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terested to know what your opinion is on this one. My 14 year old is wanting to date a girl who I know has been sexually active. this is his first interest in girls. She has been sending explicit sexual messages on Instagram so I took his phone. I have explained to him the reasons I don't want him to date her. He says she is nice and I don't know her. If I forbid him to go out with her am I just forcing them to sneak around? My gut feeling is she is bad news. When he got his phone back he secretly started messaging her again so I took his phone again. What would you do?
Community Manager

Re: Sexting

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Hi @Franny , 


That sounds like a really tricky situation for you, and I really empathise a lot with you there - would this be your son's first serious romantic relationship? 


It sounds like this could be a good opportunity to have a conversation with him around sexting and consent - it's something that's a common concern for parents of teens, and we have some really good resources here on this issue on our website. The article I've linked to has some really good, clear information on boundaries, and some of the risks of sexting that he may not be aware of ( for example, if she is sending him explicit pictures of herself and she's under 18 that is actually illegal)- and though it's definitely an awkward conversation to have, it does sound like you have a good relationship with your son, which is a great foundation to start from. 


With forbidding him to see her - that is a really hard one. I can definitely see your point,  I suspect that if you completely ban him from seeing her, he may just end up going behind your back. What do you think about having an open chat with him about how you're feeling, and maybe seeing if she wants to come to your place for dinner sometime if all goes well with them? It can definitely be really hard to see our kids making decisions that we think may end badly, but ultimately he will need to learn to make those judgments himself, and if he knows that he can be honest with you about what's happening for him, it may make him more likely to open up about any problems that do crop up. That being said, I think it's also very much ok to set boundaries around what acceptable behaviour looks like for your family - we do have an article here that I thought might be helpful about talking to your teenager about healthy boundaries in romantic relationships. 


I'm also going to tag some of our active parent champions here too so you can get some more people's input - keep us posted on how you get on, and thanks for joining us on the forums Smiley Happy 


@sunflowermom  @sidneysdad  @Dadof4kids 

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Sexting

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> I have explained to him the reasons


Following the possible outcomes of your concerns may be another option as well? Sometimes it may not be obvious to your 14 yo, and they are confident you will sort it all out for them... 


You may not be able to prevent them dating, but at least there is an option to problem solve the "bad news" feeling and natural consequences of their dating that worry you? Its nice to not be dumped with all the responsibility when things go pear-shaped, and then have to make tough messy decisions under pressure.


Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: Sexting

Hi Franny,

you love your boy and feel you should step in and help him . That's normal, because you care. However as kids turn into teens all they want to do is be adults as fast as possible, dating , physical and mental experimentation, adventures are all high on their priority list, listening to mum or dad isn't . Regardless of how good parent teen relationships are there is the driving reality of hormones as young boys and girls take their first tentative steps to adulthood. 

I am thinking don't ban the phone don't ban dating, support your son through gritted teeth ,because that way you may be able to exercise some slight control and prevent future disasters. Try and get him to realise that sexting may seem harmless enough but once it's out there its out there forever. If something goes wrong people can lash out and his photo's could end up coming back to harm his future. I remember at 13 having a big crush on a 15 year old girl from what some people might unkindly refer to as the wrong side of the tracks.My mother definitely did not approve, she didn't stand in my way. Gave me permission for safe dates , like the beach ,going to early sessions at the  movies, even went so far as to let me invite her home for lunch one time. That girl certainly taught me a few things but none of them caused any damage or harm to either of us and in the end it just petered out of it's own accord.We have to let our kids make mistakes , take risks, date someone we don't approve of, or else how will they ever learn. Humans are meant to make mistakes, it's how we learn a lot of the time.By not forbidding it you may have a small measure of control, your son will also appreciate you having the confidence to allow him to grow , 

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