Parenting Adolescents, Part IX: Empower Your Teen With A Healthy Sexual Perspective
Teach a healthy sexual perspective to your teen
During puberty teens are considering what a sexual relationship might be like. Their concepts can come from the Internet and talking to friends, or they can be learned from you. Helping your child to appreciate the carefully orchestrated response of the body to sensual input and the joy that it can bring is part of teaching a healthy sexual perspective. Sex is a basic body function that needs to be explained in the same way that you would teach any other physical function. It is, however, unique in that it also has a deeply personal and emotional component to it. After they have learned the basics about sex, it is equally as important to teach them the deeper, more personal elements.
Protect your child from danger
In today’s society, there are numerous sexual practices that teens are participating in that are both clinically and emotionally damaging. These are not common practices but occur frequently enough to warrant some explanation from you. A particularly dangerous activity that is becoming popular among young teens is to stop normal breathing patterns to heighten sexual pleasure. They don’t understand how dangerous this is and that it can lead to unexpected death. Teaching about unhealthy sexual practices like this will help your teen to be informed so they can stand up against peer pressure and develop their own convictions. It is also important for them to have a basic understanding of the dangers associated with sexually transmitted diseases.
Respect is the foundation
The physical sexual response is obvious, but what is hidden is the emotional response. As you teach your teen, make sure to include discussions about the deep feelings associated with a sexual relationship. So much of our self-identify is intertwined in this experience and it can be both positive and negative. Young teens who are not sexually active will find it difficult to understand the deep personal emotions involved. But they can understand that the foundation of a healthy sexual relationship is respect. Of course, self-respect is essential and will be a protective shield around your teen. But respecting other people is equally as important. For example, your son is at a party where there is drinking. He observes a friend who is a girl and she is drinking too much. Another teen tries to entice her away from the group to a private place. Out of respect for his friend, your son should intervene and encourage his friend to let him take her home. A teen who has learned to respect and value a sexual relationship will be empowered and more likely to make healthy choices in his/her sexual life and with their friends.
Suggestions for positive parenting
- Because of the personal nature of this topic, it might be helpful to write down the important points that you want to teach your adolescent. This will give you time to think through what is appropriate and beneficial. When you talk to your child, you can use your notes or simply let them read your thoughts and then discuss them together.
- Watch for information that comes out in the media concerning teen sexual activities. This will help you to stay informed and provide a great opportunity to initiate discussions with your teen.
- Topics such as respecting your body and the emotional impact of a sexual relationship require ongoing discussions. Set dates on your calendar to spend time with your teen in a relaxed setting to keep this dialogue going. Too much information at one time will be unpleasant for both of you. Build happy memories from these times together through sensitivity and planning.
- Communicate to your teen that you always have time to talk to them about anything they are feeling and that you are on their team.
Something to consider
What are the important concepts about a healthy sexual relationship
that you want to communicate to your young teen and how do you plan to do that?
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