Straight Talk by Lauren Forcella
Dear Straight Talk: I am in a long-distance relationship and see my boyfriend every couple of weeks if I’m lucky. February break is coming up and I want to stay at his house. We’re both 15 with crazy hormones, but I still want to visit him, even if it means staying in a hotel or his sister’s room. His dad is okay with it, but my parents will probably say no. I have been sexually active and my parents know that. I let them know everything and never lie to them. I will understand if they say no, but what I can say to give me the best shot? ~ Linda, honors student
Gregg, 20, Los Angeles: There are good reasons why your parents would say no. Both of you are very young and inexperienced, and spending a week together is unrealistic. You are not independent yet, but want the freedom of adults. Be patient. Forcing things usually leads to disaster. Perhaps your boyfriend could show some responsibility and make the trip to see you. If he really likes you, this shouldn’t be a problem for him.
Sarah, 20, Santa Clara: It's great that you have an open relationship with your parents and that you're willing to compromise regarding lodging arrangements. When you ap-proach them about it, let them know that you see where they're coming from. If they say no, make sure you react maturely, as that will help you in the future. (Although, even at 18, my parents still wouldn't let me stay overnight anywhere near my boyfriend.)
Katelyn, 17, Huntington Beach: If you're truly honest with your parents, you will explain your side of the situation and let them handle it. Since you are under their roof, this is their decision and not much can be said to “give you the best shot,” other than being honest.
Laureli, 20, Los Angeles: You are too young to be in a serious relationship, especially sleeping with a guy. No 15-year-old has the maturity for that. The risks are too great and too many young girls are getting pregnant these days. My parents never let me sleep over with guys – ever. The most important value is to be healthy, which requires self-respect and morals to stick by. A healthy relationship does not need to include sex, and the right thing to do is listen to your parents.
Akasha, 18, Sacramento: If I were your parents, I would definitely say no. However, if this were me, or a friend, we would be annoyed by it. But there is no beating around the bush; your parents know that even if you aren’t sleeping in the same room there will be opportunities for hormonal revelry. There is no right way to ask your parents, just be up front.
Dear Linda: The nice thing about asking questions of the panelists is that you often get a different answer than when you ask your friends. As Akasha admits, friends will fan the flames of each other’s annoyances over parental restrictions, but since the panelists don’t know you, they just answer it straight.
You are lucky to have parents who will say no to this, and the last thing you want to do is manipulate them to go against their better judgment. I agree that the best approach is simply to ask honestly and accept their answer maturely (which means dropping the subject afterward). I also agree that your boyfriend should take some initiative and visit you. ~ Lauren
To donate, discuss, ask a question or inquire about being a youth panelist, visit www.straighttalktnt.com or write to P.O. Box 963, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.
More from Lauren Forcella
Teens, your parents are only human. They have their good days and their bad days. It is nice to help them be good parents by not overdoing your drama, being manipulative or whittling them down.
Most parents want to do the right thing, and many are under tremendous stress working, paying bills, cooking, shopping, managing a household and family, perhaps while caring for your grandparent, their own broken heart or personal health issues. This generation of parents is not the best at saying no. They became parents at a time when there were few guideposts on how to set healthy boundaries and there was a lot of peer pressure to overindulge you when you were young. I tell them to get a spine when dealing with you. And I’m asking you to lighten up and be a little less self-centered when dealing with them. And I ask both of you to practice kindness and fairness with each other.