Sexual Responsibility For Teens
by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families
Training your kids about sexual responsibility isn't as hard as you might think. The trick is to start teaching this early. That is what I did with my daughter. We were sitting on the front deck of our home one morning when she was 3 years old. I saw a single Mom I knew walking along the street with a baby in a stroller. I said to my daughter, "Look! There is Miss Jamieson with her little baby girl. The baby has a Mommy, but it is very sad that she has no Daddy living at her house."
As time went by my husband and I told our kids the value of children having both a Mommy and a Daddy. As the kids became pre-teens, we talked to them at various times about 'stranger danger' as well as about our core family value of respect and what this meant regarding sexual responsibility. We talked about the importance of respecting themselves enough to keep their bodies pure for their life partner and also for the importance of protecting their reputations and those of others. We told them which parts of the body were acceptable to touch and what were not during the dating period.
For our family, the rule was that either a boy or girl should not be touched anywhere beneath a bathing suit line. We explained that if anyone tried to touch either our son or daughter inappropriately or suggest activities that made them feel uncomfortable, they should refuse immediately, tell the person they were being disrespectful, and be more cautious around that person thereafter.
We told our son that if he touched a girl in the places we had described as 'off limits', then he was being disrespectful to her, and this was unacceptable behavior. We told them both about not getting into situations where their feelings might cloud their sense of good judgement. We told them not to be alone, out of sight with their boy/girlfriend (e.g. going into their bedroom with a friend of the opposite sex and closing the door) for three reasons.
- a) It reduces temptation to participate in inappropriate actions.
- b) It prevents reputations being tarnished by what it may look like to others.
- c) It protects them from being accused of innapropriate activity.
Our kids knew exactly what our family values and expectations were. We didn't have to drum it into them and worry every time they went out with friends.
When they did get married, they had saved themselves for their life partners. We didn't have to congratulate them as if it were some miracle. It was an expectation they fulfilled out of respect for themselves, for us, and for their spouses.
We need to prepare our kids for temptations they are likely to be exposed to, and tell them how to deal with them. If you explain clearly what sexual responsibility looks like, and why your kids should keep within the set boundaries, you will find that they will follow family expectations whether you are there or not.
You are teaching your kids to make informed choices. Sexual urges are normal. Kids just need to know how to manage them. If unprepared, the emotion that hormonal changes bring may overcome them. Sexual activity and responsibility is a choice. Training kids is a major parental responsibility and it should not be left to the schools, their friends or others to teach your kids. Naivity is a dangerous state that can lead to your child being victimized or taken advantage of. I know you don't want that for your child.
If you feel as though your own past has made you a poor role model for your kids on this subject, then take responsibility now. Tell them what you wished you had known before so they don't make decisions that you regretted. Be clear. Stand strong. Create high expectations for your kids. Protect them for their own sakes. They will respect you for it.
If you have any comments or questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to also check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org and our blog site at www.forefrontfamilies.blogspot.com for further assistance.