The View of a Parent of a Teenager

Before I begin, I should say that I have no intention or desire to shame Lulu in person or on the page but I’d like to write from my point of view as a pretty hapless, ‘new-to-this-stuff’ parent. If you are going to capture your life in written form, it’s not always the stuff you were looking forward to. There is no shame meant for Lulu at all.

Let’s start at the beginning. What happened? Well, for some weeks now, Lulu has gone off to meet her boyfriend in town, promising us it was all innocent. Duh. From this angle, I’m wondering what the hell was I thinking? And would I have said the same thing to my parents?

This is where it gets cloudy. When I was fourteen, a few kids were sexually active but, according to Lu, most kids are doing ‘stuff’ now. Apparently they are in our neighbourhood anyhow. Is this because of social media? Because we live in the countryside? I don’t know. And when I mean sexually active, I mean with their own peer group. I’ve discovered this is a cruel trick for parents – since from a legal standpoint, there’s not much you can do about it.

Home Office guidance is clear that there is no intention to prosecute teenagers under the age of 16 where both mutually agree and where they are of a similar age.

Ok, there’s the technicality sorted. Here comes the blind confusion. When I started becoming sexually active, I was old enough to be pretty independent. I could cook for myself, clean for myself. I could pretty much look after myself.

And Lulu? Combined with not working, I do a lot of stuff for her. She’s fourteen, and a good student, and it’s my pleasure to. So the combination of cooking Lulu breakfast, packing her school bag and then discovering about her activities later in the day makes me feel like the Earth’s orbit has gone weird.

I’ve been trying to process the news. Walking around my mum’s local Tesco’s in a trance. Unfortunately or fortunately, I can’t freak out at Lulu from far away.

In between walking around like a zombie and wondering if the Earth’s gone out of alignment, I am also trying to understand it. And because this is Lulu’s boyfriend and she says she loves him, I find myself looking for a solution. How could this begin to work? Do we ban Lulu from seeing her boyfriend? Bit impossible when she sees him at school. Do we ban her going to town now? Kids meet up there, after school and on the weekends; it’s one of the perks of living in a relatively safe place. Hmm. That’s where Lu and her boyfriend were meeting up. Trying not to hate town.

Or do we tell her instead that she can still see him but only at our house? In fact, he was at our house – Jack made a big Sunday dinner for them both this weekend. Jack said he didn’t see anything untoward happening at the time, which feels like a good sign. And if we do it this way, we wouldn’t be banning Lulu from seeing him, but they would be under our supervision. I’m leaning toward this option. Leaning being the operative word. Right now, none of the horizon is straight.

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