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Your Sexually Active Teen

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My son's girlfriend's mother is very upset because she found a letter my son had written to her daughter -- it mentions petting, him touching her breasts, and touching her inside her pants. The mother brought me by a copy of the letter and I didn't overreact to the situation. He is 15 and she is 14. The girl has been forbidden to talk to my son. I'm afraid that will only lead to further problems or the daughter's resentment of her mother. How should this be handled?

A: You're right that forbidding the two kids to have contact may push them into taking steps that they otherwise wouldn't take. There's nothing you can say to help the mom in her relationship with her daughter, but if you get the opportunity you might encourage them to go for some family counseling. You might also talk with the school counselor and tell him what happened; the counselor could not talk with you about the girl, but he could follow up with her.

You are able to deal with your son, however. Talk with him and let him know that you saw the note. As you've already done, don't overreact. Make sure that he knows your values and expectations of him with regard to sexual activity, and that he understands about birth control and protection from sexually transmitted disease. You may find that your son wants your support in cooling off this situation. Be sure that there is adult supervision available when they are together.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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