Yes, I Bought Condoms For My Son

buying condoms

My oldest son is sixteen and has a girlfriend.  How this happened, I have no idea.  Didn’t I just bring that swaddled lump home from the hospital?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was mooning over Blue’s Clues (and I was mooning over Steve Burns)?  Wasn’t it just recently that the most stressful speck on the horizon of his childhood was signing him up for t-ball?

I blinked, though, and here he is – more man than boy, navigating his first teen romance.

I was sixteen when I had my first serious (okay, my first) boyfriend.  My mother took me to the doctor to get a prescription for the Pill.  Looking back, I now understand how difficult that must have been for her.  I think the tendency for most parents is to want to keep our kids young and innocent.  It’s painful letting go of them, step by step, watching them grow into their own lives and away from us.  We dole out lectures and try to lay down rules meant to keep them safe, and if we are honest, meant to feed our illusion that we remain in control of the choices they will make.

As much as I’d like to keep my son young and safely tied up in my apron strings, I realize that it’s folly.  He is growing up, and he is making his own choices more and more.  The best I can hope for is that his dad and I have instilled in him the values that will dictate good decision-making on his part.

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It was actually two of my close girlfriends who informed me one night over dinner that, now that my son had a girlfriend, and being of the age he is, it’s time to buy him some condoms and have that talk with him.  Not the sex talk – the birth control talk, the protection talk.  I was horrified.  Although I remember what my own mother did for me, I wasn’t prepared to deal with this with my own children – let alone my son.

But the more I contemplated it, the more I realized that they were right.  I could live in denial that my son was even thinking about sex; I could try to convince myself that his relationship with his girlfriend was innocent and platonic; I could close my eyes to the fact that when I was sixteen . . . But it was no use.  The inner voice that spoke the loudest in my head was the one saying, “Yeah, and while you’re busy trying to fool yourself, he could be getting her knocked up.  At sixteen.”  And the imagined implications of that scared the daylights out of me.  Two young lives potentially detoured irrevocably, forever.

I had the birth control talk with my son – a straightforward, brief monologue on my part which (hopefully) hid my wrecked nerves, while he stood with a stricken look on his face, very much like a deer in headlights.  But even after the talk, I realized that, at whatever point in time he actually decided to become sexually active, it was highly unlikely that he would have the means or the nerve to procure condoms himself.  And if one thing led to another, as they so often do . . . well, one time is all it would take.

The next time I went to Target, I had condoms on my mind.  I couldn’t bring myself to go down that aisle, though.  For the next few weeks, the condoms mocked me every time I ventured into Target.  Eventually, I was able to casually push my cart down that aisle, glancing at the condoms in my peripheral vision as I glided by.  Finally, a few days ago, I once again found myself at Target.  “This is it,” I told myself.  “This time, I’m doing it.”

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I approached the aisle.  I ventured a casual glance to see if anyone else was in the aisle; when I found it empty, I rolled my shopping cart down the linoleum and stopped in front of the condoms, and promptly began to hyperventilate.  Words jumped out at me in neon script: “Pleasure Pack,” “Easy Glide,” “Ribbed for Her Pleasure,” “Fun Colors!”  Holy mother of god!  I don’t want to think about my son having fun!  Or pleasure!  “Don’t faint, don’t faint, just breathe, nice and easy . . .” I told myself.  Finally, at the bottom of the display were the no-nonsense, plain condoms.  How many to get, though?  Crap!  Six?  Twelve?  I finally decided on the economy pack of thirty-six – not because I wanted him to have that much sex, but because I never wanted to find myself in this aisle on his behalf again.

I threw the box in with my paper towels and cereal and Pine Sol and diapers, and made my way to the front of the store to pay.  My heart was thumping and I felt very close to tears – this was some kind of bizarre milestone in my childrearing career, for sure.  Of course a twenty-something guy manned every open checkout lane, only recently out of high school themselves, no doubt.  I briefly felt embarrassed about my loot, but I couldn’t worry about what the cashier might think for too long.

I deposited the box of condoms in my oldest son’s bathroom and sent him this email:

Son,

Up on a high shelf in the cabinet in your bathroom, you will find a bag.  Inside the bag is a box of condoms.

I realize that just reading this will probably horrify you – your mom buying condoms for you??  Blech!  I know.  Believe me, it wasn’t any easier for me to buy them than it probably is for you to be reading this.  However, as uncomfortable as it might make either of us feel, the fact is that you are of a certain age when things might happen, and because I love you so very much, and care so much about your well-being and your future, as a responsible parent, I have to ensure that you are protected. 

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This is not permission from Dad or me.  Sex, as we have talked about before, is a huge responsibility with tremendous implications, and the truth is that it’s best left to adults.  I hope you will wait.  But to count on that would be unrealistic; I realize that you will make your own choices in this regard, just as I did when I was your age.  The best I can do is to encourage you to make those choices with intelligence and respect, and armed with protection.

This is an informational video about how to use a condom:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdSq2HB7jqU

I love you.

Mom

We haven’t spoken of it since. He didn’t acknowledge my note, but I didn’t expect him to. Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of that Target bag up on a high shelf in his bathroom cabinet. And I know I did the right thing.

About the writer

In addition to Scary Mommy, Lisa's writing has appeared on Mamalode, Mamapedia, and Literary Mama.  She is raising seven kids with her husband in Southern California, and blogs at Life As I Know It.

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stephanie 4 months ago

I’m sorry have some of the people on here never been 16?? You can talk to your kids about sex and tell them they should wait and all that but at the end of the day they are 16 and have desires and hormones and since they are 16 they’re not always going to make the right, adult decision. I think it’s better to help them in any way you can to help them be responsible since at the end of the day they’re probably just going to end up doing what they want anyway

nicole 4 months ago

LOL my mom tried to do that.. believe me it didnt work I resented her for a long time , I really didnt speak to her for years. I got into things worse than teenage pregnancy and I couldnt wait to get out of her house . Its not a good choice.She tried to smother me into doing what she wanted me to do aka not date. Did not work I have 2 kids and a 3rd on the way. I dont know how Ill handle it but I know I will not smother every absolute minute and make them feel like I was made to feel.

hannah 4 months ago

To me, I would think that if my child is going to take that step at 15 or 16 and they want the responsibility that comes with sex, that they can go and get their own protection, just like any responsible sexually active person (or adult, whatever) has to do. Sex is a huge responsibility and I would think that letting them buy their own protection would be part of the learning(I have a few years before I have to cross this bridge with my child, so this may all come back to bite me later). Altho, I can also understand being afraid that your child may just be to afraid to buy them and will go without instead of going thru the embarrassment of it. Ultimately we just all want or children safe and do what’s best for own family.
:-)

Jill 4 months ago

Thank you for writing this…my oldest son is still a couple years away from 15, but the thoughts of how and when I should approach the topic of sex have been entering my mind. We’ve already had conversations spurred on by the wonderful internet when something pops ups during an innocent search…ie: he did a report on beavers. I think that people who are “hating” on your post live in a very naive world. I think you are a wonderful mom. The best thing we can do for our kids is to be realistic (but like you said, does NOT necessarily mean giving permission), educating our kids, arming them, and preparing them for life. I went to school with kids that had parents that lived in the aforementioned naive world, and those were the kids that ended up pregnant, doing drugs, partying, etc., I think partly to rebel against all the smothering, but also because they weren’t educated on the real consequences of these kinds of actions because their parents never did talk openly with them. You’re doing a good job, thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

A. 5 months ago

I just discovered my 16-year-old son bought his own. I’m pretty sure he is keeping them in his vehicle, and after I recover from the array of feelings I’m having, may send an email warning him that summer heat will not be kind to them . . . I don’t want to embarrass him, and in general our relationship is pretty open, but I was not ready. I had been contemplating buying some for him, but when I found the receipt for a pack of Trojans (and Reese cups), I realized he had beaten me to it. While I’m glad he’s being proactive, I truly hope he waits a little longer.

Terri Jones 6 months ago

What a relief I found your post. My son and I have been having the talk for quite a while! Tonight I gave him a box begged that he make the best choices. At least he can talk to me when these choice get so confusing.

Thanks again for sharing

momma 7 months ago

ARE YOU SERIOUS?! The first time you tell a child to not do something, they are going to want to and usually will, do it!!! Relationships are a normal part of life! Every teenage girl or boy is changing from a child to an adult and with that comes hormones, anger, anxiety and yes, relationships with the opposite sex. I would much rather spend money on birth control and health safety than have my child pregnant or infected with some funk!!!! Sex is a natural part of life, and while I want my kids to wait till they are married, it probably isn’t going to happen…..

Madam Jinx 9 months ago

Brilliant! I have a son, but he is only a baby right now. I often find myself thinking of the future. And the sex talk is one thing on my mind. I don’t plan on waiting until he is a teen and full of hormones. I want to introduce a limited, age appropriate talk when he is younger, and update it as he ages. I hope by doing this, maybe he will actually absorb some of what I say in the later years instead of just staring at me in horror. The buying condoms thing I will absolutely do, and I hope to refrain from counting them.

Dani 9 months ago

My first boyfriend and I were sexually incompatible. Trust me, I KNEW.

Dani 9 months ago

That is wonderful. I’ll remember that for when mine is old enough (in 362 years).

RealityCheck 9 months ago

What are you going to do? Follow your kid around school or have ththem wear a camera thats recording all day? You DO realize that teens will cut class to have sex right? You realize that they’re going to do it wherever they can find even just a bit of privacy.. don’t you? My mother talked about sex with me.. I took sex ed and was enrolled into so many extea-curricular activities that I didn’t have time to have sex after school. I lived in the middle of no where and didn’t have my own wheels to get to my boyfriend’s house…. My mother wanted me to wait and abstain from sex and she was always there whenever he was around me… guess what I did regardless of any of that? I had sex. I had sex and got pregnant at 17, had my son at 18. I suspect we didn’t use the condom properly.

Those walking hormone vessels called teenagers will have sex.

I am now married to the man who is raising my ex’s son, and we’ve given my son 2 little brothers. I am going to buy them their first box of condoms. I will also be making them go with their girlfriends to ask questions when the girlfriend decides what kind of birth control is best for her. I am going to do this because I’d rather KNOW that they have condoms than become a grandma before I’m 40

Anita 9 months ago

This makes me feel so much better for when this day comes in my own son’s life. He is so small now but I know it will be here before I know it.

Brittany 11 months ago

Good for you. My mom is a school nurse so I grew up with sexual education a normal thing in our household. I never got a talk but thats because I was her practice when it came to her school sex ed lesson plans. When my husband and I started dating I was 17 and my mom brought condoms home with groceries one night. I was so confused when I opened that bag to put groceries away. Her response was just “If you or your friends do get pregnant I just want to make sure that I did what I could to protect you”. I had been on birth control for 3 years already due to reasons other than actual birth control and my moms friends had to male sure to tell me it wasn’t an excuse to have sex. My mom raised me to respect myself so I stood my ground on not doing anything with any of my boyfriends until I was ready. At 18 after a year of dating my husband I finally lost my virginity but that was after he turned me down once telling me he didn’t want to rush in case I wasn’t really ready yet. Thats how I knew I wouldn’t regret it even if we didnt stay together forever. My mom did the same thing with my brothers and they are both over 20 and they both waited til after 18 too. I just had my first child at 29 years old so my moms method worked pretty well. Haha. Im hoping if I just raise my daughter the same and don’t use scare tacticts or keep her clueless she will be sexually responsible too. Every friend I had thats parents tried to scare them out of having sex ended up with a baby before graduation.

Sara 11 months ago

I have a 2 year old boy and I dread that he will be 16 before I know it. He’s my baby and will never need condoms before he’s plenty old enough. I know I’m probably dreaming and I just hope to be able to have that conversation as well as you did. The email you sent him made me teary eyed and know how much you love him and how difficult it was. We grew up where sex was bad so everything was sneaking around. I don’t want that for my son and I also don’t want to be a grandma in 14 years so we will have this conversation!

Kimberly 11 months ago

This is an incredibly naive comment. If a person thinks they are really ready wether they are mature enough or not they are going to have sex. It doesnt matter the majority of the time if they have a condom or not unfortunately, if it did there would not be all the teen pregnancies and stds there are.

Lindsay 11 months ago

But…if you wait until you’re married, how will you have any idea that what you experience *isn’t* compatibility? My aunt and uncle both waited until they were married (granted, they were 18 and 19 when they married), but they both say that, as far as they’re concerned, their spouse is the best lover who has ever lived, and not a single person in the world will ever be able to prove otherwise. Maybe ignorance IS bliss!

Cristin 11 months ago

I don’t know if I would buy my son condoms or not (he’s only 2) but I really like your note.

Caroline 12 months ago

While its great that you realize he will be making his own choices, I find it a poor move on your part that you would buy the condoms for him. If he thinks he is responsible enough to have sex than he can buy his own condomes. If he is too embarrassed or doesn’t have the funds then that should be a CLEAR sign to him that he shouldn’t be having sex. Parents need to start realizing and teaching their kids that they are still kids. I don’t believe that ANY junior high/high schooler is mature or responsible enough to be having sex. Accidents happen even with the best protection and/or birth control. Part of having sex is understanding that and being able to deal with whatever “consequence” happens WITHOUT needing to rely on your parents help. Sex is for grown ups who can take care of themselves not kids who still rely solely on parents to survive!

Adie 12 months ago

5 years ago, when my baby boy was sixteen … I did the same. Still do actually, albeit under the pseudonym of “the horny little Christmas Fairy”. I have also supplied my two nieces with condoms when their mom was too embarrased to do so and all 3 kids have made it safely to adulthood sans babies or STI’s. With HIV, HPV and a host of other diseases they could be exposed to I would do it again. And no – condoms arent a license to go out and be reckless. But I’d rather they be safe than sorry.

reality check 12 months ago

Holy crap. Get your head out of the clouds. Independence seeking is the first thing children learn to do even from their first steps as toddlers. Try to control a teenager. I DARE you. Unless you plan on holding them hostage in a room with a gun outside, it’s not going to happen. They will do what they plan to do in the first MOMENT they are out of your sight (a lot of schools have issue with kids having sex in the restrooms and locker rooms). And unless you plan on being that creepy mom with her 40 year old child living in the basement, you better promote independence and good decision making at an early age, as well as the consequences of poor decision making. I KNOW people who flat out refused to even HELP the teen get protection and those are the ones that ended up with babies at 15. Like the article states above, ARMING your teen with protection is not the same as giving permission as long as you communicate clearly and LIKE AN ADULT with your teen about expectations of how adult people should conduct their lives, but above all how to NOT GET INTO A TEEN PREGNANCY.

Besides, who says mom has to pay for the contraception? Most teens have part time jobs because they want to put gas in their cars and be able to do harmless fun things with their friends (concerts, dinners, fairs, shopping, etc). Being a teenager is learning how to care for yourself. If they miss out on a vital piece of that education, mom will be grandma far too soon.

J Cook 12 months ago

I am going to print out the email you wrote and give it to my son when he has his first serious relationship. I will also be taking my daughter to the OB/GYN when she is ready. My mom never talked to me about sex and that is a mistake that I hope I will not repeat. I waited until I got married, and I am glad that I did. But that doesn’t mean that my children will. What is this American hangup about sex? It happens! And yes, sometimes is happens way too early! I would much rather have a serious discussion about sex and it’s consequences than pretend my kids won’t have sex. Talking about sex and discussing options is NOT permission!

DJ 12 months ago

And everytime he thinks of having sex, he remembers he has a condom…

and then he thinks about who bought that condom.

Eventually he will be old enough to put that thought out of his head and take the plunge anyway – but you may well have delayed it for months, or even years.

Good job, Mom, I’m proud of you.

J Cook 12 months ago

Because that always works with teenagers, right? “You can’t have sex, because I said so!” then stick your head in the sand and be shocked when you find out that you are about to become a grandparent. Teenagers are going to have sex, whether you like it or not. I would rather spend $10 on birth control than $1000s of dollars of prenatal care.

MommaLynnea 12 months ago

My son is 13… we started have talks when he had his first physical where I was asked to leave the room 2 years ago. Our doctor is great and explained why she was examining a private area of his body. On the way home that day I started the conversation about why this was important and talked to him about the day he was older and would be thinking about having sex. I know it embarrassed him and I let him know it was ok to be embarrassed. I also let him know that I loved him and he could ask me anything.
He knows that his Dad had his older sister when he was only 17. He has 3 nephews older than him. We decided to always be open to answering his questions.
When he came home after Health class last year and wanted to talk I just kept doing what I was doing and talked to him like it was no big deal. He said he thought he would wait until he got married to have sex. And this is what I told him… Son, I hope you do too.. but the reality of it is you most likely won’t. I hope you never feel pressured to be sexually active. You should only have sex with someone you love and who loves you. When the time comes for you to be with a person you love you need to protect yourself and that person by using condoms. If you can’t buy them yourself, please let me know. I will be sure you have them NO QUESTIONS ASKED. By using birth control you show respect for yourself and your partner. Don’t have sex to get it over with.. really truly, love and respect whoever is your first because you only get that one time. I plan to buy him condoms when the time comes.
OH.. we also had a talk about I don’t care who he loves as long as they love him back. I have gay friends, straight friends, multi cultural friends. I said as long as you are happy and they love you as much as you love them, don’t be afraid to tell me. They can be purple with green polka dots and I will still be ok if they love you and treat you with love. He was a bit astonished when I asked if he liked girls and he said NoooooOOOO. I asked do you like boys? And he said NO.. why would you even ask that? I then explained that some people are attracted to boys and some girls and that it is normal and ok. I have too many friends who have almost died because they aren’t in love with the opposite sex.
My job as a parent is to love him and support him and keep him safe as long as possible. I also have to teach him to be responsible and to care enough about any sex partner he has to protect them BOTH.

Sandy Smith 1 year ago

Thanks to this blog and everyone’s info – I have armed myself and today’s the day that I’ll be doing the talk, not the sex talk but yip that all important protection talk – I’ve been up all night praying, reading every known question and answer to man about sex ed and yip even watched and learnt a thing or two at age 31 about using condoms correctly

Sandy Smith 1 year ago

Dear Scary Mommy aka Lisa Reading your blog has made me feel more at ease and comfortable enough to be able to stop at our petrol station and buy condoms ?!? Today’s the day that I not only need to buy condoms but will try and show my step son how to use them – not something I have ever thought was needed until I found a empty wrapper in his car yesterday, it made the blood drain from my face and I felt that I had yet again failed that ‘parental notch’ om our parental to do list – OMGoodness the thought that he stopped and had intercourse with his girlfriend on the side of the road and perhaps even used the condom incorrectly has scared the day lights out me! I’ve been up all night arming myself with every sex question and answer, how to talk and show them how to use condoms and yes how to do all the above remaining calm, cool and approachable – not an easy task! Thanks again for your blog, the way you managed to handle this topic is just what I needed to read – def something I’ll be able to follow suit with and YES will need to raise our 3 youngest boys who to will one day need this advise! Thanks again x x x wish me luck just writing the above had made me feel nauseous x x x

Amanda 1 year ago

As an 18 year old with lots of 16 to 19 year old friends I can assure you that no matter how involved a parent is, if a teen wants to go have sex, they can and the majority of the time the parents have no idea. I’m not Archdale active but many of my friends are and I easily could be if I wanted to be

Amanda 1 year ago

The problem with that logic is that many teenagers don’t look at things rationally like that. I’m 18 and many of my friends including my 16 year old sister are having sex and they will continue to do so whether they have condoms or not but are not willing to go out and buy them themselves due to either embarrassment or cost. For that reason I buy bulk packs of condoms when they are on sale in order to be sure my sister and best friends are safe and I’m glad I do because the pregnancy scares of their’s have completely stopped since then.

Christabelle Windle Oberholzer 2 years ago

Jen Sheehan heat of the moments happen without parent supervision, at 16 he will still be supervised not left on his own, sincerely not an absentee parent, if you send the kids into the fire should you be surprised if they get burned

Jen Sheehan 2 years ago

It's very respectful of the young woman for him to say "I have condoms, if you're sure you want to do this."

Jen Sheehan 2 years ago

Great, glad you talked about it with him. However, what if he's in the "heat of the moment" and choses to have sex? If there are no condoms for him to use, do you trust the teenage brain? If you do, you are an idiot. Teenage brains are not fully developed brains. Look it up.

Jenelle 2 years ago

You said what I was thinking…if it’s embarrassing as hell for us as adults to buy condoms, there’s no way my son would buy them on his own. But he needs to know the embarrassment and realize also how easy they are to get. I will be taking my children (2 boys, 1 girl, each when its appropriate to them) to the store to buy condoms and it will be embarrassing for all involved…me three times. Yay!

Dana Meijler-Gross 2 years ago

You are one courageous mama to prepare your son for this milestone whenever it may happen, rather than sticking your head in the sand and pretending it won't. Thanks for writing this piece.

Lisa 2 years ago

Wow. Do you really believe that?

Lisa 2 years ago

Of course!

Daniel Callen 2 years ago

The reason you feel uncomfortable about what you have done is because it is wrong but you just rode roughshod over your finer feelings in your dash to be a "cool mom" or whatever game you are trying to play. Your son doesn't know any better but you should.

Kelly 2 years ago

I realize teens will do what they want to do. I did at 16. My boyfriend/now husband and I didn’t have our parents keeping the homes stocked w/ condoms. It was an adult decision, so we used money from our jobs to drive our cars to the store to buy them. What a tough time…having future goals but dealing w/ these physical/emotional feelings. My daughter is 15 and very academic. She has a boyfriend, and I like the type of relationship they have…not obsessive or consuming. I love my life especially HER, but a month before I met her dad, I was a high school junior touring Ohio State Univ College of Veterinary Med. I had my future all planned out. Now I’ve been a SAHM to 3 for 15yrs, and I don’t know where my brain is. It’s not just the risk of pregnancy/STDs..sex connects you deeply w/ a person. That is needed in a marriage, but not in the teen years. All my children came after marriage, but because of an intimate relationship I lost focus of my future goals. I would hate for that to happen to my children.

Carrie @ The Birtch Bunch 2 years ago

I did something very similar – but I wish I had thought of the youtube link. I ended up giving my son a book on sexual health. He’s 22 now and confessed not too long ago that after reading the book, it was all he could mentally visualize when faced with a situation that could lead to more… The book was a good first level of protection. I applaud you for loving you son more than your denial.

Michael 2 years ago

Pam,

Think about what you’re really saying: let him get a disease or his girlfriend pregnant if he’s too much of a wuss to go and buy condoms on his own. He and she should be punished; serves ’em right.

There’s no easy answer on how to handle a teenage boy with his first girlfriend at an age where hormones are raging, they are naturally irresponsible and immature in more ways than one. If they’re gonna do it, despite the parent counseling against it at this age (which was done if you read the post), why wouldn’t you at least try to set them in a decent direction? What if the girl was your daughter, and the boyfriend’s mom took your advice?

Stephanie Per Due Sumulong 2 years ago

I know Lisa and I can guarantee you she talked about all of those things. She's written about it before. Check out her blog.

Christabelle Windle Oberholzer 2 years ago

WOW, I really disagree, I have already had a few of these talks with my 11 year old son, we are open and talk about relationships and respecting his body, we want him to have a plan and that doesn't involve becoming sexually active at 16, is it foolish to think he will be abstinent, maybe, but having open conversations helps and teaching him Gods plans for him helps even more, we see so many parents that treat teenagers like adults, and then scroll through hundreds of blogs of people who wish their parents would have encouraged them to wait, not just get it over with.

Lisa 2 years ago

Right, but when did not being ready ever stop anyone who really wanted to do something? Come on, people, a little dose of reality here! You’re talking in “ideal” terms.

Lisa 2 years ago

Right. You would hope that anyone who decides to have sex is old enough for the responsibility that goes along with their choices, but we all know that kids do foolish, sometimes life altering things. I hope my kid waits until he’s an adult and actually ready for the responsibilities that go along with having sex, but obviously I can’t guarantee that. If I can be instrumental in at least preventing a pregnancy or STD, why in the world wouldn’t I do that? And no, I absolutely would not condone underage drinking, but I’m really not sure what that even has to do with the topic at hand.

Lisa 2 years ago

Really not sure how anything I wrote gives the impression that I haven’t taught my son to respect women . . . ::scratching head::

Lisa 2 years ago

Yes, I’ve talked to him about all those options, as I explained in my post. Frankly, though, I would never advise anyone to wait until they’re married – I can’t imagine waiting until you’re legally tied to someone by marriage to find out if you’re sexually compatible. I think it’s enough to advise my kids to wait until they’re adults. However, as we all know, kids are going to make their own decisions; hence providing protection.

Laurie 2 years ago

Can I just go ahead and copy and paste this letter for later in my daughter’s life?? (changing some verbiage of course :)

Phoenixmummy 2 years ago

Read the post carefully…she did that beforehand.

Jimmy 2 years ago

I have no idea how I’ll approach this when it’s my turn – our kids are still toddling around. I can say that when I became active at a similarly young age I personally felt if I was going to do the deed that it was my responsibility to do the seemingly embarrassing act of buying the condoms myself. I may even remember a teacher saying something along the lines of “if you can’t handle buying condoms, you can’t handle sex.” I guess that statement had some impact on me, since I remember it and all. I don’t know what I think of that line now.

I didn’t have “the talk” with my folks until after I became sexually active. I don’t know if/how it would have changed things for me, but I expect I’ll have it with my kids earlier than I think it’s needed. I commend you for trying to do the right thing – heck, for trying anything – even if it was terribly uncomfortable.

Fun anecdote: I can remember buying condoms and Altoids mints once as a teenager (because you *have* to buy something else with them) and without skipping a beat the lady at the register said “you’re going to have to use these [points to altoids], if you’re going to want to use those [points to condoms].” I nearly died.

Also – Amazon, Soap (dot) com and other online outlets can help you avoid that in-store embarrassment (and gives you the opportunity to research what you’re getting before buying), all from the discrete confines of your web browser. You know, in case that three dozen doesn’t last as long as you hope 😉

Truthie 2 years ago

The teenage child’s sex life is not for the parents to control, but the parents are expected to spend THEIR money on contraceptives and condoms for the teens?

Our thoroughly 21st century. Mom, dad, shut up about what I do with my body. Just buy me condoms, birth control, provide shelter and food.

Here’s a novel idea. No dating until you are an official adult. Then, when you have your own place, money, etc, you can do whatever you want. Until then, this is my house, and it’s my way or the highway.

Shannon 2 years ago

Have you ever considered that sometimes girls are the culprits in convincing boys they are ready?? It takes 2. And I believe she was teaching him about respect! A respectful man would want to protect the woman he loves. (And I am a mom of 2 small girls. I am thankful for moms like these)

Shannon 2 years ago

This is a great post. As a mom with a 3 teenage boys, I know there is nothing I can do to stop raging hormones and the possibility of them having sex. It is not condoning having sex to protect your child, and someone else’s child in the process. I think it’s a responsible parent that ACCEPTS that teens will often have sex and keeps an open, honest relationship with their children to ensure that an unexpected pregnancy doesn’t result in a baby in the dumpster because the kids were terrified of their parents reactions!!! I think this post sends a powerful message to a teen, and I wish there were more parents who would get a grip with REALITY and NOT with what they wish would be!

Frances Henry 2 years ago

I love this post..and hope that when it comes time for me to have this talk with my sons I can do it as gracefully as you!

Leslie Mom of 4 2 years ago

You are so brave. I agree with you except for one thing. I will make all 3 of my boys come with me to the store and buy their own condoms. If they aren’t able to get their own protection, they definitely aren’t ready for sex. Of course this is all theory for me because my oldest boy just turned 5 but you are an amazing example. Lord help me when it comes to my daughter!

Sarah 2 years ago

It concerns me that I see people rushing to put their daughters on birth control, as though that were as simple as a male using a condom. Birth control is a serious hormone, the results of which vary from person to person and are unpredictable. I know of several people who experienced severe symptoms after trying out the pill. Sometimes these were resolved by working with their doctor to find the correct dosage/pill, and other times it just wasn’t an option. Personally, I experience a very serious depression when on any dosage of birth control, such that I seriously considered taking my own life. I don’t know how normal such an extreme reaction is, but it is enough to give me pause before rushing to put my daughter (who, fortunately is still 4 months away from being born) on the pill. Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but it is as much as juvenile boys thinking it is okay to be sexually active.

carol capper 2 years ago

great post! and thanks for the link to the video! i am bookmarking it for when the time comes. and i liked redmam’s comment: “like it or not, your teen’s sex life is not yours to control.” reminds me a little of a quote from this sweet article: “And she taught me that my children are not truly mine. They don’t belong to me; they’ve simply been entrusted to me. They are a gift life gave to me, but one that I must one day give back to life. They must grow up and go away and that is as it should be.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/opinion/blow-the-passion-of-parenting.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Leslie Mom of 4 2 years ago

Wow. Did you even read the article? How is teaching him to protect himself (and her I might add) disrespectful? In fact it is the opposite.

Lynn 2 years ago

My sister got pregnant at 15. Her life still hasn’t recovered, and possibly never will. Good for you. My oldest will go to kindergarten this fall, and I am already scared about what comes 10 years after that. Aren’t we all? I will do what you did, because I know what happens when you don’t.

Shawna 2 years ago

You’re wrong? How is she wrong to know that her son is at an age where she will not be able to control every decision he makes? How is she wrong to inform him of the consequences of unprotected sex? How is she wrong to saying that she is not giving him permission to have sex, but hope that he will wait until he is an adult and ready for such a relationship? How is she wrong for making sure she protects her son, in this generation, from ruining his life and someone else’s life? How is she wrong for being the best parent possible for her son? You are the one that is wrong, and if you do unsubscribe from her blog, I think you are doing her a favor

Shawna Driggers 2 years ago

You're wrong? How is she wrong to know that her son is at an age where she will not be able to control every decision he makes? How is she wrong to inform him of the consequences of unprotected sex? How is she wrong to saying that she is not giving him permission to have sex, but hope that he will wait until he is an adult and ready for such a relationship? How is she wrong for making sure she protects her son, in this generation, from ruining his life and someone else's life? How is she wrong for being the best parent possible for her son? You are the one that is wrong, and if you do unsubscribe from her blog, I think you are doing her a favor.

Larissa 2 years ago

So, my son is the same age. My husband and I have talked with him about the need to protect himself and any partners he will have at some point. He has had the first in the series of three HPV vaccinations. Our son is mature enough to openly discuss sex and uses proper terminology without wincing. However, I told him that if he isn’t mature enough to purchase condoms, he has no business having sex. If he doesn’t have money to pay for them, he knows where the family petty cash box is in the kitchen, and that he has permission to take what he needs to purchase protection. We have also discussed that condoms + birth control pills does not always equal no pregnancy; he is living proof of this. We have expressed that we would prefer that he abstain from sex until he is in a long term committed relationship (preferably marriage) but we understand that things happen. Luckily, our son has made a conscious choice not to date seriously. We have taught him well, laid out our hopes and expectations, and provided the resources for him to choose responsibility. That is all we can do. May God have mercy on my nerves!!! :)

Kate Rademaker Webster 2 years ago

I love that I'm not the only one who loves Steve from Blue's Clues!

Tiffanie Ujfalusi 2 years ago

Someone said you can't just buy protection for girls off the shelves… in fact there is no reason not to also supply condoms to girls so they have them as well. There is more at play than just birth control. And a lot of people seem think that risk reduction is encouragement, but that attitude may end up with you as a young grandparent.

Ellen 2 years ago

I’m probably in the minority here, but no, I would not buy condoms for my sons. I do talk to my boys about sex, but with a large emphasis on abstinence and waiting for marriage – both for religious and health reasons. Sex is wonderful, but has significant repercussions besides creating new life or the potential to spread disease.

I myself had sex (with a condom) when I was 16, and when I knew that it wasn’t going to be an isolated incident, went to the doctor and got the pill. I had a job and paid for it myself without my parents’ knowledge or permission. I want my boys to understand that sex is about more than just pleasure. I want them to respect themselves, their future girlfriends, and the powerful emotions that come with that level of intimacy. Sex should wait until they are ready – and if you are too embarrassed to purchase your own protection, you are NOT ready.

Pam StPeter 2 years ago

Any 16 year old who decides to have sex does not need his mommy buying his condoms. If he’s old enough to have sex, he’s old enough for all the responsibility that goes along with it. Including disease and unplanned pregnancy. Is this mom going to give her son his first beer at college too?!! Ridiculous!

Tiffanie Ujfalusi 2 years ago

How is it not teaching her son to respect women to provide condoms in case he AND the young woman decide to have sex? Seriously?

Michelle Eden-Duval 2 years ago

Good for you!

Amanda Douglas-Vaters 2 years ago

That would be the consent talk, which they already had a talk about the responsibilities that come with it if you had read this through. It's not wrong of her to make a choice to try and protect both her son AND his girlfriend from what could happen.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

I love when posts inspire great conversation! /end sarcasm

Ellen 2 years ago

I may be in the minority here, but no, I would not buy my sons condoms when they are dating and possibly having sex. I talk to my boys about sex, and it is not taboo, but there is a strong bias to those conversations about waiting for marriage, abstinence both for religious and health reasons, personal responsibility and respect for their (and their future girlfriend’s) bodies. Sex is wonderful, but has powerful repercussions not limited to creating new life or the potential to spread of disease.

I myself had sex (with condoms) at the age of 16, and when I knew that it wasn’t going to be an isolated incident, I went to the doctor and put myself on the pill. I had a job and I paid for it without my parent’s knowledge or permission. If a person – even at 16 – believes that they are ready for sex, then they have to be mature enough to take all the responsible precautions on their own. If buying condoms is too embarrassing, then they are NOT ready to have sex.

Jennifer Flaherty Schultz 2 years ago

You're wrong. I'm unsubscribing. Why not teach your son to respect women?

Redmam7 2 years ago

Good for you! I wish my mom had been more open and honest about sex when I was a teen. Like it or not, your teen’s sex life is not yours to control. Buying contraceptives and talking to your teen about responsible and healthy choices is all you can do. The rest is up to them.

Alex 2 years ago

When my daughter had her first serious boyfriend at the age of 15, I took her to get birth control. That was the most difficult decision I’ve made so far. But after weighing the pros and cons – I decided that I’d rather she be protected than live in the illusion that she is too young and won’t be sexually active. She was mortified when I told her the plan, because she was not going to have sex. But I reassured her that it is just a precaution for when she does make that decision and also emphasized that this is not permission! She has been with this same boy for over a year and I have no idea if she is sexually active, but I do have piece of mind that she is protected when the time comes.

Alison Taber 2 years ago

Kim, You are my hero. My boys are only 7 and 5 1/2, but I have already been plagued with what awaits me in 10 years, and plan to follow your wisdom and bravery. I’m assuming that you had a good relationship with the girls parents as well, and discussed this beforehand?

Beth 2 years ago

I should also note that I wish my mom had done the same for me. Not because I wanted to have sex, but I had horrible periods with awful cramping and unsightly acne. There are other reasons for a teenage girl to be on the Pill!

Diane 2 years ago

Thank, you, thank you, thank you! I say that on behalf of all mothers of 16 year old daughters, of whom I am one! I have kept an open dialogue with my daughter, and when she felt that she was ready, we went to the ob/gyn together, and she also asked questions, even though we had bought her a book , had talks, etc. It is a lot easier physically to prepare boys (can’t go to Target to buy birth control for girls off the shelf!) In no way is it giving permission, it is realizing that you want more than anything for your child to be protected, from unwanted pregnancy and STD’s, and a way of acknowledging their impending sexuality without making them ashamed of their bodies or their desires. As you said, it would be nice if they all waited until they were grown, had great jobs and financial responsibility for themselves before they started having sex, but, reality doesn’t jibe with that! I would rather put my daughter on the pill as an educated, informed , empowered young woman than to find her crying over an EPT stick in the bathroom any day! :)

Beth 2 years ago

My son is only 2, but when the time comes, yes I will. Not only do I not want to be a grandmother in the next 20 years, but condoms can prevent him from contracting (or, heaven forbid, spread) an STD. I will also teach him responsibility. I didn’t wait for marriage, but I did wait until I was ready (college), even though most of my friends had had sex long before me.

Toni Gehrig Rossmiller 2 years ago

Oh, I hope you also talked about abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, the emotional toll of being sexually active, etc. I get what you are saying — really, I do — but let's not forget that many teens and young adults DO choose to wait until later (even until marriage) to have sex. Please keep that option open for your son as well.

Me 2 years ago

I have a 4 year old daughter, and I DREAD “the talk”. I was 16 when I lost my virginity and I really REALLY wish my mom had “the talk” with me and made me realize I should have waited. But, what’s in the past is in the past and I can’t change what I did. Been with a great man almost 8 years now 😉

kim 2 years ago

My son is also 16; not only did I buy him condoms, but I also had him go with his girlfriend to the doctor when her mother took her to be put on birth control. I explained to him that this wasn’t just her deal and that he needed to support her. He went AND asked questions. Pretty sure he got the best boyfriend award for that one, plus scored some big points with her mom. :)

Anita Davis Sullivan 2 years ago

I think that most of my friends will follow the thought that such an act will imply permission and not do the same. But I don’t think I’ll be them, I think I’ll take the risk that they think it’s permission for the trade off of protection and my sons knowing that they can talk to us. But it’ll be hard.

Leslie 2 years ago

I did the same thing 16 years ago when my son was 15. I also told him I was not giving permission. Whew, glad those years are behind me.