I believe students find my presentation to be so effective because I don’t use the fear of contracting STD’s or getting pregnant to persuade them not to have sex. While the “scared straight” approach may work at convincing most teens to avoid jail, it doesn’t convince most to avoid sex.
Why? Because raging hormones that need to be scared straight into submission aren’t the real reason teens are having sex based on what my students tell me in the letters they write – especially girls. In fact, in many cases, they don’t even want to have sex as you’ll see in the clip below.
The Bigger Picture: Address Their Real Fear.
While many adults attribute teens’ choices regarding sex, to out of control hormones, teens tell me something different, including:
- They don’t want to be the only one in their group who’s still a virgin.
- They want to have something to contribute when their friends talk about what they’re doing in their relationships.
- They want to be popular.
Based on my experience, the real reason teens have sex is because they want to fit in. Not because of some hormonal urges. Likewise, the biggest fear we need to address is not STDs or teen pregnancy. It’s rejection.
Changing the Conversation Can Change their Motivation.
Instead of focusing on the negative physical consequences of sex, change the conversation.
Talk to your teen about what makes him authentic–someone who doesn’t need to fit in because he was never designed to.
Help your teen identify and develop her unique gifts and talents, then encourage her to make choices that honor those gifts and talents. Not hinder them.
You’d be surprised how much more effective self-motivation is in persuading your teen not to have sex, than using scare tactics.
So, give it a try and let us know how it goes. Feel free to share your questions and/or feedback in the comment section below.