- Family and Parenting»
Talk with your teenager about sex, prevent pregnancy or infertility
Sometime during the teenage year many teenager make their sexual debut. And as a parent, you must take your responsibility and get over the embarrassment of talking about sex with your teenager. You maybe think that your child knows all there is to know about the subject and that they probably get knowledge from school and from their friends. Some basic information they most certainly get from these sources, and maybe they know a little bit more than they should at their age. But do they have the right information? What kind of information do they have? You don’t know, and as a parent you can not rely on these other sources. It is up to you as a parent to make sure that they have the right information and the information about the matter that you think is important!
What information is important?
I don’t think that the techniques of sex are what you should focus on. That area can be to much for both you and your teenager, and it is probably in that area that most information easily can be found and is shared. Instead you should focus on the reasons for having sex and the reasons for not having sex. Since friends and media is a strong source of information about sex for teenagers they can easily get a vague picture of sex. That’s why they need many opportunities to talk to wise adults.
As a parent you should know that your teenager probably think that you are ever so embarrassing, but that is okay. It is better to run the risk of being an embarrassing parent than not talk about it at all. You can start by saying that you feel a little uncertain but that you want to talk about it anyway. It is important to know that you don’t have to agree with your teenager and that you never can decide what your teenager should think or how your child should be. You can only try to influence them in the right direction. The rest is up to them, because you can’t be there and watch over them all the time.
Parents and children often have difficulties in seeing each other as sexual creatures and that is normal. If you have major difficulties in talking to your child about sex, maybe some one can help you, a relative, a neighbour, a good friend or the school nurse. Another tip is to swap teenager. It can be easier to talk with someone else’s teenager instead of your one. That’s better than nothing, but the best way to make sure your child knows what you think is important, is to talk with them in person.
Tell the teenager about sexuality, the way it should be!
It is very important that you can convey that sex is much more than to know how the body works, sexual techniques and how to prevent diseases and unwanted pregnancies. It is also about love, relations and sexual responsibility. Sex is as present as absents in our lives. Not only do we flirt, love and dating, our hole Western culture seems to be loaded with sex. In the media we encounter sex all the time, as a flood of bodies, technical descriptions, more or less fabulous stories about celebrities personal lives, and a steady flowing of advice on how we "mortals" should be able to get a more intense sexual life. In this overwhelming propaganda even adults can feel insecure about their sex life. Sex has become something that is used for selling, influence and attract attention. Sex is described as something that is technically feasible and belongs to living in the same way as physical exercise and entertainment om TV.
The real sexuality is missing in media, and in our modern life we hardly give it a chance. Real sexuality is feelings, emotions, dreams and fantasies, and to consider sexuality as a ever-present aspect of us as human beings. Sex is an expression of love and care. It should be a way for you to experience how you can be more happy, courageous and alive in your life.
Although it is difficult to explain this to a teenager, you must try, as a counterbalance to the ever present more mechanical sexuality.
Reasons to not have sex to early!
The main thing is to make them understand that they should not have sex for the wrong reasons. Teenager is influenced by friends, partners and media to have sex early. Your main task is to give them reasons to wait. As a teenager you are unprepared and most teenagers don’t have a good self-esteem. Sex can in worst cases result in feelings of insecurity and utilization if the reason for having sex is the need for love and acknowledgement.
Try to make them see that sex is not something that "should be done" in order to impress friends, boyfriend or girlfriend. And that they should never have sex if they don’t want to. Sex is not entertainment or getting a kick. Sex is presence, closeness, development and respect for each other.
Teach the teenager that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of birth control, even if there are many medical ways of preventing pregnancy. The teenager probably knows this already, but inform them once again about the huge responsibility that comes with a child. Being a parent is a full time job, and involves sacrificing individual hobbies and a normal teenage life.
My daughter’s school have gone one step further. At the age of sixteen, the sexual education involves that the students must try what it is like to have a baby. The school have bought two reality dolls that look very natural and behave as normal babies do. They cry, sleep, eat and other needs. The students are divided in to pairs, a boy and a girl and they have to share caring for the baby for several day and nights. The dolls need food, care, sleep, love and other things like getting clean diapers. After this type of education started, the number of teenage pregnancies has declined in our county. Older friends of my daughter that have experienced taken care of these dolls certainly do not want to be parents now. This shows the benefits of learning by trying, and in this case they can return to being teenagers after they have tried parenting for a few days.
Prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infertility later on
To have unprotected sex increases the risk of infertility and not be able to have children later on when you want to. There are many medical causes to infertility, but the danger of unprotected sex is mainly sexually transmitted infections. Sexually transmitted diseases is serious, and it is important to inform that the risk is for real. And make sure that you inform them of the risk of infertility from salpingitis. Salpingitis does not always give symptoms and you can have the infection without knowing. If you don’t know you have an infection you most likely don’t get treatment for the infection, and untreated salpingitis can cause blocked fallopian tubes.
Inform your teenager that they can be screened for infection and sexually transmitted diseases if they are worried or suspect that they may have an infection. It is better to be save than sorry, and screening is easy done if you suspect that you are in danger of sexual transmitted disease.