Expert Advice

Partying Teens

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q
Our teen threw a party without our permission. When we arrived home, we broke up the party and punished our son. We later noticed a blood stain on our bed sheet and I found a condom in my son's wallet. We assume that he had sex in our room with his girlfriend. What should we say to him?
A
Someone most likely used your bedroom for sex; perhaps it was your son. If so, your son knows that you'll notice the blood on the sheet. So the whole family has been living with heightened anxiety. Part of the natural consequences of his misdeeds was having you discover these things and ask him about them.

Calmly explain what you found and ask him to tell you what happened in your bedroom. I'd also have a discussion with him about his sexual activity with his girlfriend. It will be difficult to hold back your anger. You son has made some serious mistakes in judgment and has shaken your trust in him. Let him know these feelings and your profound disappointment in his actions. Allow him to redeem himself with honesty, remorse, and a heartfelt promise to behave with more integrity. Ask yourselves, "What do we want most to come out of this talk with our son?" When you have your answer to that question, you will know how best to proceed.

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

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