After 20 years of speaking to teens, receiving 17,000 letters from them, and having countless girls cry in my arms after class, I am convinced that for most teens, sex is just a symptom of a bigger issue.
As a matter of fact, at the beginning of my high school classes, I show two slides with excerpts from letters I’ve received from teen girls AND guys stating why they had sex.
I ask the students whether they think those reasons are “good” reasons to have sex.
And guess what? They all say NO.
We then discuss the flawed logic behind each reason.
One Girl’s Wrong Reason for Having Sex
I recognize there are students in each class who may have had sex for some of the same reasons as the ones listed on the slides.
So I share the slides in order to educate those students without making it personal.
They’re able to see themselves in the letters and it’s easier for them to recognize the flawed logic when it’s someone else’s decision.
**Helpful Tip: If your daughter is making poor relationship choices, I would encourage you to share my emails with her for the same reason.
Over the years, I’ve heard tons of crazy reasons why teen girls have sex. But I must admit this student’s letter surprised me:
“I was 14 when I had sex for the first time with this random boy who was just as non-experienced as me.
I totally disregarded myself & my body for some fling that soon devastated my parents.
Well, I only wanted the recognition, acknowledgement, and attention.
I was always the good kid who had way too many boundaries that ultimately blocked her view of what was actually right and what was actually wrong.
Though I wouldn’t totally blame my parents for my own decision, I think the expectation of them wanting me to be an excellent kid without actually giving me a single thought really played a part in how I got my parent’s attention.”
Even with flawed thinking, letters like this provide golden nuggets that can benefit students and parents.
Address Her Needs
I shared this quote in a previous blog post:
“Beneath every behavior there is a feeling. And beneath every feeling is a need. And when we meet that need rather than focus on the behavior, we begin to deal with the cause not the symptom.”
~ Ashleigh Warner
Based on the above quote, I’d say the need this young lady met by having sex was getting her parents’ attention.
It sounds as though she was also rebelling against their high expectations and their unwillingness to allow her to make any of her own decisions.
It’s important to remember that striving for independence is an essential part of human development.
As a parent of a teen, trying to find a balance between independence and safety can be a challenge.
Following are some things to consider:
- Let her do things that will help her gain trust.
- Include your daughter in the decision-making about boundaries and consequences.
- Link her freedom to her responsibility. As long as she’s making responsible choices, she can keep her freedom.
If you want to equip your daughter to avoid having sex for all the wrong reasons, join me for my upcoming virtual workshop.
Title: Parenting Teen Girls in a Sexualized World: What Your Daughter Wishes You Knew.
Time & Date: Sunday, November 6th from 6-9pm
We’ll break down the following topics your daughter wishes you knew:
- “The Struggle is REAL!”…Where the pressure to have sex comes from?
- “The Talk!”…When, Where & How?
- “Then vs. Now!”…Your Teen Years vs. Her Teen Years
- “Is She Really OK?”…The State of Her Mental Health!
- “Parenting from Her Perspective”…What Is & Isn’t Effective!
I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
P.S. There are a lot of WRONG reasons teen girls choose to have sex. Join me this Sunday to find out why and discover how to help your daughter choose the RIGHT reasons to wait.
P.P.S. Please share this post with parents you know who have tween or teen daughters. The more parents who are equipped with this information, the more girls who will be empowered to make wise choices when it comes to love, sex, and relationships. Thank you!