Thursday, July 20, 2006 That's all I've got to say.

There was an article in our local paper about a convicted sex offender that was just arrested for coaching a children's softball league. Deeper into the article it tells you that this man was arrested when he was 18 for having sex with an under age girl. He claims it was consensual and the article never states how old the girl was at the time. But because he was arrested for statutory rape, this man is considered a sex offender and cannot take jobs that involve children. A fact that escaped his mind when he signed up to coach his twelve year old daughter's softball league. I don't know how his arrest record came to light, but this man now fears that his kids will be tormented unmercifully about a decision he made as a teenager.

I'm not claiming to have any anwers here. This slope is more slippery than one paved with grease and covered in oil. But the subject of teenagers and their boyfriends has recently entered my world and it's a scary place to be.

Before school ended, one of Jasmine's friends moved to the next town over. She never said goodbye, never called, and didn't return calls either. We just assumed she had moved on and that relationship was done. Yesterday, she called. Her mom had to work the night shift as a nurse and wanted her to sleep over our house. Jasmine was thrilled at the idea. Jazz got off the phone and said that her friend wanted to be picked up at 5pm.
"Why 5? Doesn't her mom go to work at 2?" I asked.
"Yeah, but she's going to hang out with her boyfriend and do chores until then."

This 14 year old girl's boyfriend is 17. And her mom thought it was fine that they spend several hours alone together.
"He's really sweet and her mom totally trusts them together." Jasmine told me.

He could be the Pope's godson but he still wants to have sex with her daughter."Yup," my husband agreed "And if they're left alone long enough, he will too."

I tend to have more of a Flying Nun attitude with my girls (you want to soar around and see the sights? Great! Just wear a long black dress and remember the Mother Superior while you do it.) but there seems no point in setting them up for failure. A three year age difference is nothing when you are 19 and 22, or 30 and 33. Hell, with adults, I could not care less what the ages are. You go Anna Nicole! If you want to ride the wheelchair of some 90 year old guy so you can have his share of the pie when he's gone, more power to you. But 14 and 17 is a marked difference. If memory serves teenage boys are horn dogs ("True, very true" my husband agrees again) and chances are the 17 year old has had some more experience than his younger counterparts. Why would you want to put your daughter in a situation were she has to make the really tough choices about her behavior with a boy she likes and doesn't want to dissapoint?

Maybe he's a nice boy. I don't know because she wouldn't let me in the door to meet him. Jasmine met him. She told me later that night that when she and her friend ran back inside for her pocketbook, the boyfriend was still there.
"He's cute. And really nice." She told me.
"That's nice, I'm glad." I said "But 12 and 17 is an inappropriate age difference and I don't want you to spend any time with him." She nodded. She knows our rules and how her father and I feel about this subject.

So I don't have any real answers. Should the 40 year old who had sex as a teenager, with another teenager, be allowed to coach his daughter's softball league? Probably. The bigger issue seems that teenagers can't really understand the consequences of their actions and how it will affect their futures. One sweaty, 2 minute interlude in the back of your Honda Civic will embarass your future child and have her friend's parents calling you a sex offender. Not fair? Welcome to life, kiddo.


Anonymous Tam said...

I don't ever want to get to the teen years!!!!

7:46 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Let's stunt their growth. Bring on the coffee!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous oz said...

Gosh, I hate to bring the bad news, but there's nothing you can do to keep Jasmine from having sex. No matter how strict you are or how closely you watch her, if she decides to do it, she'll find a way--and her boyfriend will help her! I'm telling you this as someone who had sex when she was 14 with a boy who was 16, as did several of my friends (one in particular, who had the most sex, also had the strictest, stay-at-home parent). You can't make this decision for her. She'll have to be the one to decide not to have sex for her own reasons--not because she knows you'd disapprove.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I'm aware of that, Oz. But I can do my best to keep her informed, and keep her out of inapropriate situations. Hanging out with the older kids is one of those situations. As her mom, I have to do everything I can to keep her safe even if that means I'm not her best friend. Parents reinforce stranger-danger policies on their kids all the time and never worry that they'll rebel and get into a stranger's car.Yet, when it comes to sex and drugs, everyone is afraid of the conversation because "they'll just do it anyway". I have to know I did my best to educate her.

6:23 AM  
Anonymous oz said...

You're right, of course! I'm sorry if I sounded... I don't know.... judgemental? know-it-all-ish? I'm not sure, but as I re-read my comment, I don't think I expressed myself well. You are right in that you have to try to transmit your values to your kids and hope they stick! My mother never did much of that with me, and as for my friend who had the most sex, her home life was far from ideal, so I'm sure that contributed to her choices. Jasmine is in a completely different situation with two parents who really care about her.... Er, I don't know what I'm trying to say here except something different/better than what I said yesterday!

6:31 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

No worries! We're all friends :)

6:01 AM  
Blogger Erin-erin-bo-berin said...

Oh, God. The teen years... I'm dreading living with four other females with the same freaking hormones coursing through their pint-sized bodies. And if I'm not looking forward to it, I know my husband must fear for his very life. Atl east we've got five, maybe six more years before that actually happens. You think that's enough time to build and stock a nuclear shelter? Cross your fingers...

1:58 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Great post, Jenn!

9:57 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

By the way, what kind of Saturday fright Special item did you want? Drop me an email. We have various movie posters and weird DVDs.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Should that 17year old be forgiven for sex with a 13 year old? Really? Your willingness to discuss and forgive without knowing the facts is dissappointing.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Carolie said...

But should a 17 year old be judged years later as an adult, and for the rest of his life, for having consentual sex with his 15-years-and-11-months girlfriend? The penalty is the same.

I didn't have sex until after I was out of high school and no longer living with my parents...not because I wasn't curious and eager, but because 1. my parents inculcated me with the belief that I should never do anything that would make me feel guilty or sneaky--that I was worth more than that, 2. because an unplanned pregnancy would have changed my life in HUGE ways and 3. because my parents did their best to make sure such an opportunity was not easily presented. They couldn't lock me up, but they could certainly make sure I was where I said I would be, and that I was not alone for hours on end with access to a bedroom with my boyfriend.

Just my two loud cents.

10:58 PM  

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