The average person has their first kiss around age 15. High school and adolescence beckon a greater awareness of ones sexuality and attraction, and it’s natural for teenagers to begin expressing interest in one another and going on dates. For teens, this is one of the most exhilarating experiences of their lives. For parents, it can be an absolute nightmare. All you can think about is your child suddenly being sexually active. What if they contract an STD? What if they get pregnant? They’re just kids, they aren’t ready for the responsibility of sex and relationships, right? Here are some tips for when your children start dating.
Many teens are unprepared for the emotional consequences that come with sex. The topic is often not discussed in the house or in the classroom. Sex Ed classes only teach kids the fundamentals of intercourse, and the how’s and why’s of safe sex are usually left unanswered. Many parents, feeling awkward or simply in denial, refuse to give their kids practical advice, insisting that they only practice abstinence. Some even go so far as to ban dating completely.
Here’s the truth: Whether or not you want it to happen, your teen is going to be attracted to others. They’re most likely going to date them and, yes, possibly have sex with them, with or without your approval.
Your goal should not be to prevent your teen from ever exploring their sexuality. Instead, your job as a parent is to guide them, offering valuable, practical advice and emotional support, so your teen is equipped to make the best decisions for themselves and their bodies.
The Importance of Empowerment
Many teenagers feel like they have to have sex way before they’re even ready. Peer pressure is a real thing, and it doesn’t mean your child is weak-minded or insecure for being influenced by it. In a national survey, one in three boys between the ages of 15 and 17 say they feel pressured by friends to have sex, though the percentage is much smaller for teen girls.
Aside from peer pressure, there may also be pressure from a prospective partner. Talk with your teen about when it’s the right time to have sex. Many may not even be sure when they’re ready.
Sex is not a tool to get closer to someone. Make sure your teen understands that the right partner means everything – especially for their first time. The first sexual encounters we have leave a lasting impression, and if your teen is forced into something they aren’t ready for or even feel violated, it could leave emotional scars and intimacy issues that take years to undo.
Talk to your teen about feeling empowered in their decision to have sex. It’s something they should do for themselves, not their partner. They are never obligated to “pay someone back” and sex does not equal love.
Make sure that your teen, male, female or non-conforming, understands that they have the right to say “no,” and the right partner will respect all of their boundaries even if they don’t share them.
If your teen has decided to be intimate, it’s time to discuss the logistics. Don’t be afraid to talk about condoms and birth control. If your teen is sexually active, help them get tested by finding a local STD clinic. They need to know how to protect themselves, and the sooner you make sex less taboo, the sooner they can take the right steps toward being proactive about their sexual health.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa works with STD Testing Facilities, which provides users same day STD testing in a discrete and proficient manner.