I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
Before deciding to write about this particular topic, I have given it much thought. Regardless of what many may have to say, in the end, this may very well help one parent or child make a new decision regarding this particular subject.
I saw in interesting show recently, Dr. Phil to be exact, and the topic was teens and sex. On the show he had Bishop Jakes, and abstinence "counselor", a teacher, teens and parents. It was quite an affair, and I listened to each side of the story. Each person made a good point regarding teens and sex and I found it useful to use the show in my own home as a sounding board.
I agree that teens and sex are mixing more and more as time goes on. I agree that we have to educate our children and make them aware of the consequences regarding choices. I agree that teens can feel a connection, love so to speak, to someone they are intimately involved with. Yet, and that is a big yet, there is one thing I do not agree with....
Most parents believe that sex education belongs in the school district. I know so many parents who do not know how to discuss sexual issues with their children. It can be quite embarrassing when Johnny or Susie comes home and asks how babies are made. We stumble upon our words and send our children either to the "other" parent or pray that sex ed will be taught in school very soon. I remember the exact day, time and place when I asked that particular question of my parents as a young girl. I had heard about it from a girl at school in the 5th grade. I came home and asked my father, who was heading downstairs to the basement. My father told me to ask my mother, and my mother basically answered the question but chose not to discuss the situation further.
The one item I do not agree with is the fact that parents are putting the responsibility of sex ed in the hands of outside resources.
I have two daughters, ages 15 and 16. I knew that one day they would begin to ask questions regarding sex. I was prepared to answer those questions. Not only did I answer those questions, but left the conversation open to discussion. I made sure they understood at their age level and felt comfortable enough to ask further questions when needed. I knew I had to change my way of thinking in order to have daughters who respect themselves, their bodies and others. Over time they asked more difficult questions and I still answered each one. I have never felt ashamed or made them feel ashamed regarding these questions. I have always talked about intimacy as if it were a part of our every day life. I have explained to my daughters that it is important to get to know a boy as friend first to see how he treats other girls, his mother, and how he talks about other girls in their class. I also have gently reminded them that once they give their kisses away, they cannot get them back. Explaining that saving your "kisses" for a man or woman who loves and cherishes you is the greatest gift you can give to your future spouse. I have talked with them about the emotional aspect of intimacy. The fact of the matter is that teenage boys and girls cannot comprehend and do not understand that there are heart and emotions are involved. We have also watched birthing videos, shows on sex and also read about the joys of intimacy as well.
Keeping discussions about sex from your children and making it taboo only makes them want to learn about it even more. If they are not allowed to learn about sex from us, they will learn about it one way or another. What better way to instill your values than by opening up and planting seeds. I have never told my daughters to "not" have sex, yet instead opened their eyes along the way to the consequences of having sex before marriage. Not only have we discussed pregnancy, but diseases as well. Sometimes when we are shopping, I will gently point out the expenses of diapers and formula. Most importantly, I remind them of what a good life they have and the type of stress they will not have to experience because of the choices they made. I reinforce their good behaviors and remind them of how it would be if they had chosen the other path...
When one of their friends reveals he or she has had sex, we talk about it. I ask them why they think she made that decision, and what the repercussions are of her decisions. I also remind them that we do not have the right to judge, but that person may just need a friend. I also keep myself open and available to their friends who come over. Most of the girls that visit our home tell me what they wish most is they had a close relationship with their parents and could talk with them openly about sex, just as I do with my children. I have "adopted" some girls along the way and they call me "mom"...
I believe that if we change our way of thinking about sex education, and begin to have an open relationship with our children about sex, we will begin to see a drop in pregnancy and disease. Also, we will begin to see a rise in healthier children, ones who respect themselves because they are being loved and accepted at home.
It is never too late to start... Begin by saying, "You know what, at your age, I was experiencing the same emotions you are"...or, "You know what, when I was in school there were alot of kids having sex".. and go from there.. Open up about what you went through as a teenager. Find your old journal and read parts of it out loud. Make yourself vulnerable. Your child may be feeling exactly the same way you felt. If they don't right now, they will in the future.
If your child reveals they have been sexually active, the best thing to do is keep an open mind and make sure they are first and foremost being safe. Take a deep breath. Never yell, scream or judge. This will make them turn back to the behavior which you want to keep them from. Make an appointment with a doctor for testing and also consultation. If you know your child does not feel comfortable discussing the situation with you, find another trusted adult and have that person spend time with your child. I know when I was a teenager, I felt more comfortable with my mom's cousin, or a friends mom other than my own. Find an adult your child will open up with and see if that adult will step in to be a guidance to your son or daughter. Another great place to help is to join a church group, somewhere like Elmbrook, where your child can be surrounded by positive people and find love and acceptance from other children and trusted adults.
What children want more than anything is unconditional love. Without unconditional love, our children will seek out love and acceptance any way shape or form they know how. Let's make a change, one day at a time.
On a side note, my daughters have both decided upon abstinence. They have still not dated or given away their first "kisses"... They are interested in dating, but have still yet to find someone at this time. I know that I may not have all the answers, but the above information has helped in my situation.
If this blog touched you, please feel free to contact me. I would love to not only listen, but guide as well.
UNTIL NEXT TIME AMERICA!