This fabulous guest post is by MominChief…check out her new book!
Van Petten, who at age seventeen wrote You’re Grounded! to
give advice to parents from a teen’s perspective, explains that you
can be the strictest parent in the world with the tightest curfews,
and kids will still find a way to have sex if they want to. The real
issue is to inspire teens to make wise, self-respecting choices.
Vanessa was sixteen, she had a new boyfriend and contemplated becoming
sexually active. Her mom knew that persuading her daughter to abstain
from sex would have little impact. Instead, she talked to her about
safe sex. What she said next, though a little shocking to Vanessa at
the time, made a lasting impression, changing Vanessa’s whole perspective
of men. Vanessa’s mom’s credibility rose when she showed that she
understood that teenage girls were not only sexually active but also
engaging in unreciprocated oral sex, servicing boys and then experiencing
you give your boyfriend pleasure, make sure it’s equal—if you pleasure
him, make sure he pleasures you. I realized my mom got it. At 16, oral
sex was big for girls. For my boyfriend, it was all about getting sexual
pleasure. He didn’t respect me, so I broke up with him,” Vanessa
Vanessa shared her mom’s advice with her girlfriends, who also came
to the realization that the one-sided sexual experiences they were having
were unfair. Vanessa’s mom appealed to her self-worth, and she didn’t
advise Vanessa to wait until she was in love, which would have fallen
on deaf ears. She allowed Vanessa to draw her own conclusions based
on a loving piece of advice: respect yourself. Whether you’re talking
with your teenager about sex, school, drugs, or their after-school activities,
it all boils down to instilling self-respect in your teens and letting
them know they have the voice and power to influence their environment
and the people around them.
Talking to Your Teenager About Sex
Here are some tips for how to talk
to your child about sex, based on the research from the Center for Adolescent
Health and Development at the University of Minnesota and on advice
from Ivy Chen, “professor of sex” at San Francisco State University
and UC Berkeley.
Clearly express your values, but keep
talks brief. Instead of having a formal “sex talk,” engage in
conversations that are more natural and ongoing.
Make fostering a warm, close, supportive
relationship with your teen a high priority. Studies that looked
at more than five thousand adolescents and their mothers found a strong
link between a close and positive mother-child connection and delays
in the initiation of sexual intercourse.
If you disapprove of your teen’s
engaging in sex, clearly explain why, emphasizing the importance of
love and mutual respect. Research found that teens whose mothers
disapproved of their having sex were more likely to delay intercourse.
Stay involved in your teen’s day-to-day
life. Mothers who reported knowing the parents of their daughters’
friends had daughters who were less likely to engage in sexual intercourse.
Be aware of what’s going on in your
child’s life. In the study, 50 percent of parents whose children
were sexually active were unaware of their sexual behavior.
The bottom line is to cultivate
a respectful and trusting connection and convey that your child’s
health and self-respect are what’s most important.