As adults, we have a tendency to come up with solutions WE think will address the issue of teenagers making bad choices.
But I decided to survey teens to see what THEY believe the solutions are.
Below are some of the most common responses I received when I specifically asked students what they thought it would take to decrease the number of teenagers having sex.
1.Higher expectations from parents and adults
“I believe that if teens knew that their parents believed in them,parents would not be disappointed.”
I have reconnected with many former students who’vetold me the reason they have NOThad sex is because they didn’t want to disappoint me.
Not their parents…But me.
They tell me that even their parents expectedthem to be sexually active as a teen.
Which saddens me tohear them say I have higher expectations of them than their own parents.
“My parents, and family in general, seem to disagree with the opinion that children should remain abstinent in high school, but I have to thank you for reinforcing that thought in my head.”
Teens will live up or down to our expectations.
Don’t allow today’s culture to convince you that your daughter is automatically going to be sexually active as a teen.
She needs you to raise the bar and believe that she is more than capable of living up to your expectations.
2. More education for teens
“Talks like these do make a big difference and impact how teens live their lives. This presentation should be available to ALL teens.”
Though information alone doesn’t change behavior, students cannot make informed decisions without it.
This student says it best:
“The information you provided was extremely helpful and enlightening. As I talked to others you have talked with, they all said you were going to scare us out of having sex. After hearing what you’ve said I realize it’s not some sort of scared straight program at all. It’s providing the knowledge to make better choices because choices made from ignorance never end well.”
Knowledge is power!
3. Education for parents on how to talk to their teens about sex
“I really wish some parents had gone to your parenting workshop; I think that would have helped a lot.”
One of the first questions I ask students in class is, “How many of you have had a conversation with your parents about sex?”
Rarely will more than 50% of the class raise their hands.
When I ask the students who have had the discussion with their parents how the discussion went, most of them say, “It was really awkward!”
Believe it or not, teens really don’t mind having conversations with their parents about relationships, dating or sex as long as it’s not an awkward experience.
And there are ways for you to have that discussion with your daughter, without it being so awkward.
Here are a couple of things to consider:
A close relationship should come first.
The most important thing you should focus on is building a close emotional bond with your daughter.
Many studies have shown that strong emotional connections with parents provide a protective factor against many at-risk behaviors.
I love when I hear a student in the classroom tell me they can talk to their parents about anything because they have such a close relationship.
**Note: Having a close bond or connection is not the same as trying to be your child’s friend.
Don’t wait until they’re teenagers and don’t make it a big production.
The students who are the most positive about their discussions with their parents are the ones who say their parents did not wait to have “The Talk.”
Their parents have been having age-appropriate discussions about relationships, values and boundaries with them for a long time.
If you do a good job with the following, your daughter will have a better chance of not being sexually active:
- Sharing your values and influencing her value
- Helping her understand the importance of establishing boundaries
- Discussing the foundations for healthy relationships
Just remember: If you start having conversations early, have high expectations AND establish and maintain emotional bonds with your daughter, you can be the dominant influence in her life.
And according to the teens I surveyed, that’s what’s going to help prevent your daughter from having sex.
So, were you surprised by any of the solutions they said could help prevent your daughter from having sex?
If so, which one(s)?
I’m so glad I decided to survey the teens in my class and find out what they think would prevent them from having sex.
I believe their solutions are spot on.
And your daughter may have solutions of her own.
But you’ll never know until you ask…
P.S. Last week I shared How NOT to Talk to Your Daughter About Sexbased on feedback teens have shared in my class. And this week, I’ve shared solutions that teens from my class say can help prevent them from having sex. Which goes to show that if you want to know how best to communicate your values and expectations about love, sex, and relationships with your daughter, spend time talking to her. But be sure to do more listening than talking. And who knows? She just may surprise you.
P.P.S. As always, please share this message with your mom friends on social media. They need to know these solutions that can help prevent their teens from having sex too.