13 Going On 30


Dear Dharma,

Can you help me out with this, as it’s been bothering me for a while…

I think our 13-year-old daughter is having sex.  My wife has spoken to her, and she thinks I am right.
What do we do??  Is it illegal to lock her up until she turns 18??

No More Daddy’s Girl

Dear Daddy,

I’m not 100%, but yes, I do believe locking your child up for the next five years might bring a certain level of law enforcement knocking on your door.  Plus teenagers are slippery little suckers; she’d figure a way out of her tower before you could say Rapunzel…

There’s a lot of vagueness to your question.  You think she is having sex… Your wife has spoken to her, but…? Did nothing definitive come of that conversation?  I need more!

Since I don’t have your mobile in my contacts, I guess the basics are where we shall begin.  To say I hope your wife already had “the talk” with your daughter is like asking “What’s that burning smell?” when the toast is already on fire – a bit late at that point, right?

The first thing your wife needs to do is get more information.  I know it’s you asking the question, and you seem to want to be an involved dad, but everything –and I mean everything! – I’ve read on this topic says the best parent to talk to their teen about things like this is the same-sex parent.  Being a teenage girl is horrific enough.  To talk about sex with your dad would be like… would be like… oh lord, I don’t even know.  Death by shark attack, non?

Your daughter needs to know she can speak openly about her sexuality without fear of judgment or reprimand.  She also needs to understand the emotional consequences to this decision as well as the physical.  And she needs to understand how important it is to be responsible and respect her own body.

Secondly, if she is having sex at 13 (wow, that’s really young, even in today’s world, right?) she needs to have access to birth control, like, now.  Of course, I don’t know your take on contraceptives, but you asked what to do, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s got to play a part.

Your daughter deserves to have as much information on all of this as possible. Seriously, can you pass my site on to your daughter?  I feel like I could be of some assistance here…

The main thing is you and your wife need to get on the same page and start parenting this child of yours – it’s your job, right?  I can appreciate it’s not the easiest conversation, and it’s okay to be uncomfortable, but some embarrassment now will far outweigh the potential outcomes of this situation.



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