Teens and Sex
Few things incite fear into the hearts of parents with teenagers more than the word “sex.” Yet regardless of parental acceptance, 49% of teens ARE sexually active. And beyond the teen years, this will be a component of relationships in the lives of young adults as well.
Yet some of us resist this reality. Instead, we project our fears onto our kids. Evelyn Resh, author of “The Secret Lives of Teen Girls…”, expressed in a recent interview how “parents are TERRIFIED of this conversation.” She goes on to say parents “then become terrorists.” Meaning, we lead with fear and attempt to scare our kids by listing the risks associated with sex or outright forbidding it. The long term danger of this approach is that sex is held with fear, shame, or negative emotions.
Resh goes on to suggest that it is a good idea to separate facts about sex from family values and have a conversation about these two concepts to bring clarity. While this can be a difficult task, our kids need to have a space for learning about sex that is distinct from forming emotional opinions about sex.
In order to do this, parents need to gain clarity around their fears. So what is it exactly that we fear about sex? I have a whole list, but I’ll just name a few.
1. Talking about sex with them might be misunderstood
2. Being judged by other parents
3. Messing my kid up
What do I actually want? I want my kids to embrace relationships and connection. I want them to arm themselves with information and trust that they will make choices around the foundation that we’ve been building together their whole lives. And ultimately, I want them to someday have a healthy sex life.
Challenge for you:
1. Make a list of your fears
2. Now take a deep breath
3. Make a list of what it is you actually want in your relationship with your kids