As parents, we try every day to shield our children from violence, teen pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, and even peer pressure. Yet no matter how much you try to protect your children from these things sooner or later they will have to deal with the once the enter school. With the increase level of teen pregnancy from year to year it is time that parents once again sit down with their children and discuss sex but not in the way you are used to teaching them. I am not talking about the birds and the bees story, frightening your children with the abstinence talk, or throwing condoms at them. I am talking about teaching your children how to place value on sexual intimacy and not just giving away their goodies for free to anyone who will take it. Our children need to realize that their bodies are worth more than 10-60 minutes worth of sex or better yet, wham-bam-thank you ma’am. Our children need to know that their bodies are precious like jewels and they need to treat their bodies as such.
Here are a few steps to help you start the discussion once again about having sex too early (use your personal discretion when considering the word early as what I may say as being too early to have sex you may not):
1. Think about your personal values on sexual intimacy: Before you can have a conversation with your child on having sexual intercourse, as a parent you need to determine how you view sex. If it’s just hitting the sack and talking your partner for granted then are you not telling your child the same thing through your own actions? If you have never thought about this question or have put it to the side because you feel like you are grown, then rethink about your personal values before you share your wisdom with your child. Teens are smart and they can tell whether or not you believe what you are saying so don’t try to pull the cover over their eyes.
2. Ask your child their definition of sexual intimacy: For many kids they see no difference between intimacy and intercourse. Many will tell you that they love the person but when asked to define how they love the person and why, they may not have a clear picture of what love is. This is the perfect opportunity to go in and help clarify what love is and how it goes hand in hand with sexual intimacy.
3. Don’t accuse your child of having sex without all the facts: The worst thing you can do is accuse your child of having sex without asking them. Yes there are some children who will lie about being sexually active for fear of punishment but there are others who are telling the truth more times than not. Instead discuss with your child how they value their personal body as related to sexual intimacy as well as how they would value their partner’s body in the same way. If your child has no clue then he/she is not ready for sex.
4. You don’t have to sleep with the whole team to be popular: Some kids have learned in school that the more sexual partners you have the more you will become a part of the “popular” group. However, I would beg to ask that if you were to sleep with the whole team now to be popular, would you or the individuals you slept with remember your name a year later? If your child says no then I would have them question whether it was worth becoming popular by sleeping around.
5. Know and love yourself: Unless you know and love yourself no one else will. Our children need to start loving and respecting themselves first so that others will do the same.
Finally, there is no cure all to having sex early as sex is all around our children no matter where they turn. However as parents we need to add something else to the “talk” that does not frighten our children or send them to the corner store on a contraceptive frenzy. If your child is having sex, then take all the necessary steps to ensure that they are practicing safe sex. If your child is not having sex, then take all of the necessary steps to ensure that they are continuing to live an abstinent life. Just make sure that whatever course your child takes as related to having sex that they learn to (1) place value on their bodies and treat it like there is not enough money in the world that could buy them out and (2) accept that sexual intimacy involves committed people who have decided to unite their bodies as one and not share it with another. It’s time that our children stop giving away their sex for FREE and start loving themselves for who they are and not what their friends or the media (videos, TV., magazines etc.) says that they should be.