The pressure to have sex is one of the major issues that have plagued teenagers for decades. With hormones raging and peer pressure the urge for sexual exploration will increase. Some will give into the urge but they should consider both the physical risk and emotional turmoil.
Often, parents dread the very thought, let alone the knowledge, that their little girl or boy is having sex. However, it is important that parents put aside their fears and deal with the reality and give them 'the birds-and-bees talk' at an ideal age.
Marcus Williams, a father of two boys and two girls, said he had the talk with his girls when they were 14 years old. "My opening statement was, 'I don't grow grandchildren, they visit me'."
He said he does not talk to them about protection. Rather he believes in abstinence. He told them that education opens many doors and that should be their focus.
"I told them not to give in to peer pressure and they must not be afraid to come to me or their mother for advice."
He notes that he made sure that the types of friends they keep have positive values and are well mannered. Plus, when it comes to sleepovers, he ensures that their friends' parents are people who he is comfortable with.
He told Flair that as it relates to the boys he gives them the talk at 16 years old. He uses the same opening statement. However, he said he does not focus on abstinence, but on protection. "I let them know it is not just about protecting themselves from becoming a father but also protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."
He notes that he does not come down on the boys too hard if they are sexually active before the talk because they might go the other way and his major concern is that they not become homosexuals.
Fathers more protective
Sex therapist, Dr. Sidney McGill, advises that fathers tend to be more protective than mothers, especially of the girls, and often advocate abstinence.
He said that one has to look at the reasons other than teens libido why they want to have sex so early. Is it because of peer pressure? If not, is it depression? Or are there relationship problems with parents?
"If a teen is sexually active, then the implication of sex, even safe sex, may not prevent STIs," said Dr. McGill. In a sexual relationship, one has to make an emotional investment and adolescents are not good at coping with the complexities of such a relationship. He said that kind of relationship would open a world that exposes them to the potential of getting hurt.
He further stated that teens usually have to cope with academics and extra-curricular activities and entering in a sexual relationship can add more stress. Instead of parents telling their children whether or not to have sex, Dr. McGill said, "They should supervise the kind of friends they keep. Plus, cultivate an open-door policy with them so they feel free to discuss anything with you. The fact is that children need the emotional experience of their parents.