I’ve watched parents raise children for 30 years (and raised four of my own), so I know how challenging it can be.
Here, I share a question that came to me as a pediatrician, along with my answer to this parent.
I hope that this will be helpful for other parents who may be experiencing the same issue.
I have a wonderful, innocent 14-year-old boy who accidentally walked in on my husband and me as we were having sex.
This really shook him up (as it did us). I tried my best to speak openly with him about how sex was a beautiful act in the eyes of God between two married people who love each other. Have we scarred him? How do we move forward?
Thank you for any insight you may have to help us.
Dear Embarrassed Mom,
Welcome to the stickiness of parenting! This has happened to countless couples, and their kids still go on to lead healthy lives. And no — you have not scarred your son. He has just been embarrassed (as you have).
Here’s what I recommend you do.
1.) Understand that no son or daughter ever wants to see his or her mom or dad having sex. Why? In their minds, every married person in the world is sexually active except you.
So it’s normal for teens to get the creeps thinking about their parents’ having sex.
That said, they know their parents have sex. You did the right thing in telling your son that it is wonderful and healthy for parents, but that no teen wants to walk in on his parents or think about his parents’ sex lives.
Addressing the beauty and the embarrassment at the same time is great.
2.) It’s best to openly address it with your son as you did — but after that, let it pass. He doesn’t think sex is creepy; he just doesn’t want to think about you and his father having it.
The more you bring the incident up, the more it will bother him.
If his father is more comfortable talking to him, that’s great, but if he isn’t, then you do it.
3.) After you wait several months, it is important to have conversations about sex in general: what you want for him, expect from him, etc. Discussing his sexual activity or lack of it (one hopes) is very, very important.
Use this incident as an opportunity to springboard into some very important conversations now and in the future. If his father is more comfortable talking to him, that’s great, but if he isn’t, then you do it.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the book “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need” (Regnery Publishing, May 2017), along with a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.