to her about the relationship. Make sure she is safe and feels comfortable saying no when she wants to, and that she is not being exploited (it doesn't sound like she is).

Make this a positive bonding experience that results in trust and safety- rather than a shame inducing experiencing that breaks your trust with her, and leaves her without the information she needs right now

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