Teens and Sex: Encouraging Your Teens to Wait

SexEtcRaising teens in today’s world is not easy.

Whether your teenager’s health classes at school take an abstinence-only approach to sexual education or not, the responsibility of encouraging abstinence still falls largely upon your shoulders as a parent. Sexual activity at an early age could potentially lead to an unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases or both. Teenagers are beginning to experience adult urges, but still have an underdeveloped sense of the impulse control that governs most adult social interaction.

Approaching your teen about sexuality and abstinence doesn’t have to be awkward and uncomfortable, though, especially if you’ve established a foundation of open, honest communication.

Get to Know Your Teen

It’s not easy to talk to someone that you don’t really know, especially if your lack of mutual familiarity makes a frank conversation about sex painfully awkward. In order to effectively teach your teenager why he should avoid sexual activity until he’s older and more mature, you’ll have to be able to speak comfortably about other things, too. It’s also important that you know who his friends are, what he’s interested in and who he’s dating. The peer group around your teenager will have a certain amount of influence over his decisions, especially if he’s involved in a romantic relationship. You’ll need to tailor your conversations regarding sexuality to meet his individual situation, something you simply can’t do if you don’t know these basic bits of information.

Avoid Moral Ambiguity

If abstinence from premarital sex is important to your family because of your religious beliefs, you have concrete reasons aside from teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for encouraging such behavior. Teenagers tend to think that the worst-case scenario doesn’t apply to them, and while these situations happen to other people, they’ll never happen to them. Heads of secular households will need to avoid attaching an ambiguous moral stigma to the idea of teen sex, especially if it’s not something you actually believe. If religion isn’t a driving force behind your hopes for abstinence, it’s best to stick to the facts.

Encourage Him to Pursue Long-Term Goals

A teenager that’s focused on a long-term goal, like finishing college or excelling in an area in which he’s particularly talented, may be more determined to avoid potential stumbling blocks along the road to the success he dreams of. Making sure that you encourage your teenager’s ambitions and that you explain how easily they could be derailed by an unplanned pregnancy or an incurable sexually transmitted disease can put a spin on abstinence that he understands.

Limit Screen Time, But Don’t Be Afraid to Use Entertainment as a Talking Point

Sex sells, a fact that’s readily apparent any time you switch on the television. While limiting screen time is a wise choice for a variety of reasons, you should realize that you simply can’t shield your teenager from allusions to sexual activity on television, in music or on the Internet. Rather than trying to block all references to sexuality, you should use them as talking points. Remember that talking about abstinence is an ongoing dialogue, not a one-time discussion. Topical conversations about the things that your teen sees on television are another effective way of applying these important principals to his real life in a way that makes sense to him.

Consider the Effects of Substance Use

Teenagers aren’t renowned for their impulse control and drinking or drug use can cause their inhibitions to drop even further. Understanding the causal link between substance use and sexual activity is essential for parents because your teenager will almost certainly find himself in the position of being offered drugs or alcohol at some point in his high school career. Making sure that your stance on experimentation with controlled substances is clear and that your teenager understands just how quickly a single mistake can ruin a promising life is important.

Have Frank Discussions About the Ramifications of Teen Pregnancy

The abstract notion of being saddled with an infant before graduation is a scary one to teenagers, but it’s still not a concept that fully sinks in most of the time. Teenagers may understand that sex can lead to pregnancy, but they still tend to believe that it will never happen to them. Girls may even believe that teen pregnancy isn’t so devastating, and they may believe that they have the necessary tools to parent. Making sure that your children absolutely understand how devastating an unexpected pregnancy would be is essential, as it may be the one lesson they hold on to when they’re confronted with temptation.

While it’s important to talk to your teens about abstinence and maintaining sexual purity, it’s also important that you foster a sense of openness and trust in your relationship with them.

A teen that’s terrified of your reaction to an impulsive mistake or even an informed decision regarding his sexual activity isn’t likely to discuss the matter with you at all, leaving you firmly in the dark. Make sure that your child knows that you strongly encourage abstinence, but that you’re there to listen to him and to help him through difficult situations even if he doesn’t live up to those expectations.

Source: Babysitting Jobs

Follow me on Twitter and join me on Facebook.

Advertisements

Teen Sex Education and Choices They Have: Encouraging Abstinence

Parents today face so many more hurdles than generations prior.  Is it television? Media? Technology? Or simply kids are growing up way too fast!  Gone are the days you can sit on the sofa and watch a movie on TV with your kids without a commercial for some type of sexual enhancement drug/gel or other type of stimulant to increase your sex life (as an adult) pops up.  Even if your “kid” is a young adult, it can be uncomfortable to sit there with them and watch.  With all this type of hype in their face – why do we wonder why kids are having sex earlier and earlier?

A guest writer, Sara Dawkins, has written a great article for parents, teens and educators to read:

Encouraging Teens to Abstain

When the state of California started to mail condoms for free to children ages 12-19, you had to know there was a problem. While I do agree with the concept of safe sex, I do not think teens should be encouraged to have sex at all. I know it is not realistic to assume that no teen is going to have sex, but isn’t it the parent’s job to inform their child of the ramifications of sex at such a young age.

It is a scientific fact that teens brains take time to develop. Some of the higher thinking processes doesn’t become fully formed and implemented even up to the early twenties. So how can parents expect children of 13, 14, 15 years to make rational, lifelong decisions like sex? If children have to wait until they are 18 to smoke and 21 to drink, then why don’t we have an age limit for sex?

I know there are certain limits on sex to protect children from adults, but what about protecting children from each other? When there are T.V. reality shows about 16 year old parents, there is apparently a problem. And it’s not all about birth control and safe sex education. That’s all well and good, but we are ignoring the emotional impact of sex.

Sex is supposed to be an act between a life-long couple. It bonds people, makes you become one with the other person. But what happens when you have sex with three, four, eight people? Are you forming bonds with each one? What kind of emotional impact does that have? Not only does having multiple partners affect teens, but even having one partner at a young age is emotionally trying. The have essentially married that person, and what happens when the relationship fails? Which it will. Then the teens go through the same heartbreak as a divorce, except they don’t have the adult emotional and rational ability to deal with it.

Do you remember how much better (and worse) things felt when you were a teen? There is a reason for that. Between hormones raging and the maturation of the brain, teens feel things much more than most adults. So how much more does sex affect them? This is one reason you should encourage teens to abstain from sex until they are adults. They are just not equipped, emotionally or mentally, to deal with the connection and ramifications. Not to mention having children of their own.

How can you help teens stay abstinent in a sex-drenched world? Teach them not to get into situations where they will be alone with the opposite sex and become tempted. Help them to understand the ramifications of their actions in the long term. If they have a person they are dating, remind them not to get too caught up in emotions and touching. They will thank you when they get older.

Author Bio

Sara Dawkins is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She also helps in providing information on nanny jobs through her writing.  Learn more about her Learn more about her here.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Teen Help: Struggling Teens and Searching for Help

Especially during the holiday season, this can be one of the hardest decisions a parent can make.  The Internet can make it twice as confusing!

Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.

Usually a teen’s behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better.  As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn’t.

With drug use and substance abuse rising – more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned.  It isn’t your marijuana of generations prior – it is so much worse and in many cases – addictive and deadly.

If you have reached your wit’s end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website.  Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content.  You need to do your due diligence.

Years ago I struggled with my own teenager.  I was at my wit’s end.  I didn’t realize what a big business this “teen help industry” was.  Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that.  My story is a cautionary tale – not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child’s individual needs.
  • Always speak with an owner or director – Someone that has a vested in your teen’s recovery.  Their reputation is on the line.
  • Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted.  They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program.  What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn’t coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe – and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist – new schedule – and new setting.  Don’t get caught up in this “shuffle.”  Start and finish with the same school/program.
  • The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen.  Anything less is probably non-effective.  Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
  • Do you really need an Educational Consultant?  Absolutely not.  You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do – with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

Join me on Facebook  and follow me on Twitter for more information and educational articles on parenting today’s teenagers.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Planned Parenthood

On Thursday March 25th, 2010, at 6:00pm  – 8:00 pm join the discussion of Planned Parenthood’s legislative priorities, how to deal with anti-choice attacks, and how you can help advance women’s reproductive health care rights. There are several briefings coming up, so you can attend one that best fits your schedule.

This is a free event. A light dinner will be served, and your RSVP is kindly requested. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Takeata King Pang at Takeata.Pang@ppsoflo.org  or (561) 472-9942.

Promoting education on teen pregnancy enhances your daughter’s awareness about STD’s, pregnancy prevention, birth control options including abstinence as well as the sensitive issue of adoption. 

Planned Parenthood of South Florida also offers The Teen Time® Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (Teen Time®) which uses a holistic approach that aims to empower youth. The program helps young people to develop personal goals and the desire for a productive future.

In addition to developing sexual literacy and educating teens about the risks associated with sexual activity, the program also emphasizes the importance of education and employment. Youths start the program at age 11 or 12 and continue past high school. They work with them five days a week, after school, and throughout the summer. There are sites in Belle Glade, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, and Fort Pierce, in areas with high rates of teen pregnancy and low high school graduation rates.
 

Find out more about Teen Timeclick here.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens. Watch video and read more.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Truth of Teen Pregnancy

Parenting today can be one of the most difficult jobs any adult will have.  “Adult” being the operative word, when a teenager has a child it can be even more stressful and complicated.

16 and Pregnant, which airs on MTV and is hosted by Dr. Drew, will give you a birds-eye view of teenagers having babies.  From deciding on whether to keep the baby, to giving birth, 16 and Pregnant will take you inside the lives of girls living through the difficult process being pregnant and having a baby.

In 16 and Pregnant, you will see a variety of girls with a variety of decisions.  What works best for them, and what is best for their child.  Will the father be involved, or does he want to be involved? 

These teens learn that being pregnant means having to grow up very fast.  The new challenges they face, the financial responsibilities compounded with the emotional roller coaster ride of having a baby and still being a child (teen). 

What about school?  What choices will they make? 16 and Pregnant will take you through the lives of several young teens and definitely can be an eye-opener to those that believe that having a baby is easy.  From going out to party to growing up real fast, being pregnant is a responsibility that is not easy.

These are expecting teens experiencing the consequences of unprotected sex and learning about the unexpected challenges of being pregnant raising a baby.

Be an educated parent, talk to your teens about sex.  Talk to your kids period.

Watch the trailer and read more.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Teen Pregnancy Pact

Parenting years ago and having a teen get pregnant was, in many families, humiliating and shameful to the family.  Today teens are having babies and some are not considering the consequences, or maybe are considering them however don’t realize the “real life” situation rather than what they read.

January 23rd, Saturday night, Lifetime Network will premier, “The Pregnancy Pact” at 9:00pm ET.  Inspired by a true story, this movie depicts a fictional pregnancy pact between a group of teenagers.  The film explores the costs of teen pregnancy and was prompted by the news reports from June 2008.  Time Magazine ran a story about this pregnancy pact in a school where the teen pregnancies rose to 18 girls.

The discussion of birth control is started by the school nurse who tries to convince the school to provide contraception to students to address the pregnancy epidemic but is met with great opposition from the school and community.

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy:

  • Three in 10 girls in the U.S. get pregnant at least once by the age of 20.
  • Six in 10 teens who have had sex say that they wish they had waited.
  • Half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned – about 3 million each year.
  • One out of 10 children in the United States is born to a teen mother.

Lifetime Networks is proud to partner with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.

Additional information and resources are available at www.thenationalcampaign.org.

Parenting teens is challenging today, between the technology and peer pressure, it almost seems impossible to keep up.  Teen pregnancy was an issue many years ago, and still is today.  The difference is we have much more awareness, education and information to help our teens understand the consequences as well as the dangers of unprotected sex.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.  

Watch video and read on Examiner.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teen Pregnancy on the Rise?

teenpregTeen birth rates up?  Parents need to take steps to learn why – what can they do to help their young teens understand having a child is not easy.  Before you are faced with this difficult and sensitive situations, continue opening communication about sex as well as contraceptives.  Years ago a young teen getting pregnant seemed like the worst possible situation – now having unprotected sex can not only lead to pregnancy and big decisions for young teens, but deadly diseasesTake time to learn more.

Source: Connect with Kids

“It does give them another way to look at themselves, and to look at their bodies as a powerful force and not just sort of ornamental.”

– Laura Mee, Ph.D., Child Psychologist.

One girl gives birth to a baby.  Another plays basketball with her brother.  What’s the connection?

Studies show girls who play sports are less likely to have sex and less likely to get pregnant.  One reason may be these athletes gain confidence and respect for their bodies.

“It does give them another way to look at themselves, and to look at their bodies as a powerful force and not just sort of ornamental,” explains child psychologist, Dr. Laura Mee.

Experts say experiencing pressure on the court gives them the strength to resist pressure from a boyfriend.  And, in their free time, it gives them something else to focus on besides how they look, “Their hair, their clothes, their, like reputation… mostly all they want to do is impress the boys,” says 12-year-old Claire.

What’s more, studies have found that athletic girls have higher self-esteem, better grades and less stress.

So, experts say, encourage your daughters to get involved in sports and then cheer them on. “Make it as important that your daughters have sporting events as you would for your son that you treat them as equally as you possibly can, that you support and encourage and that the other children, whether they are male or female, support and encourage each other in their sports activities,” says Mee.

Tips for Parents

Sex is something parents should constantly discuss with their teens, but you should really give your teens “the talk” before summer and Christmas vacation.  According to one study, teens are much more likely to lose their virginity during the months of June and December than any other time of the year.  Almost 19,000 adolescents in grades seven through twelve participated in the survey, which identified the month they had sexual intercourse for the first time.  The survey also asked if the act was with a romantic partner or was more “casual.”

The findings, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, show June as the most popular month, followed closely by December.  Summer and Christmas vacations are believed to be the cause with school out and teens with time on their hands.  More events are also planned in June, including high school proms, graduations and summertime parties.  The “holiday season effect” makes December the second highest month for teen sex.  Experts explained that during the holidays, young females in relationships are more likely to have sex.  The holidays usually bring people together and make them closer.  The same is true with teenagers.

All studies indicate messages from parents regarding sex are extremely important to teens (Washington State Department of Health).  In fact, teens state parents as their number one resource for information on the topic.  This talk may be uncomfortable for many parents, so the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided the following tips for parents:

  • Practice. It may take practice to feel comfortable talking about sex with your kids.  Rehearsing with a friend or partner can help.  Be honest.  Admit to your child if talking about sex is not easy for you. You might say, “I wish I’d talked with you about sex when you were younger, but I found it difficult and kept putting it off. My parents never talked to me about it, and I wish they had.”
  • Pay attention. Often parents do not talk to their teens about sex because they did not notice they wanted or needed information.  Not all teens ask direct questions.  Teenagers are often unwilling to admit they do not know everything.  Notice what is going on with your child and use that as a basis for starting a conversation about sexual topics.
  • Look for chances to discuss the sexual roles and attitudes of men and women with your child. Use television show, ads and articles as a start.
  • Listen. When you give your full attention, you show that you respect your child’s thoughts and feelings.  Listening also gives you a chance to correct wrong information they may have gotten from friends.  As you listen, be sensitive to unasked questions.  “My friend Mary is going out on a real date,” could lead to a discussion of how to handle feelings about touching and kissing.

Parents can also share their feelings on the topic through words and actions.  The best way is to talk to teens.  Even though it may seem like they are not listening – they are.  To have a healthy and effective discussion on sex, the Advocates for Youth Campaign encourages parents to:

  • Educate yourself and talk with your children about issues of sexuality. Do not forget about discussing the importance of relationships, love, and commitment.
  • Discuss explicitly with preadolescents and teens the value of delaying sexual initiation and the importance of love and intimacy as well as of safer sex and protecting their health.
  • Encourage strong decision-making skills by providing youth with age-appropriate opportunities to make decisions and to experience the consequences of those decisions.  Allow young people to make mistakes and encourage them to learn from them.
  • Encourage teens to create a resource list of organizations to which they can turn for assistance with sexual health, and other, issues.  Work together to find books and Web sites that offer accurate information.
  • Actively support comprehensive sexuality education in the schools.  Find out what is being taught about sexuality, who is teaching it, and what your teens think about it.
  • Actively voice your concerns if the sexuality education being taught in local public schools is biased, discriminatory, or inaccurate, has religious content, or promotes a particular creed or denomination.
  • Demonstrate unconditional love and respect for your children.

References

  • Advocates for Youth Campaign
  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • National Parent Teacher Association
  • Washington State Department of Health