Taming Teenage Trouble

My sweet son was born on September 22, 2001. My water broke at 11 a.m. and he was born just after 3 p.m. He was the sweetest baby you ever met and has been that way for the last 12 years.

He is 13 now.

I hated when I turned 13 and my mom was convinced that because I was a teenager that everything I did would lead to trouble. We didn't have the internet or phones or social media then. I still got in more than my fair share of trouble.

Kids grow up much faster these days. They have access to adult stuff literally at their fingertips.

I got my son a cell phone for his 12th birthday. He had started riding the bus in the afternoon and I needed to know that he was home safe. I was set on a flip phone but an iPhone was cheaper and it was his birthday.

For the last year he has become more and more addicted to his phone. Gradually he started bringing it with him to school. It was good to know he could reach me. And I was glad he had friends texting and calling him. He's never been very social so I was pleased that he was part of a group that included him.

And the games. He loves Minecraft. Even goes to an after school club for it. He's excited when I pick him up from it to tell me about what he did. So I didn't mind him playing games on his phone as long as his school work was done.

But his homework hasn't been completely done lately and his grades have been falling. His dad was quick to blame the phone as a distraction and I was not on board. I wanted my son to be cool, hip. I wanted him to have access like the other kids. There's a lot of pressure to fit in, especially in middle school.

I didn't fit in while I was growing up. I was always the kid who wasn't allowed. My mom was very strict.

This week everything changed. Jacob broke the rules. My son went to his dad's last weekend and hid his phone so he could use it any time he wanted. His dad has rules about electronic devices. He has time limits. Jacob broke them and snuck extra time on his phone.

His dad found out from neighbors who noticed Jacob had his phone and asked him about it. My son lied and said it was at my house. Big mistake. Lies are the one thing we don't do.

My ex took the phone away. Rightfully so. And told me about what happened on Monday. I was mad about the lying and punishment happened at my house too.

On Tuesday the ex and I met so he could give me the phone. Jacob needed to be able to let me know he was home safely still.

But what happened next floored me. My ex had looked into my son's internet history. He told me that amidst the Minecraft videos were several adult videos. ADULT VIDEOS.

I nearly lost it. This was my sweet baby boy. The kid who still calls me Mommy at age 13.

I was dumbfounded. Stupified. And it was up to me to confront him.

I asked Jacob if there was something he wanted to tell me about what he had been looking up on his phone. He told me the truth. He turned beet red. He's a good kid and said he was curious. He blamed it on his hormones, which I understand. He is at that age.

I told him all I knew to say. I'm disappointed. That's not how people in love have sex. Women aren't objects. It's inappropriate. It's illegal (I wanted that one to scare him) He apologized. Profusely.

I reached out to friends for advice. They mostly thought it was hilarious. A close friend laughed that at least I didn't catch him watching The Notebook. Cause that would have been weird.

And that was it! I had the most brilliant parenting idea of all parenting ideas.

If he wanted hard core, I would show him the exact opposite.

I am making my son read the best love story I've ever read. It is impossible for him to think of the videos he was watching while reading The Notebook, right?

I want him to learn about unconditional love and cherishing the person you are with physically.  I want him to appreciate romance, happiness and how amazing being with the right person can be. 

I am certain that when Nicolas Sparks wrote the story he never thought it would end up as punishment to a curious 13 year old with raging hormones. I've actually interviewed Nicolas several times. He's got a posse of teenagers himself. I think he would love this idea.

?I'm so proud of my creativity. Score one for the single mom home team!

And if this doesn't work, I also have a copy of Bridges of Madison County.