Teenagers undergo intense emotional and physical changes that can confuse them. A strong parental influence helps them handle these changes and impacts the decisions they make, especially about sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers yearn for open communication with their parents on sex and relationships. Therefore, your involvement can help them choose to abstain from sex.
Communication between you and your teenager has a significant impact on the views your child has on sex. Start talking to teens about sex at the onset of adolescence until they fully mature. Set aside some private time and bring up teenage sex; you can use situations that both of you are familiar with to approach the topic. Although your teens may seem uncomfortable, keep talking to them. Avoid being judgmental; rather, be affectionate and cordial. These conversations may help reduce their engagement in risky sexual behavior, according to Abraham Feingold, Psy.D., writing for PsychCentral.
Teens are more likely to engage in sex if they have no adult supervision, according to the CDC. Always ensure that your teenager is under supervision especially when attending parties or activities away from the house. Although teenagers may disapprove of your supervision, establish firm rules that ensure accountability at all times. Involve your adolescents in open discussions on rules and curfews that they must respect, and introduce consequences in case they break the agreement.
Tell your teenagers the truth about sex. Do not teach them that sex is wrong or evil, as it may affect them in the future. Instead, talk to them about the importance of sex at the right time and the risks of engaging in sexual activity early, advises The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Engage your teen in discussions about risky sexual behavior, contraception and protection. Also, point out situations that may make teens vulnerable to sex. The truth helps dispel any doubts or distorted information they may hear from their peers and helps them make informed decisions regarding sex.
Get involved in your child’s life. Ask question about your teen’s life and show an interest in things that the she loves. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy advises that you get to know your teen’s friends and their families. Friends influence each other, so ensure that their friends’ families share the same values as you. Additionally, know the person your teenager is dating. Discourage young teens from dating older individuals, as the age difference can expose the younger party to risky situations or put pressure on them to have sex early. Involved parenting helps the teens develop a bond with you, and they will approach you with their concerns about sex.
- Psych Central: Parents Can Help Teens Reduce Sexual Risk-Taking
- Dr. Phil: Tips for Parents to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Monitoring Your Teen’s Activities: What parents and Families Should Know
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: Ten Tips for Parents
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