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Stepfamily Talk: Sex Between Stepchildren


Stepfamily Talk: Sex Between Stepchildren


What Should We Do about Husband's Son Having Sex with Ex's New Stepdaughter?


By LISA COHN

Dear Lisa,             

My husband and I have been married just shy of two years. My husband has two boys, ages 13 and 9. We have the boys for one week. Their mom has the boys for one week. Their mom just recently remarried. Her husband brought two girls into the marriage. The oldest daughter is 15.
 
We were recently told by my husband's ex-wife that the 15-year-old daughter is having sex with my husband’s 13-year-old son. Mom thinks that as long as they keep the two kids away from each other, that everything will be just fine.          


Both my husband and I agree that something should be done. We are petitioning the court for an emergency change of custody so that the boys will be with us. My husband and I have also contacted our local Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and made a report. We feel that the biological mom has been neglectful. Our boys tell us that as long as they stay out of her hair, she really doesn't care what they do.       

We have discovered that the girl is in fact pregnant and she admits that it is our 13-year-old son’s child. My stepson told me that his mom took him and his stepsister for a pregnancy test. Apparently that's when it was determined she was pregnant. The girl told my son it was his. 
 
I would really appreciate any advice in which you might be able to provide to us concerning this issue. Apparently, this is not the first time as they apparently told the biological mom that they had sex together.             

Beth  


Dear Beth:        

I’m glad to hear you’re taking immediate action. You made the right choice in filing a report with DCFS and requesting a change in custody.           

Brette Sembler, a retired family law attorney, mediator and author of “How to Parent with Your Ex: Working Together in Your Child's Best Interest,” suggests that you, your husband and his ex-wife work with a family therapist to discuss this situation. “I would strongly encourage the family to see if they can work out something that will allow these young people to grow up normally,” she says. Letting a 15-year-old and 13-year-old raise a baby makes no sense, she adds. “If the girl wants an abortion, she should be able to have one. At the very least, they need to think about adoption,” she says. If and when the baby is born, the family should do DNA testing to confirm paternity. If the 13-year-old is indeed the father, he will be financially responsible. He could also be liable under the state’s statutory rape laws, depending on the state.       

It seems pretty certain that you will be able to gain custody, and the mother may lose her visitation rights completely, says Sembler. When you go to court, you could ask for full custody or request supervised visitation. Another option is to request visitation outside the mother’s home, she suggests.        

Stay in close contact with the social services caseworker assigned to the case, says Sembler. If DCFS recommends removing the boy from his mother’s home, it would strengthen your case. In the meantime, your husband should talk to his son about safe sex. “Don’t assume the boy has learned his lesson,” she advises.           

Dr. Susan Bartell, a licensed psychologist and co-author of “Stepliving For Teens,” says that it’s important for you to understand why a 13-year-old boy wants to have sex. “Thirteen is very young to even be interested in sexual intercourse,” she says. “I wonder, too, if the home is a highly sexualized or over stimulating environment which is contributing to his need to have sex.” She adds, “A 15-year-old girl having sex is much less surprising than a 13-year-old boy, developmentally speaking, so I wonder if the girl is acting out something by choosing this boy—to upset her father or stepmother, for example.”       

It’s also important to remind the boy about how awkward it will feel in the future, if he doesn’t want to have a relationship with his stepsister anymore and they continue to live together, notes Bartell.           

Go this link to read more about sexual activity between teens in stepfamilies: www.stepfamilyadvice.com/StepTeensAndSex.htm.              

Good Luck!              

Lisa           


MORE FROM DIVORCE360.COM

Stories, advice, blogs and discussion about remarriage, stepfamiles, stepparenting, stepchildren and related topics. 

Lisa Cohn has written for the Christian Science Monitor, Parenting, Mothering, Your Stepfamily Magazine and other publications. She writes an advice column for Philly Women (www.philly.com) and is the co-host of Stepfamily Talk Radio (www.stepfamilytalkradio.com.) She is the co-author of One Family, Two Family, New Family: Stories and Advice for Stepfamilies and The Step-Tween Survival Guide and Lisa has been quoted about divorce and stepfamilies by the Associated Press, Washington Post, Time Magazine, msn.com and other media outlets.




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