I recently read an article about three conversations parents should have with their kids this year. In this order:
- Making smart choices about sex.
- Building healthy relationships.
- Avoiding smoking, drugs, and alcohol.
We find it interesting that the author thinks that teens should avoid smoking, drugs, and alcohol but not sex.
No wonder parents often find it difficult to discuss avoiding sexual behavior with their teens.
Parents are given messages that their teens should avoid drugs, alcohol, and smoking but not sexual activity. In most surveys parents overwhelmingly state that they feel teens should avoid sexual activity until adulthood, preferably until marriage. Studies have proven that delaying sexual debut into adulthood results in consistent and correct use of birth control and fewer sexual partners over a lifetime, which results in less STD exposure.
We find it odd that a great emphasis is placed on avoiding smoking, drugs, and alcohol, which can carry physical risks, but not on avoiding sexual activity, which carries physical, emotional, and relational consequences that can last a lifetime. We really don’t buy the standard answer that teens are going to have sex anyway. That really doesn’t hold up with the Center for Disease Control’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey that stated that 35% of teens drank some alcohol, 1 in 5 high school students currently use tobacco, and on average 55% of teens are NOT engaging in sexual activity, but of teens that are engaging in sexual activity, 1 in 4 has a sexually transmitted disease.
Parents, we completely understand talking about avoiding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco is much easier than talking about avoiding sex. Many parents, because of past choices, feel like they cannot talk with their kids about sexual activity.
Let’s reframe that; if you used to smoke you probably have no problem talking to your kids about not smoking and why you quit.
Sex really shouldn’t be any different.
We can hear your voices, “But it is!!” We know, trust us, WE KNOW!
That is why I’m Waiting offers parent classes that teaches effective communication, teaching decision making, adolescent brain development, AND healthy relationships.
So we did agree on one of the writer’s three points.