We’ve all heard that teenagers are going to be sexually active because they’re driven by their hormones, and there’s not much parents can do to stop them.
And maybe you even believe that’s true.
Well, if there’s one thing that’s become crystal clear to me over the past 20 years of speaking to teens, it’s this…
Teenage sex is often a symptom of a much bigger issue.
I’m not saying hormones don’t come into play when teens decide to have sex.
But based on what teens tell me, I don’t believe it’s the number one reason they have sex.
The #1 Reason Teens Have Sex
I read a quote recently that I agree with whole heartedly…
This quote sums up why teens make poor choices in general.
And I want to share a letter from a teen girl who was in one of my classes to demonstrate how it applies to a teen’s sexual decision.
Even though a teen girl wrote this, I think it could just as easily apply to teen guys.
“This letter is for both me and you so we can both figure out why I am the way I am.
When you first came to our class, in a weird way, I felt like you were sent here just for me. Being that I was already in a world of trouble for having sex.
And honestly, I’ve been looking for some sort of guidance with myself for a long time.
I feel like you were the first person who told me I was worth something and meant it in a while. The first person who didn’t shame or judge me for my very poor choices.
Last night, I actually realized a few things about myself and disposition.
I believe I have so much sex with so many people to feel needed and wanted. I guess I want to feel desirable.
I don’t believe it’s the sex so much, but the sexual attention, which isn’t good, but it makes me feel good.
I’m starting to realize a lot through writing this.
Sex makes me feel good at something because I’m really not good at anything but that. The guys all enjoy me and still talk to me afterward, which in a weird way makes me needed. And it feels good to be needed.”
The Lesson in the Letter
So, what can you learn from this young lady’s letter to ensure your daughter doesn’t make a poor sexual decision for all the wrong reasons?
- Teens really do want guidance.
This young lady said she didn’t even know why she was having sex and had been wanting guidance. While teens may act like they know it all and don’t want anyone telling them anything, they really do feel lost much of the time. And if the guidance is provided in a way that doesn’t turn them off, they are open to it. So please don’t be the parent who assumes your daughter is “going to do it anyway,” and leave her to her own devices.
- Teens don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.
She could tell I meant it when I told her what she was worth. I believe one of the reasons I’ve had such success getting teens to abstain from sex is because they can feel my heart. They know I only want what’s best for them because I care about them. Make sure your daughter believes it when you tell her how much you love her and what you know she’s worth.
- Teens don’t want to be judged for their poor choices.
One of the quickest ways to discourage your daughter from coming to you for help when she’s made a poor choice is for her to believe you’re going to judge and/or shame her. Do whatever you need to do to show compassion towards your daughter, even if it means taking a step away from the conversation before responding to calm down.
- Teens want to feel like their lives matter.
The young lady who wrote the letter had sex because she felt it was the only thing she was good at doing and it felt good to feel needed. There’s so much that can be unpacked from this statement, but I’ll just encourage you to help your daughter find a hobby/talent/skill where she can excel so she won’t have to look for that sense of fulfillment through relationships or sex.
As adults, we tend to overemphasize teens’ poor behavior, and overlook their needs that fuel the behavior.
But remember the quote I shared above?
If you’re ever concerned about the decisions your daughter is making, the key is to focus on what’s truly driving her behavior so you can provide the help she needs.
My prayer for 2022 and beyond is that God will give parents the wisdom needed to address the root cause of their children’s poor choices, whether it’s regarding sex, alcohol/drugs, or even the friends they hang out with.
P.S. If you suspect your teen daughter (or son) is having sex, I get why your first instinct would be to attack the behavior. But that’s not going to get either of you the outcome you want. Instead, practice applying the lessons in the letter I shared in this post, with your own daughter. Then watch the positive impact it has on her choices, how she views herself, and your relationship with one another.
P.P.S. Please go here to share this post with your friends and family who have teens. Even if sex isn’t an issue, the tips above are helpful in addressing ANY poor teen choices/behavior. Thank you as always for sharing my posts.