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Author Topic: Family: Modern parenting is hard  (Read 2048 times)

Noctua

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Modern parenting is hard
« on: September 10, 2017, 03:55:26 pm »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2019, 01:10:34 pm by RandallS »

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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 05:59:47 pm »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

Is it wrong that I read this, and all I can think is, "Thank the gods I don't have kids"? I'm a gay uncle, which means I zoom in, be fabulous, and then zoom out before any of the hard stuff kicks in.

(OK, that's not *quite* true; sure, I get to do the fun stuff, like taking them to their first midnight show of Rocky Horror; but I've also made extra effort with my nephew, being one of the few males in his life after his father abandoned him and his kid sister.)

Anyway, sorry; this is not the advice you were hoping for. I applaud you for tackling these thorny problems. Carry on. <ducking before Noctua throws something at me>
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The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 09:50:29 pm »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

Oh man, that is hard.

My daughter isn't to this age yet, but my nieces are about to be 13 and most of their friends are boys. I understand your husband's concerns, considering the biology aspect. Although, I don't think that's the only thing to consider here. I was talking to my sister about this the other day and we both agree that even for a hetero young girl sleepovers with girls can be pretty damaging (emotionally, psychologically, etc..).

So I am going to suggest no sleep overs despite gender or sexual orientation. It's probably not reasonable, but it is fair.


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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 04:40:33 am »
So I am going to suggest no sleep overs despite gender or sexual orientation. It's probably not reasonable, but it is fair.

I'm not sure I would go that far. Personally I feel denying any sleepovers will limit a child in their development. So many things happen at sleepovers that will help them learn and grow. I can't protect a child from 'damaging' influences, they will come whether I want it or not. And one day I won't be there to protect them at all. All I can do is teach them to be strong and independent people that are able to make (semi) adult decisions on their own. And yes, their going to screw that up. But that's life. 

I do think having sleepovers with boys will become a problem. Not for the child herself, since I am pretty open minded what sexuality is considered and I feel a child should be left free to find her own sexuality and be able to experiment. But that is probably a Dutch thing since my boyfriend and I have had fiery discussions about having 'sleepovers' with boys. I was raised with the notion that sleepovers with your boyfriend before the age of 16/18/20/marriage/insertyourpreferreddatehere are totally acceptable. Even encouraged. Parents can keep an eye out for things that way. If a girl is taken advantage of I'd rather have that happen in my own house that in the back of a car down a dirt road. First, I will have that boy in my own house and I will probably have a good reading of what his intentions are. Second, if anything happens the girl will probably be more comfortable to say no or leave her room while being in her own house. If anything were to happen anyway you will know the moment the door opens and you will have the opportunity to grab that boy by his.... You know...

Anyway. I'll get off my soapbox. As I've said, I've had this discussion with my boyfriend a few times and I've come to understand that your culture is different. Sleepovers between boys and girls are not as accepted and girl are more than likely to get a bad name. Not to mention the name you as parents will get.
I think, at the age of 14, you have had 'the talk' with her already? I think I would tell her that she is becoming a young woman now and it is unseemly for a young woman in her culture to have an unchaperoned sleepover with a boy (biologically or not).

Sorry. It has become quite a lengthy post. I will let you decide for yourself how relevant my musings are as all this is coming from someone who doesn't have kids of her own but has recently found herself taking a crash course in being a stepmom of four (14, 16, 18, 22). That and being raised Dutch in stead of American, with all the differences in culture and values, has made this topic a hot issue for me the past couple of months.
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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 09:52:37 am »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

I always said I was glad I had a son because in some ways the issues are less anxiety inducing.  Having said that, my son is now 18, and a senior in high school.  This past year, he started dating a girl who is a year or so older, who lives on her own (with roommate but no parents), and he has stayed over at her place for the weekend a couple of times now (she has come over for the weekend once here).

And even though my son won't be the one who gets pregnant, we had quite a few talks about pregnancy and protection (because of course we knew they were almost certainly having sex), and making sure he understood that he would be responsible (financially....for 18 years...) if she were to have a baby, and that it would be a life changing thing.

I do think that there is a lot of opinions about kids, staying the night, sex and all kinds of other things (some of which kids may not even be aware), and unfortunately no matter how innocent their intentions, some of those attitudes can come back and be problematic.

I actually had a discussion about the gender issues and sleepovers with my son and his girlfriend.  Her best friend from school was having an overnight gathering the last night he was at home (before going off to college), and his parent's have strict "boys and girls are not sleeping in the same room, nor are a boy/girl couple allowed to be in a room alone together.  And she thought it was odd, because her friend was gay (and his family knew), so she thought it was odd that they didn't think it bad that he slept in the same room with the other boys.

But I do think a lot of it comes down to biology.  Even though a gay boy might be interested in the other boys sleeping in the same room, he won't be getting them pregnant.  Of course there are other dangers with sex (both medical in the sense of any kind of disease but also emotional with getting your heart broken), but what most people worry about most is kids having kids.

As someone who got pregnant fairly early (I was 20, so not super early, but we weren't really financially set up either, and things have definitely been harder money wise than they could have been if we had been more ready), I have personal experience with some of what you have to go through starting a family early.

Okay, I'm getting kind of long and rambling.  I think, if it were me, I might have a talk with the other parents involved too.  I think that can go a long way in either resolving concerns....or letting you know that it is not something you want your child to do. 
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Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 01:19:30 pm »
I'm not sure I would go that far. Personally I feel denying any sleepovers will limit a child in their development. So many things happen at sleepovers that will help them learn and grow. I can't protect a child from 'damaging' influences, they will come whether I want it or not. And one day I won't be there to protect them at all. All I can do is teach them to be strong and independent people that are able to make (semi) adult decisions on their own. And yes, their going to screw that up. But that's life. 


Well, I was mostly kidding. More just stressing that the right answer isn't completely obvious, as any way you look at it there could be damage. Although, I don't really agree with you on the importance of sleepovers, especially in teenage years. I didn't grow up in a strict house and I wasn't really into sleepovers though.


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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 02:56:58 pm »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

That does sound tough. My mom was overjoyed when I got a boyfriend (she was always suspicious that I was a lesbian) and generally speaking I had full autonomy over what I did or didn't do. I was the oldest of several children, some of whom were over a decade younger than me. No way was I going to risk pregnancy and I believe she knew that. When I was 17 I asked mom to take me in to get birth control. It just wasn't an issue.

Have you and your daughter spoken about sexuality at all? I know you said she may be wrestling with her identity, but the sex talk is kind of important regardless. It sounds like she's a pretty responsible young lady, and her friends sound nice, as well. I know that societal expectations are different, but I personally don't see a problem with it. My child is quite young at the moment, though...so we'll see if I start freaking out when he's a teenager.
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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 05:37:08 pm »
That does sound tough. My mom was overjoyed when I got a boyfriend (she was always suspicious that I was a lesbian) and generally speaking I had full autonomy over what I did or didn't do. I was the oldest of several children, some of whom were over a decade younger than me. No way was I going to risk pregnancy and I believe she knew that. When I was 17 I asked mom to take me in to get birth control. It just wasn't an issue.

Have you and your daughter spoken about sexuality at all? I know you said she may be wrestling with her identity, but the sex talk is kind of important regardless. It sounds like she's a pretty responsible young lady, and her friends sound nice, as well. I know that societal expectations are different, but I personally don't see a problem with it. My child is quite young at the moment, though...so we'll see if I start freaking out when he's a teenager.

I've gotten a lot of responses, and I'm glad for everyone's feedback. Unfortunately I don't have the time to quote and address everyone in detail. :)

I'm pretty open with my daughter about body mechanics of all sorts- I have a medical background, so I've always shared information about how our bodies work in excruciating detail. I've even taken my daughter with me to one of my OB/GYN visits so she can see what happens and know that although it's outside of what most people think of as their normal comfort zone, ultimately it's NBD. I also know she knows all about even things I haven't told her about because one day I overheard her and her friends reading aloud bad internet shipping fanfiction and laughing uproariously about it. Nothing will ruin a kid's innocence faster than the internet.

I really like this group of friends she has. I know you hear a lot about teenage girls being super catty and mean with each other, and my daughter even experienced some of that firsthand with an old group of friends from elementary. The friends she has now are the friends she made after she dumped her catty and fickle previous friends. That's part of the reason I'm really hesitant to set limits on their hanging out, these kids were a real lifeline for my daughter when her previous friends all ganged up on her.

Kylara, I think your suggestion about talking with the other parents is just what I needed to hear. I think the next time my daughter asks about this I'll just have to put on my big girl panties and broach the subject with the other parents. I've mostly avoided it out of social anxiety issues- the easiest way to do that would be to call them, but for whatever reason talking on the phone is an anxiety point for me. Face to face is fine, but when I get into context where body language is removed I start reading too deeply into things and anxiety goes up. (Side note, this is also why I sometimes sound super-formal when I type, everything gets parsed through an anxiety filter and it tends to damp down emotional expression).

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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 06:56:06 pm »

Might I suggest being completely up front with your daughter and making the decision in conjunction with her? My parents always allowed me to discuss these kinds of decisions with them and present my argument for how I thought things should go. That way if you do decide on a no sleepovers with boys rule, she at least gets to go through the reasoning for that with you and perhaps negotiate compromises such as an age at which sleepovers with boys will become ok and/or a context/location in which they would be ok. On the flipside, if y'all decide not to limit sleepovers with boys, you and your husband have had the opportunity to learn from your daughter why that is important to her, why she thinks they should be allowed, and under what circumstances she thinks they should be allowed. Am I making sense?

The big benefit of this approach for my relationship with my parents was that teenage rebellion was basically pointless and thus we pretty much never got into the stereotypical teen-parent dynamic. Instead we talked about it when we disagreed on rules and that has led to a pretty healthy relationship going into adulthood. Of course, I recognize there are many other healthy approaches to parenting, just sharing that this one worked well for us.

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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 07:11:25 pm »

Kylara, I think your suggestion about talking with the other parents is just what I needed to hear. I think the next time my daughter asks about this I'll just have to put on my big girl panties and broach the subject with the other parents. I've mostly avoided it out of social anxiety issues- the easiest way to do that would be to call them, but for whatever reason talking on the phone is an anxiety point for me. Face to face is fine, but when I get into context where body language is removed I start reading too deeply into things and anxiety goes up. (Side note, this is also why I sometimes sound super-formal when I type, everything gets parsed through an anxiety filter and it tends to damp down emotional expression).

I think this is the best direction to go! I would feel the same way as far as anxiety goes, but I think it will actually help your anxiety over the entire situation. Good luck! :)


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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2017, 07:49:14 pm »
I do think having sleepovers with boys will become a problem. Not for the child herself, since I am pretty open minded what sexuality is considered and I feel a child should be left free to find her own sexuality and be able to experiment. But that is probably a Dutch thing since my boyfriend and I have had fiery discussions about having 'sleepovers' with boys. I was raised with the notion that sleepovers with your boyfriend before the age of 16/18/20/marriage/insertyourpreferreddatehere are totally acceptable. Even encouraged. Parents can keep an eye out for things that way. If a girl is taken advantage of I'd rather have that happen in my own house that in the back of a car down a dirt road. First, I will have that boy in my own house and I will probably have a good reading of what his intentions are. Second, if anything happens the girl will probably be more comfortable to say no or leave her room while being in her own house. If anything were to happen anyway you will know the moment the door opens and you will have the opportunity to grab that boy by his.... You know...

Seems logical to me. Let's be honest, young men (and I say this as a young man) are kind of 'unreliable'. I'm not saying they are bad, but they sometimes do stupid things. I think that by being there, physically, and by shaking his hand and staring at him in the eye, well he might think before doing something stupid.

It also reminds me of an ancient Yucatec Maya belief. When a young Maya man got married, he went to live with his wife's parents. This way, if he turned out to be a deadbeat, or abusive, her father could beat him up and drive him off.

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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2017, 11:03:45 pm »
So I'm mostly just looking to vent feelings, but if anyone has some feedback I'd welcome it, because I keep finding myself in this awkward position and I'm having a hard time deciding what I should say/do.

My oldest daughter is 14, just started high school. She has a tight-knit group of friends from middle school, which because of districting lines in our county are all going to a different high school. They all live close by though, and hang out just about every weekend, and frequently group skype during the week. The group is five kids (names changed to protect juveniles)- my daughter, another girl named Melissa, a trans boy named Sean (he was named Shawna when he became friends with my daughter), a boy named Jack, and a boy named Greg. Sean and Jack live closest to us, and so they're the ones my daughter spends the most time with simply due to proximity- they frequently ride bikes to each other's houses, whereas Melissa and Greg need rides from parents because they live farther.

My daughter will occasionally ask to have a sleepover with her friends. Sometimes it's a big group thing (which usually ends up falling through simply because no parent is willing to host 5 extremely noisy 14-year-olds who are going to stay up all night), but sometimes she asks to spend the night at Sean or Jack's place. Thus far it's always fallen though for scheduling reasons, and every time that's happened I've breathed a sigh of relief. I know that eventually there will come a day, though, when I have to face the fact that my daughter wants to sleepover at a boy's house, at an age where that typically becomes super unacceptable in the society in which I and my husband were raised.

Compounding this is my suspicion that my daughter is still wrestling with her own identity, and I strongly suspect it's not strictly hetero. She's shown absolutely no interest in anyone of any gender, but she prefers to dress and act in a way that's more genderfluid. I want to make sure that my daughter always feel accepted, safe, and loved no matter what, which means that I'm having a hard time deciding what to say next time she wants to sleep over at a friend's house. Adding to this is the fact that my husband, loveable but old-fashioned, is somewhat OK with her spending the night with Sean but not Jack, because of the whole biology aspect. That's the absolute last thing I want to tell my daughter, because it's super offensive and ignorant and might negatively impact how willing she is to talk to us once she does figure things out.

So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

Alrighty then. Your dilemma here is one which, I imagine, has been shared by millions of parents. So you should know that if you fuck up -- which you hopefully will not -- then you will at least not be the first.

Personally I think they're not *quite* at the age where you should start to seriously be concerned with your child sleeping with anyone; while I do know those who lost their v-card at 14 (or even prior) they were/are somewhat given to harlotry and were the exception rather than the norm. Most of the young people I know or have known just... waited. Not out of any sense of obligation, but more in a sense of allowing the nature of things to take its course. I'm inclined to believe (albeit somewhat for the sake of my wretched elderly soul) that that trend is still in vogue, and so I would caution being overly concerned about such things for at least another year or two. You have breathing room.

In re the specifics of your OP I feel it ought to be fairly uncontroversial that, when given the choice between one's daughter staying with a girl or a boy, the girl would be the natural option. While of course the idea of one's 14 y/o child engaged in sexual activity of any kind is distressing regardless of its relative likelihood, indulging in non-hetero frivolities at least doesn't carry the risk of pregnancy. I think your husband has the right idea and I would be inclined to agree with him that Sean would be the better option. My best friend growing up was a girl who lived next door to us and whose parents were friends with my parents before either party even thought about children. We pretty much knew each other since birth and yet sleepovers were still expressly forbidden due to the boy/girl factor. It wasn't a big deal -- beyond being still another thing for us to gripe to each other about -- and I fail to see why it would be too much of an issue in the Noctua household. You may want to try to couch it a little differently in order not to undermine Sean's assumed identity in front of their friend, but on principle it remains the same; and a good principle at that.

Where Little Noctua's sexuality might be concerned I would counsel the lovely adage 'straight until proven otherwise'. In other words assume she's straight (more for the sake of ease, than anything else) but don't really do anything about it either way until you're given reason to; e.g. if she brings home a boy or a girl, or both, assuming she has enough game. In my ever-so-humble opinion as a very-recent-former-child the bare bones 'don't get a horrible crotch-eating disease you idiot' approach works wonders. Give them the basics and then trust them to use that information, because there's simply nothing that can strain a parent-child relationship faster than trying to manage a child's sex life. It's difficult, of course, to be hands-off about the more important things but you appear to be approaching a point where it will start becoming necessary.

...that having been said, she's still 14. You're fine. Study after study shows (ironically) that this generation does less drugs, has less sex, smokes less, and has less sex than any in a good long while so even if she were older I wouldn't be hugely concerned. But 14? Forget it, you've got time in spades. Does she like horses? Girls love horses, this is an irrefutable fact. Introduce her to horses and then watch as boys fade into the distance... along with her college funds, your life savings, and your husband's pension fund. But that's another problem. Horses are like giant chastity belts; run with it.
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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2017, 11:20:17 pm »


...that having been said, she's still 14. You're fine. Study after study shows (ironically) that this generation does less drugs, has less sex, smokes less, and has less sex than any in a good long while so even if she were older I wouldn't be hugely concerned. But 14? Forget it, you've got time in spades. Does she like horses? Girls love horses, this is an irrefutable fact. Introduce her to horses and then watch as boys fade into the distance... along with her college funds, your life savings, and your husband's pension fund. But that's another problem. Horses are like giant chastity belts; run with it.

Castus has a point here. I lost my virginity at 20 and we raised horses.


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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 11:55:55 am »
In my ever-so-humble opinion as a very-recent-former-child the bare bones 'don't get a horrible crotch-eating disease you idiot' approach works wonders. Give them the basics and then trust them to use that information, because there's simply nothing that can strain a parent-child relationship faster than trying to manage a child's sex life.

This made me laugh, but there is also a lot of value in this as well.  We had the safe sex talk, about using condoms, to be informed that 'she is on the pill'.  So of course we had to expand our talk, about why you might still want to use protection, even if she is on the pill.  And me, being sort of paranoid as well as female, had to remind him that while his current girlfriend might be absolutely honest and forthright, some girls aren't and just because she says she is on the pill doesn't mean she is.

I have always thought that, uncomfortable as these conversations may be, I never liked assuming my kid was too young.  The younger he was, the simpler and shorter our conversations were.  They might have been prompted by a situation on tv (we were Buffy fans, so got to have lots of lovely conversations about sex, sexual preference, not loosing yourself in relationships), or by something he said about his life and what his friends were doing (peers often make great examples of what not to do....because your kid doesn't have personal feelings about the significant other, so can more easily see the downfalls).
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Re: Modern parenting is hard
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2017, 05:36:45 pm »
So that's basically where I'm at, dancing delicately around this issue. Hopefully with the school year in session I've bought some time, because we've always got a lot of stuff going on now so free weekends are a rarity, but I know eventually the issue might come up. I just don't really know what I should do when it does.

So I want to preface this by explaining a bit about my very mixed family.  My husband and I have three kids between us, two from previous relationships (one each), and one we adopted (extremely long story).  All boys, aged 14, 11, and 10. 

For me personally, I believe in educating and trusting.  I'd rather teach kids about sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and how to do things safely.  I don't believe in telling kids "no, don't do that, wait until you're married".  When you tell a kid that, it gives whatever "it" is a sense of mystery and risk.  It suddenly becomes forbidden, taboo.  And at the same time, I will tell you from personal experience, kids are NOT stupid, and they understand WAY more than we give them credit for.  So do what we did with our oldest...explained our concerns about the situation, and why we were hesitant about certain things.

We've educated about all of the things I mentioned and them some, and we tried to make everything as non-taboo as possible.  It's not that we want them running around having sex with everything they want because they used a condom, but rather, we gave them the tools for when the situation occurs and the knowledge to make their own decisions.  And at the same time, we've let them know that we trust them enough to make that decision for themselves. 
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