Parents: Do you/would you give your teen permission to have sex?

I was having this conversation with a friend the other day. Disclaimer: I have no children and have no opinion on this issue. At least, I don’t I have a dogmatic opinion. Anyway, my friend told me that he verbally gives his 16 year old permission to have sex, so long as the kid uses protection. So, I’m wondering what those of you who are parents think of this. Do you, or would you, give your teens permission to have safe sex, and why or why not? Also, I realize that “allowing” teens to have sex can be ambiguous, since simply not taking some action to stop them (by, say, some extreme measure like locking them in their room) could be seen as allowing sexual activity. Also, saying something like, “If you’re gonna have sex, then do it safely,” might or might not be viewed as allowing one’s kids to have sex. To avoid debating what counts as allowing a teen to have sex, I’m interested in something specific, such as saying, “It’s okay if you do this.”

My mother, who had me at 16, told me from the moment I knew how babies were made that I could come to her whenever I needed to, and she’d put me on birth control, no questions asked. And that’s exactly what she did. I plan on doing the same thing with my daughter. She’s four, so hopefully it’ll be a long time before I have to worry about that.

questions like this make me glad I’m not going to have to ever worry about it.

My son is almost 18 and it’s kind of moot right now because he doesn’t have a gf.

I wouldn’t have given him permission to have sex but if he was I’d made sure he had protection.

I’m not a parent. But my opinion would be that any child that needs permission to have sex shouldn’t be given permission. If the child isn’t mature enough to make the decision for themself then they’re not mature enough to have sex either.

That’s a neat perspective. But what if you’re a parent having “the talk” with your adolescent or young teen before s/he is sexually active? Would you consider granting permisison for her/him to be active at a later, more mature age so that the kid wouldn’t then feel like s/he would have to hide her/his activity?

The Firebug’s only 5, so I’ve still got a few years. But sure, when he gets to that age, he will have my implicit permission, not to mention condoms on hand that he can help himself to.

I did, with both my son and daughter. Well, I had The Talk with my son and my wife had The Talk with the daughter.

Our reason for doing so is that we couldn’t imagine a circumstance under which saying otherwise would have affected the outcome. At least by having The Talk I was able to put the fear of fertility into my son.

I’m also not a parent, but I think your opinion is wrong. Lots of people feel guilt and shame as adults because they were taught that sex is wrong when they were children and never taught that sex is ok now. I’m not exactly wracked with sexual shame, but I do occasionally wonder whether my mother knows I have sex and whether she’s ok with it. And I’m 36! And my mother’s not exactly a conservative: she’d be right hypocritical if she disapproved of me having sex outside of marriage as an adult. Nevertheless, I was taught at twelve that I was not to have sex, and never told, “Go ahead now; it’s ok.”

At least not by my mom. When I was in college my dad offered to pay for the hotel for my girlfriend and I when we were traveling. He casually asked if we would like one room or two, and when we stuttered and stumbled in response, said with a big grin on his face, “I guess that means one!” That was the first and only real time he expressed any particular approval of me having sex, but it means that I feel comfortable mentioning sex around my dad (not that I ever actually do), but not my mom. Psychologically, I feel as if I have my dad’s “permission,” but not my mom’s, and that’s a difference that affects in a small way both how I relate to my parents and to sex.

If I were to have kids, I don’t think I’d ever come out and say, “You can have sex now, if you want!” but I do think I’d try to clearly imply my approval (like my dad did) when I felt ok with it. I’d also try when my child is still young not to say things when explaining sex like “When a mommy and a daddy love each other…” or “When you grow up and get married…” or other things that might imply certain moral positions I don’t actually hold.

I think you give them the knowledge and tools to make their own decisions. I don’t even think you can even give them permission. Are they going to listen anyway?

I can imagine a teen who is mature enough to have sex, but also mature enough to realize his parents are wiser than him, and so defers to their judgment. You seem to be arguing that a teen that says “I don’t care what my parents think: they are old fucks who don’t know me, I am going to have sex” is mature in a way that a teen that thinks “I really want to have sex with that person, but my parents have strongly counseled me against it, and I generally respect them and trust their advice, and so will forbear” is not. I just don’t see that.

For my son (who is a year and a half, so this is still pretty hypothetical), I hope that as a teen he does take sex seriously–both the potential practical consequences, but also the emotional ones. Provided that that is the case, I don’t see myself counseling him against sex in any sort of absolute fashion. I can imagine counseling him against sex in certain contexts (without protection is an obvious one, but also when a relationship is undefined or unbalanced, or when there is any anger or negative emotion involved).

My high school GF, 16 at the time had a mom. Mom had a boy at 16 and my GF at 17.
When we started dating - and having sex, her mom asked if she “needed anything” from the store. Not a direct question, but we all knew what she meant. GF feigned shock and indignation at the thought of sex, but the next month when Mom asked, GF said, “Um just get me what you use”, and we were introduced to foam! Foam! No condoms! It was awesome!

She kept us supplied with birth control simply as a pragmatic approach to the situation.
You have a hot, buxom daughter. She is going to have sex with a boy at some point. Morals, mores, and opinions aside, the most practical thing to do is stop/avoid pregnancy. It’s just a can of worms that no teen needs.

I always admired her and her pragmatic approach. I thought she was a very intelligent woman. I always hoped I could be that strong and practical, but then I had a daughter.

Now I’m finding it very hard to think about, and I honestly don’t know what I’ll do.
The truth is that she’ll talk to her mom, they’ll come to a solution, and no one will tell me.

So, no. No permission slip from Dad. Mom will sign it in the morning when I’m not looking!

My son? He’s 19. When we sent him to college, I sent a pharmacy with him. Every OTC med there is, first aid supplies, and a box of assorted condoms. We unloaded everything, and when I came the condoms, I said “Look. Someday you will have a girl in your room, and you will need a condom. If it’s 3am, and you have to go to the store, you won’t. You’ll roll the dice and nail her. Now, at least, you won’t have roll the dice.”

One of the boys on his hall brought drunk girls from another college to his dorm room to crash last month. He lectured them on getting drunk and passing out in stranger’s rooms, put them to bed, and slept on the floor.

He’s a nice, shy boy, and I fear that box will still be there when he graduates!

Yes, this is the definition of Double Standard. Bite me!

Permission? Odd question.
My older daughter’s first few serious relationships were with other girls. After she got out of high school and met some guys who weren’t jerks, she got herself to the clinic and got Norplant. Permission never came into the conversation, although education that sex implies responsibility had been part of her raising. We never considered trying to make her ashamed of herself.
Younger daughter is more private, so I know no details, although I am sure my Wife knows everything.

I don’t have children, but I hope one day I will, and this is my philosophy at the moment. I would rather they didn’t have sex at 16 - it seems so young to me. But I know I (we) won’t be able to control that, short of locking them up in their bedrooms until they go to college. All I can hope is that we bring them up right, so they make thoughtful and responsible decisions. If they do end up having sex at 16, I would hope I’d be the kind of parent that they could come to for help if they needed to. It makes me sad to thinking about teenage girls who get pregnant yet are too scared to tell their parents because they’re afraid they might be severely punished or forced to do something they don’t want to do (whether that is getting an abortion or keeping the child or something in between).

I have two children. 14 yo girl and a 7 yo boy.

I have a theory about kids. By the time they are 13 or so they are old enough to really start doing things behind our back stuff of a more serious nature like drinking, drugs and sex. Quite a few parants have a hard time discussing those issues in depth.

Here is the problem. by the time they are 12-14 we have told them that touching a light socket will kill them, paper airplaines will poke your eye out, your gonna get hit by a car Santa and the tooth fairy are real, then 5 remainder 3 is an appropriate way to solve a math problem now we will tell you that is wrong as well. Eat your veggies so you grow big and strong. Fuck do we ever tell the kids any truths. buy the time they test out pot and realize it aint a big deal they are for sure parents and adults don’t know shit or are all full of shit.

I have always told my children as much as they can absorb at their current developmental stage. I talked about sex, drugs and everything. at younger ages they only need so much. they will just loose intrest if you go to far. So I pay attention to them when talking. at a certain age I quit telling them stuff and just ask them questions. I get a better grasp at where they are that way and just make a few statements based on their answers if need be. I fill the little ones with all the information i can possible give them and make sure they are not walking around with any huge falicies. I tell them pot aint all that bad and likely wont turn them into a heroine addict I talk frankly and openly about other drugs and alcohol and sex and relationships and love and friendships Internet security and the law and lying. Actually we have discussion on those topics it is not one sided “talks”

I have not exactly given my daughter permission to do drugs, alcohol or the sex but I am no dummy so I have discussions with her about what to expect if she need to do or try those things out. Both the good and the bad. By the time they are teens they are every bit as bright as most adults. They are just lacking a bit of wisdom I share it with them and keep far away as I can from using scare tactics a a sole form of lesson teaching.

I don’t want to cause offense but I think both of your parents handled this issue poorly. You shouldn’t have been raised to think sex was wrong because your mother disapproved of it. But you also shouldn’t have been raised to think sex was okay if your father said so. Your parents should have raised you to be able to make the decision on your own.

That’s not my position. I don’t think that just because a child feels they’re ready make decisions means they really are. I’d have no problem telling a child they’re not mature enough to have sex. But I can’t see a situation where I would think a child is mature enough to have sex but not mature enough to make decisions about having sex.

That’s the way I see it. My job is to raise my children up to the point where they’re capable of making good decisions for themselves.

The rule is “till you get married”. I’m sure they’ll go over the rule if theu want, but they won’t hear it from me.

“Don’t do it, but wear protection if you do” means “have protected sex”

Hi Norman Bates!

Yeah, I’m 31 and I have a 13-year-old daughter and my mom does know I’m having sex and she’s really annoying about it. As a teenager she was ALWAYS drilling it into my head to just wait until marriage. She really thought she could make my sisters and me wait just by telling us enough times. Of course, we all started having sex at 14-16 anyway.

And now she’s always telling me it’s setting a bad example for my daughter to have boyfriends spend the night, because “she’ll want to do the same thing one day.” I said so what? She can have men spend the night when she’s an adult too and I’m sure she will. But I still have some irrational nagging feelings that it’s not really okay. I’m trying not to pass those feelings on to my daughter.

Yeah, I don’t say anything like that to my daughter. It might be an easier explanation, but later when your kid realizes it’s BS, that’s not going to do much good.

Anyhoo, I would never directly give my kid permission to have sex because that’s creepy. I would help her get birth control if she wanted (but she’d probably just go to the school clinic anyway) and I’m undecided if I’d consider letting her have a boyfriend spend the night or spend the night at his house. Definitely not unless it was a pretty serious relationship and she was at least 16, but even then I don’t know.

Giving a teen “permission” to have sex sounds seriously creepy, controlling and intrusive.