Revealing the secret world of adolescent boys and girls.
Rory’s parents had discovered that Rory was sexually active and wanted to know how to handle his request to have Jen (his girlfriend) “sleep over” when they were planning to be out of town. They decided to talk it over with someone because they had different opinions. When Rory, who was now seventeen, had posed the question, he had told his parents that he had seen me and suggested that they call me.
Waiting between sessions, I could hear Susan’s and Mike’s raised voices on the path to my office as I sat working at my desk.
“This is the door to her office.”
“No, this way, over there!”
After a few minutes of this I decided to stand at my entryway to guide them.
Mike was a tall man with the same broad shoulders as his son, the football player. He looked like he knew where he was going, but he had already passed my office and was opening the door to the toolshed. Susan was still at the very top of the path. She was on her hands and knees, admiring an English ivy pushing its way out between two rocks. I thought she might be trying to take a cutting. I waved them both in.
Hurrying around my largest tree, Mike arrived first and shook my hand vigorously. “You need to post a map out there just to get around your backyard!”
“Good idea, it can be pretty confusing,” I said.
As we sat down inside, I could see what Rory meant when he said that his parents were in different places. Mike coughed and complained loudly for several minutes while Susan cleaned off her ivy cutting in the bathroom. She seemed oblivious to her husband’s frustration with the delay.
“That’s an unknown ivy, Dr. Ponton, very unusual. Thanks for letting me take some.”
Although Mike appeared eager to begin, I sensed that it would take some work with this set of parents to move into the topic of their son’s sexual behavior. And I was right. Nearly half the session went by before we were even close to the subject.
Then Mike let me know exactly what he was thinking. “It’s against my values to ever have this kid sleeping with some girl at our house. He says he’s not going to have sex, but you can’t trust him, Susan.”
“Mike, it’s his choice, his body. You can’t control everyone,” said Susan in a frosty voice that hid more than anger.