How do we talk to our teens about sex, intimacy, maturity, respect, all of that in 2019?
In a house full of teenagers, I find myself in the position of having the uncomfortable conversations, of staring the awkwardness in the face on a regular basis.
There are so many questions that I do not have ready answers for, and the ones that I do come up with something for just seem to lead to more.
Recently, I have been discussing with other moms of teenagers how they handle the discussions around dating, sex, and everything that comes along with it. I am stuck between my very traditional Christian upbringing and my knowledge of the times that we live in.
I do not feel that the statement, “The Bible says not to outside of marriage so don’t” is sufficient. In a perfect world, this is all we would need to protect our kids.
I want them to understand so much more, I want them to understand WHY waiting until they are older, more mature emotionally, and know themselves better is to their benefit in the long run.
I want them to understand that I fully understand teenage hormones and that I value their feelings in this matter.
But there is more to it. In one of those recent conversations, it was revealed that one of the teenage daughters had, in fact, participated in having sex with her boyfriend. One of the other mom’s first response was, “Oh, I’m so sorry.”
That comment made me stop, it made me think.
Do our children think that their value in our eyes somehow diminishes after they have sex? Are they less our “babies”? Is there any less that we, as parents, would do for them?
Or is that viewpoint only saved for our daughters?
For our “Princesses”?
I want my children, my teenagers, my young adults to understand WHY I want them to wait, not just that I said to.
I want them to grasp how when two people, no matter the age, engage in that level of intimacy, they are leaving their mark on that person. It is like leaving fingerprints on their very being. That person, that high school love, may not be your “forever” person, but they are someone’s. That means you are leaving your mark on someone else’s future love. You are leaving an impression that their future happiness may have to work through, or even work to get over, just as they are leaving their mark on you.
I want to make it clear that once intercourse is brought into a relationship, emotions get muddled. Your emotions and your hormones become intertwined. It becomes so much harder to leave a relationship that is not the right fit for you once that twisted knot of hormones and emotions is involved.
I want my kids to think of their futures. I want them to recognize all of the dreams and goals that they have that may not be impossible with a child, but will certainly be much, much more difficult.
I also fully understand that when teenagers are involved, making something off-limits only increases the allure. I want them to fully understand why waiting is to their benefit, the way that they understand that not using drugs is to their benefit.
I do not believe that providing information on a topic leads to that topic happening more.
Drug abuse knowledge does not lead to increased drug abuse.
Knowledge of biology and nutrition does not lead to overindulgence and binge eating.
Education on the dangers of texting and driving does not lead to an increase in teen driving accidents.
Comprehensive sex ed does not lead to an increase in sexual activity among teens. It does the opposite.
We need to make sure that our kids are educated. We need them to be informed.
As parents, we need to be pains in their butts and be vigilant to make certain they adhere to the rules and guidelines that we have in place.
We also need to remove the stigma surrounding sex and teens.
A teenage girl beginning birth control, or a teenage boy being allowed access to condoms is not condoning or consent from parents any more than putting insurance on their vehicle is permission to drive recklessly. It is a precaution. It is a step ensuring their future.
Our kids will make mistakes. That is what happens in life, they are learning (we ALL are learning).
The more I discuss this topic with parents of teens, the more I find there is to unpack. As I dive deeper and since I process in writing, there will be more ramblings thoughts on this page.
For now, we are just all in this together, each one of us making it up as we go along.