Teenagers and Sex. Argh! Now What?

I can’t talk about it.  That means I know about it and I certainly don’t want to encourage it. 

How many times have you thought that?  Or heard it?  

One of the hardest things of all times that parents face.  Can’t they just find out about it on their own?  Yes, they can.  Or they can find out about it from you.  Do you have something to offer, other than, “don’t do it!!””  You do.  I really think parents should band together on this.  They should meet and talk about it, and support each other.  I think they would be surprised at what kids are saying and doing, and what other parents are doing.  It may give them guidance and a familiarity from which to share with their children.  

Statistics on teenagers and sex abound. 

Statistics used to show that 50% of girls and 80% of guys will have had sex before they finish high school.  Get this in your head.  If you are a parent of a male high school child, you better be talking.  For the girls, the thing that stuck out for me is that 50% of high school girls have NOT had sex.   Yes, Guess jeans, Glamour magazine and every one else will have you believing you are the only one not “doing it.”   No, not true.  You should probably convey this to your teenager, more than once.

 

However, if you teenager starts to have a committed relationship, by about the second month you better believe the topic is on the table and you better start talking. In fact, you should already have been talking.

And the easiest and best way is to start early.

I say, have the eight-year-old talk.  That’s right.  Beat them to it.  Start early, start slow and whenever the situation allows, bring it up again. Talk at the level appropriate for their age.  At eight, the talk might go something like, “When a guy and a girl really love each other, they may decide to get married (explanation of that) and then they may decide to have a baby(general explanation of that).”  As they get older and older, the conversations get more factual.  I always used the proper names for things and actually, the briefer the message, the better.

 

By starting early, it gives you a long time to get your thoughts in.  All your thoughts.  When my youngest was in middle school, one of her friend’s moms removed her daughter from their lunch table because they talked about boys.  The same mother would go on to say she wasn’t going to let her daughter date until she was 18.  That way, if she got pregnant, she was old enough to marry.  Wait a minute.  I thought it was normal for 12-year-old girls to talk about boys.  And I did not want my girls to think that boys were the enemy.  I, actually, like guys.   Liked them then and still do.  But, I drift. There is a lot of life that goes on between dating and pregnancy.  Let them know about that.

Since one-liners are my best mode of communication, these are some that worked for me.  Once, when tutoring a high schooler that I just loved, she started to go out with an older guy.  I could tell he was putting pressure on her.  All I had to offer was –

Don’t do anything you don’t want to do, and always know what you are doing.

 Bam!  She broke up with him by the next tutoring session.  My main message in talking about sex and guy/girl relationships mostly involves the psychology of it.  That it was natural for girls and guys to be attracted to each other.  That I wanted them to have great relationships.  That I knew they would get to the sex part.  And yet, sex enters everyone into a new territory.  It affects your relationship with each other, your relationship to your family, his/her family.  More succinctly and tongue in cheek, I would say,

Sex is messier than you think.  Be careful whom you chose to have it with. 

So much in so few words. Literally and figuratively.