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

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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.

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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.

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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: Teenage Summer Romance – Teen Relationships

Summer romance? Teenage love and relationships – learn more.  Great article by Richard Hills.

teenlove2By Richard Hills

Examiner.com

I was 17 when I had my first “real” girlfriend (yes, yes, I was a late bloomer). But in fairness that is not to say that I hadn’t fallen in love before that; what many would have called ‘crushes’. Now, as a father, I get to watch this all unfolding in front of me again with my three daughters.

To prepare writing this article I was looking for some background data on teenage love, or relationships, and while there is a ton of information out there, it was not the sort of thing I want to address here.

The scenario: I’m in the car to pick up my teenage daughter from middle school. When she gets into the car, she’s simply beaming. “How did your day go?” I ask, “Ohhhh daddy, I met this boy today and …” 30 minutes later as we arrive at home she’s still talking about him. Teenage love; do we take it seriously?

According to all the information out there on the internet, we’d better take it seriously; STD’s, teen abuse, teen sex, teen pregnancy – a plethora of information to make any father lock up his daughter in the top room of the tower and throw away the key!

But these are not the issues I wanted to talk about today. Not that they are not worthy of discussion, they are. I’ve talk about some of them already in past articles and I’ll discuss others later. But today I just wanted to talk about the feelings of love. When your son or daughter comes to you with that silly doe-eyed expression talking about love, what is our first reaction as parents? I’m sure the issues listed above come into mind, but often I think the thought of “puppy-love” comes into mind. “Oh darling, you’re too young to know what real love is”. If you are thinking that let me recommend to you that those words NEVER leave your mouth in front of your child.

Childhood love is an expression of Self. It is a display of much needed independence and moral growth at this age of development. We as parents should not minimize this in the eyes of our youth, in fact I believe it should be encouraged. David Richo, noted psychologist and author often writes about the 5 A’s (attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance, and allowing). These are attributes that we need fulfilled from a very early age. These later, in healthy relationships become the attributes that we desire to give. But we’ll never be able to give them if we never got them from our parents. So, when your teen comes to you in love, don’t dismiss those feelings as ‘puppylove’, or “you’re too young to understand” – trust me, to your teen, YOU don’t know what you are talking about.

In my research I did find an interesting article / study about teenage relationships.  This study found our teenage boys have much more feelings then they are normally given credit for. I shouldn’t be surprised (having been one of those boys) – but I am a father of daughters now and the perspective is very different. If we take away our children’s love when they are young, what exactly will they have when they are older adults? It is real love, and should be treated as such. In our experience we know, just as she came bouncing to the car expressing her love, one day she will come running to the car in sorrow and pain over a lost love. Let us, as parents be there both times; first to celebrate… then to commiserate with our child’s healthy growth.

 For more info: David Richo

Parents Universal Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) Parent-Teen Sex Talk

Source: Connect with Kids

“I always get a little bit nervous because I always worry about what they might ask me about my own life.”

– Judy Crim, Mother

When 12-year-old Sean Crim has a question about sex he asks his mother. “I would probably rather get information about sex from my parents.  They always tell me the truth and they’ve never really lied to me about anything,” he says.

But for his mom, talking about sex isn’t easy.  “I always get a little bit nervous because I always worry about what they might ask me about my own life,” says Judy Crim. 

It’s an issue for lots of parents.  If your children ask about your life before marriage, how would you answer? Sean’s mom says it’s happened to her.  

Judy says, “We talk about what was going on when I was a teenager, what teenagers were actively doing.  And they’ll say mom did you do any of that?”

It’s an awkward question. Experts say if you are too uncomfortable…you don’t have to answer.

Leola Reis of Planned Parenthood says, “They are still the parent and some of that is not really appropriate.  I don’t think you need to lie, I think you can withhold that information.  ‘This conversation is not really about me and what I did.  It’s what my hopes are for you. And let me tell you some of the things I’ve learned.’”

But if you decide to talk about your past, experts say don’t lie, and remember that you don’t have to say too much.  Reis suggests sentences like ”I’m not really comfortable with some of the things I did as a young person.’”

Still, your past can be a lesson for kids about avoiding mistakes.  Judy Crim says, “I can also offer them if I made a choice to do something, what regret did I have to live with? What guilt do I have to live with? And how did that affect my life?”

Tips for Parents

Recent studies have shown a decrease in the prevalence of many sexual behaviors among high school students throughout the United States, including sexual intercourse. Further, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the percentage of sexually active students who used a condom at last intercourse continued to increase.

Even though the number of sexually active teens is in decline, the percentage of sexually active teens is still alarming. Consider the following statistics taken from a recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey:

  • Nationwide, 47.8% of students had ever had sexual intercourse (Table 61). Overall, the prevalence of having had sexual intercourse was higher among male (49.8%) than female (45.9%) students; higher among black male (72.6%) and Hispanic male (58.2%) than black female (60.9%) and Hispanic female (45.8%) students, respectively; and higher among 9th-grade male (38.1%) than 9th-grade female (27.4%) students.
  • 7.1% of students had had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years
  • 14.9% of students had had sexual intercourse with four or more persons during their life
  • 35.0% of students had had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the 3 months before the survey
  • Among the 35.0% of currently sexually active students nationwide, 61.5% reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during last sexual intercourse

Open communication and accurate information from parents increase the chance that teens will postpone sex. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, in talking with your child or adolescent, it is helpful to:

  • Encourage your child to talk and ask questions.
  • Maintain a calm and non-critical atmosphere for discussions.
  • Use words that are understandable and comfortable.
  • Try to determine your child’s level of knowledge and understanding.
  • Keep your sense of humor and don’t be afraid to talk about your own discomfort.
  • Relate sex to love, intimacy, caring and respect for oneself and one’s partner.
  • Be open in sharing your values and concerns.
  • Discuss the importance of responsibility for choices and decisions.
  • Help your child to consider the pros and cons of choices.

By developing open, honest and ongoing communication about responsibility, sex and choice, parents can help their youngsters learn about sex in a healthy and positive manner.

References

  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
  • American Social Health Association
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry