Sexual Abstinence and the Youth (Youth Counseling on Sex Series Part 2)
Even in the most careful and detailed plans to help the youth keep away from the snares of premarital sex, it cannot be denied that sometimes young people fall into it. The work does not stop at the fall. Helping young people rise up is as important as preventing them from falling. Youth workers or helpers should pour out considerable amount of time for these youth to recover from that fall.
Helping Youth with Sexual Problems
There are many methods how to help young people facing crises related to sex. The following steps detailed on the paper were primarily taken from the book, Handbook on Counseling Youth (MacDowell and Hostetler 2001, 287-89).
1. Sit down and listen.
The first and most important step of helping them rise is to listen and be present with them. Listening is a valuable skill in helping the youth. Most young people do not go directly to their parents to report for fear of being rejected and abandoned. It is the youth worker’s job to provide them with hope and trust along the way. In counseling, the counselor should make the youth comfortable to talk about himself/herself. Judging and patronizing the situation should best be avoided.
Youth helpers must empathize with the young people’s situation. Empathizing means understanding the young people’s situation, feelings, and actions. It is important that youth counselors show their understanding to the youth they are dealing with. In this step, counselors must refrain from giving advice or judgments to the youth sharing his/her situation.
The next step is affirming. Youth needs affirmations. Youth counselors must keep in mind how hurting the young people might be. Making the youth understand how God sees his/her situation at present, without making cliché statements, is very important to him/her. Proper communication of the counselors concern should be sensitively monitored.
4. Offer proper and valuable directions.
Counselors must offer proper and valuable directions also. Hope should be instigated. Young people should be given positive realistic viewpoints on what lay ahead of them. Guiding them lovingly and leading them to acknowledge God and His standards can do significant help for young people. Counselors must offer support also.
5. Enlist help.
Enlisting the youth’s help also encourages him/her to take the situation seriously. Counselors should guide them into thinking of ways to recover from or avoid unhealthy sexual activities. It is also helpful to guide them into making plans for the future regarding this situation.
6. Refer to professionals.
Lastly, youth counselors should refer the youth to the professionals with the parents’ consent, especially when the sexual problem is severe. However, the counselor must not refer him/her to just any professionals. The counselor must look for a Christian professional counselor that could care for the youth’s spiritual condition as well. It is wise for a male counselor to deal with a male youth and for a female to handle a female youth.
As was noted earlier, the popular culture competes with the efforts of youth workers in getting the young people’s attention. Society had failed to accomplish the task of taking the youth out of sexual related problems, in fact they help it. Most parents are rather tolerant or clueless or just plain busy. Believing that youth workers can do their part in helping the youth rise from sexual problems and run away from societal pressures of sex, it is recommended that youth workers should undergo counseling training to properly address the problems the youth are facing today.
MacDowell, Josh and Bob Hostetler. 2001. Handbook on counseling youth. Manila, Philippines: Back to the Bible