Doing Life Together

ID-100112050For many parents, having conversations with teens about sex  is uncomfortable. Yet, considering how much sexual content and images they are exposed to on a daily basis, they are dealing with sexual thoughts and feelings on a regular basis.  Talking about sex in a sex saturated society is necessary and needs to be an ongoing conversation. Consider these points:

Help teens think through sexual consequences before they are faced with sexual pressure: In talking to teens about sex, it is not only important to provide moral and religious guidance, but to emphasize the consequences and responsibilities of sexual behavior (e.g., pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections). The consequences of good choices should also be discussed as they relate to well-being and future goals.

Help with the intensity of sexual feelings, confusion over identity issues and defining appropriate sexual behavior in relationships should be offered as well. Given our culture, there are confusing voices as to what sexual exploration means, how far is too far and how to handle sexual feelings. Dads should be discussing this with sons especially, as knowing how to manage sexual feelings is learned during the teen and young adult years. Give specific ideas as to how to release pent up sexual energy through sports and other healthy outlets.

Teens should be encouraged to talk and ask questions in an atmosphere that is calm and non-critical. Don’t assume sexual knowledge. Instead determine a teen’s level of knowledge and understanding. Use humor and acknowledge your own discomfort in talking about sexual issues.                                                                                                            Parents often ask if they should share their past sexual exploits with their teens. This is a personal choice that should be made based on the benefit to the teen, not out of parental guilt or a felt need for total disclosure. Another strategy is to talk about the teen’s specific concerns using stories of other teens. Most important is to be an example of good moral behavior, living what you preach and teach.

Because so many teens today are ignorant of biblical directives concerning sexual activity, explain what scripture teaches about sexual thought and behavior, how to overcome temptation and how to counter cultural positions that go against faith. Praise resistance and abstinence. Above all, give unconditional love and keep communication flowing.

Finally, know the risk factors to look for in your teen or young adult. Researchers have documented those teens more at risk for early sexual intercourse and other sexual behavior. Those factors include: early use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; school problems; delinquency; physical aggression, living with a single parent or experiencing parental disruption; having sexually active peers and siblings and sexual abuse. Later onset of sexual activity is correlated with having educated parents; strong family relationships; parental supervision; sexually abstinent peers, good grades in school; and frequent church attendance.




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