Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

A Scary Find for a Concerned Mom

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I have two teenage children. My son is 19 and my daughter is 15. I grew up in a home with very strict parents who set a lot of rules and wanted to know where my sisters and I were every hour of the day. At the time I hated it, but now I understand their rules from a parent’s perspective.

Shortly before my son went back to college, when I took some unclaimed laundry out of the dryer, I found an empty condom wrapper. My kids often buddy up on their laundry and there was clothing from both kids in the batch. Since he’s already been away at college I am not naive enough to think my son isn’t sexually active. But I have to admit I’m a little freaked-out to think my daughter is having sex already.

I don’t want to be as controlling as my parents, and I certainly don’t want to alienate my kids, but how do I approach them to find out what I may not want to know? --- SCARED TO ASK

DEAR SCARED TO ASK: You could try asking your kids separately about your find, but don’t count on a straight answer, especially if they’re inclined to cover for each other.

Being realistic about your son’s probable sex life is a sign you’re not looking to be as strict or controlling as you felt your parents were. He’s 19 and on his own most of the time, but a high school underclassman is a different story.

While some of my readers will say at least safe sex is being practiced, I’m not of the opinion most 15-year-olds are ready for the emotional aspects and potential risks of being sexually active. Because of that, you’re fully within your rights and acting as a loving, responsible parent to speak with your daughter about your concerns.

Whether the wrapper was hers or not, after she explodes ─ and I’d count on an explosion ─ at least she’ll know you care, although that might not be what she calls it or how she sees it right now.

Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at AskSomeoneElsesMom@gmail.com.