Sexuality is natural for most teens to become aware of as they move through the various stages of adolescence but it’s often something that can be of great concern to parents who may be worried about the safety and welfare of the teenagers and the choices they may be making. At this important stage of a teens life it’s extremely critical that as a parent you become very involved and open about anything they may want to discuss or have questions about. Shying away from questions or discussion that you feel awkward approaching with your teen can lead to the confusion that may cause them to make some bad decisions down the road.
It will relieve many parents to know that the average age for a first sexual encounter as a teen has only dropped by one year in the last several decades that that this encounter is usually with someone the teen is dating or in love with. It’s also reassuring to know that most teens consistently use contraceptives . However it can also be a dangerous world for teens that are discovering their sexuality and may be subjected to different forms of peer pressure which could cause them to make unwise choices. If teens begin to travel down a path of making decision based on what their peers are doing they can end up suffering one of the many repercussions of unsafe sex or could even begin to form a sexual addiction. Once this kind of pattern is formed in a teenagers life it’s often one that they will carry with them for years - maybe even for the rest of their life and it can do significant emotional and physical damage, especially at such a young age.
There are many things parents can do to encourage healthy sexual behavior in their teenagers and the biggest one is simply to invite the conversation and discussion of sex into the home and to help your child feel comfortable discussing and asking questions. It’s far better that they feel safe coming to you for answers then to their peers. Once the ice has been broken and your teenager feels safe and secure coming to talk to you about any questions they may have it’s also important to be on the watch for opportunities you might have to teach them about the world of sex and the responsibility that comes with it. Your teenager probably won’t come right out and ask you about the things that are confusing to them all the time so it’s important that you be aware of different questions they may have and the best way to do this is to find natural ways of going about certain topics. Using stories in the newspaper, shows on tv, books or movies, you can find different ways to ask questions about topics that may not be clear to your teenagers in a way they can relate to.
The most important thing is to realize that it’s never too soon to educate your teenager but there may become a point when it is too late. Don’t wait for you teen to get out of control and make bad decisions -instead bring the topics to them and help them to make right choices from the very start.