Birds And Bees: Have The
by Lisa Dunning, MA, MFT
An article printed November 28th, 2003
in the Las Vegas Sun reported: "Nevada leads the nation for teens
with multiple babies. It went on to report that in 2003, "One in
four teens who gave birth . . . already had at least one child. That was
the highest rate in the country, matched only by Texas."
I have always advocated that parents
should communicate about sex using age appropriate language with their
toddlers and preteens. Unfortunately, many parents avoid talking about
sex with their children until they are teens or they do not speak to
their children about sex at all, hoping their children will just figure
it out on their own. I have heard the argument from many of my clients
that talking about sex gives permission for your teenager to participate
in sexual activity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Clearly expressing your beliefs about
sex and how you expect your teenager to act and react to potential
sexual encounters will generally delay sexual activity. This
communication will foster healthy attitudes about the opposite sex,
premarital sex and committed relationships.
Discussing sex with your teenager is
not condoning sexual experimentation. You are informing your child of
all available options and the consequences of those options. By not
talking about sex, you are conveying to your child that there is
something shameful, or secretive, in both talking about and
participating in sex. It is important that your child come to you with
questions and concerns they might have about sex, rather than receiving
advice from others that do not have your child's best interest at heart.
If your goal is to prevent your child from experimenting with sex until
a certain age, or until they are married, then tell them what you wish
for them and explain your reasons for your beliefs.
Many parents do not talk to their
teenagers about sex due to their feelings of anxiety and embarrassment.
It is important to keep in mind that the uncomfortable feeling you may
experience when talking about sex typically stems from your parents
inability to communicate with you about sex. If the feeling is so
overwhelming that you struggle to discuss this topic with your child, I
recommend finding articles about teenage sexuality and asking your child
questions relating to the articles. This will allow you some insight on
their views about this important issue without asking them personal
questions about their experiences. My book also offers games and
exercises that can lessen the embarrassment for both you and your child.
Providing a nurturing, supportive and
loving environment will give you and your teenager the openness and
willingness to talk about sex and can prevent sexually transmitted
diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and can potentially save your child's
Any of these articles by
Lisa Dunning, Family Therapist may be re-published in hardcopy
(magazines, newsletters or newspapers) or electronic format in websites,
ezines or electronic newsletters provided the following resource box is included at the end of the article with a
link to the URL
|Lisa Dunning is a
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Specializing in
Parent/Child Relationship issues, the author of "Good
Parents Bad Parenting: How To Parent Together When Your
Parenting Styles Are Worlds Apart" and the host of her own
radio show, "Life Support". She provides marriage, divorce and parenting
sessions to clientele across the United States and Canada and provides expert
parenting advice to newspaper & magazine columnists. To learn
more about Lisa Dunning visit her website at http://www.LisaDunningMFT.com.