It’s not easy being a parent today.
Your daughter is inundated with so many competing voices trying to influence her decision-making, you can’t help but wonder if yours is being drowned out.
I certainly empathize with the countless number of parents who’ve reached out to me over the years, seeking advice on how to talk with their teens about sex.
Sometimes it’s just as important to know what NOT to do, as it is to know what to do.
So, I thought it would be great to hear directly from teens about what they say does NOT work with them.
I believe the following letters speak for themselves…
“I thought I was in love with this boy until your class. My mother has always told me these things, but she yelled so I didn’t listen. I really want to thank you. Now I will be a virgin until I’m married.”
2. Remaining Silent:
“My mother has never attempted to talk to me about sex. Like me, many teens have not had the sex talk with their parents. Having you come in and talk to them is a great thing. Because of you Ms. Jackie, I no longer feel left out because I’m not having sex. After you came and spoke to my class, I feel proud of being a virgin and I will not let sex get in the way of reaching my goals.”
(Check out a previous post on this topic, When Silence is NOT Golden).
“Your presentation was so informative to me. It really changed my perspective on sex. I used to think that since so many teens were doing it, it’s not that big of a deal. I really hope that when I have a daughter, I will be able to teach her this information so she can save sex until marriage. I know my mother didn’t do that, she just told me not to do it or else I’d be in trouble.”
4. Being Too Strict:
“I grew up with very strict parents who drilled into my head, all the things I couldn’t do and all the ways I should act. This control led to nothing but rebelliousness and hate for authority. Once I reached high school, I realized that there was so much more to the world than the box my parents kept me in. From there I started drinking, doing drugs, and even having sex…After hearing you speak, I’ve started to rethink a lot of my choices and have begun to restructure my life. Thank you so much for coming and possibly saving my life.”
5. Having Low Expectations:
“I’ve always believed that I wanted to be abstinent and my mom never believed me. So, as a result, I felt like I wouldn’t ever have enough self-respect to remain abstinent. But, after listening to you, I feel confident that I will remain abstinent and I am proud of my decision”
I wish more parents understood how much influence they have on their children’s sexual decisions.
A 2012 survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy revealed the following:
Nearly nine in 10 teens (87%) say that it would be much easier for teens to delay sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents.
Even if/when it seems like those other voices are drowning yours out, you ARE a major influencer when it comes to your daughter’s decision-making regarding love, sex, and relationships.
And don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging.
I’ll come back with a follow-up post to share what teens tell me parents can/should do to help decrease their likelihood of having sex.
What are some other “What Not to Do’s” have you learned through trial and error with your daughter?
I look forward to your response, because I’m always in search of new strategies I can use with my students too.
P.S. If you want your daughter to hear you out about sex and not immediately dismiss what you have to say, there are some things you do NOT want to do. Not because I said so. Because girls your daughter’s age say so (see letters above). And this is one of those times where it’s probably a good idea to “take it from the horse’s mouth.” 😉
P.P.S. What better time than #Back2School to talk to your daughter about sex? And don’t forget to share this timely advice with your mom friends on social media so they can talk to their d