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My 12 year old daughter overheard me having sex, how do I handle this?


James Crist Replied: While such events are not uncommon, they are often embarrassing and it is hard to know how to best proceed without making too big of a deal of it. Remember that in many parts of the world, the concept of separate bedrooms for everyone is foreign and such events are much more commonplace. Most 12-year-olds are aware that parents have sex, at least in theory, but being confronted with the reality is a different matter. In deciding how to respond, it will help to consider the following questions. How did your daughter discover this? Was it at night when you assumed she was asleep? Was she listening purposely? Or was it purely accidental? Does she seem disturbed by it? Is she asking questions, or is she avoiding you due to her own discomfort? The answers to these questions will help guide your response. In general, you can just say that you and her father were having a private moment and that you are sorry if what she heard made her uncomfortable. Ask if she has any questions she'd like to ask you. Perhaps you can suggest if this occurs again that she can just come back later to talk with you. Let her also know that if it is something urgent that needs to be addressed, that she should knock on the door first.
Posted On 2007-11-27 09:16:31
Dr. Tom Greenspon Replied: This question raises a lot of other questions, so the answer depends on several things! Your first job is to find out what her reaction was: what did she hear and how did she feel about it? Her answers will give you some clues about what to discuss next. If you and she have talked about sex before, you can ask if she has questions about what she heard. If not, and you feel comfortable about the subject, you can use it as a beginning point for a discussion. Tell her that you hope she wasn't offended, and that you didn't mean to invade her privacy (or compromise yours), so you will keep this in mind in the future. Was she offended? Did she think what she heard was gross, or a turnoff? Listen to what she has to say, and share your ideas. There are several things that could complicate the picture here and that should be taken into account. If you are a divorced mom and this is an adult friend you were with, your daughter could be protectively resentful of the relationship. If your daughter, or a friend of hers, has had troubling sexual experiences, a host of other issues may need to be addressed. Whatever your personal situation, this would be a good opportunity to begin some conversations that could bring the two of you closer. If you are embarrassed by the subject, just begin by telling her that; it isn't easy for any of us to talk with our children about sex, but it's vitally important, so it's worth the effort even if you fumble a bit!
Posted On 2007-11-25 20:25:17
Margaret Heffernan Replied: I think the only way to handle this is to be upfront and explain to her what she heard. Be very positive about it (sex noises can sound like pain which is very frightening for kids.) Make it clear that sex is normal, happy and enjoyable and something that she will enjoy when she's older. By dealing with it yourself, comfortably, you will make her more comfortable -- although she is likely to be more embarrassed than you are!
Posted On 2007-10-29 05:53:45
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: You haven't given me a lot of information here. I'm going to assume that you know that she overhead because she mentioned it to you. I'm also going to assume that this is embarrassing to you so that maybe the sex she overheard was not between you and her father. Has your daughter asked you questions about what she heard? Her curiosity it normal. Are her questions such that you feel comfortable answering them? You have a right to your privacy of course and you don't need to answer every question she asks. At the very least a 12 year old can handle these fact... One way that adults who care about each other show affection is by having sex. It is a normal healthy adult activity. Sometimes people having sex make sounds. That's also normal. If your daughter is disturbed by what she overheard and by the implications of it all, then I'd encourage her to talk about it with you. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie
Posted On 2007-10-25 20:18:33
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