Sex is the topic that you just can’t shield your kids from these days! We are all bombarded with images and the topic of sexuality on a regular basis and at a much faster rate than ever before. There are an overwhelming number of sexual influences in our kid’s world – between movies, commercials, YouTube, magazine covers, etc. But PARENTS! Did you know that teens consider you their biggest influence when it comes to making the most important decisions in their lives!? In surveys (Seventeen Magazine, National Campaign, etc), teenagers over and over again respond that they want to have better conversations with their parents and that they consider parents their biggest role models. Really!
Even though the conversations can feel awkward and uncomfortable, a Cabarrus Health study found that over 90% of teens believe that it's important that they get a strong message about waiting to have sex. In fact, about 60% of teens who have had sex wish they had waited longer. Is there something you could do to help your teen wait longer?? Yes! You need to start talking! And informed parents need to be THE INITIAL SOURCE of information!
Here are some facts to get you fired up:
Studies on condom effectiveness found that, for most STIs, the protection rate is much lower than teens are led to believe. Check out the back of the box for yourself, “…may reduce the risk of STI infection…”
As our kids get older, they start forming opinions of their own. They are paying attention to the influences around them and are working out for themselves what they want to believe. The teen years come all too quickly for most parents and this whole thing can be hard to navigate. Let’s help empower our teens. We have to start talking with them about their value, healthy relationships, goals, and boundaries, so that they can make choices that will benefit their lives.
- Initiation is key – Don’t be afraid to start the conversation and bring up the topic often.
- Don’t freak out – You want to be their source for healthy information regarding sex. If your child has a question, answer calmly and simply. Your response will determine if they ask you again, or a kid on the bus next time.
- Teach them how to say “no” – Let them know it’s ok to say “no”. Talk out some ideas with them on how to stay out of dangerous situation, or how to get out if they are in one.
- Share personal stories – Kids love to hear about decisions you made and how it worked out for you. Good or bad, we all have our own story to tell.
- Empower them to make good decisions – You can’t watch them every second. Reinforce that they are the decision makers for their bodies and futures. Remind them of all the reasons that healthy choices benefit them.
You have the power to influence the teens in your house!