What Kids Need: Sexual Restraint
Kids believe that it is essential to abstain from sex, according to the Search Institute’s youth survey of nearly three-million kids. Most are willing to postpone becoming sexually active; however, in the same survey, only 36% report having this asset in their lives. Why?
I believe part of it is because parents don’t openly talk with their kids about sex–or as honestly as you can, as is developmentally appropriate. There are many resources that a parent can seek to learn the best way to approach talking about sex with their kids: books, internet parenting sites, counselors, and other adults with whom you trust. Share with your kids your values about why you feel it is important not to be sexually active. Help them to see unnamed individuals who have made other choices and how it has shaped their lives for the worse.
When we openly talk with our kids about sex, they begin to see how to start thinking about their beliefs. As parents, if we do not do this, then kids begin to shape their ideas from other kids, older and younger, with whom they associate, and then their attitudes become more challenging to develop as parents. What age is soon enough? It depends on the young person. Kids will begin asking questions way too early, way early than a frank answer my merit. But answering them at their developmentally appropriate level begins the process which may take several months or even years. Eventually, as a parent, you will know that it is just time to break the barrier to discussing it openly and share with them your values and standards.
Encourage your kids to make a commitment to themselves, and their future significant other, to abstain from having sex while they are in school. Kids find that once they have made that commitment, it frees them from sexual pressures other kids experience. It gives them a chance to enjoy their childhood and to be a kid again. If you have teenagers who are already sexually active, then encourage them to reconsider their choice and help them to understand the value in waiting until they are ready to accept the responsibilities that go along with having sex entirely.
As adults teach your kids and model appropriate ways to show affection. Things like holding hands, talking with each other while sitting quietly, or just enjoying a sunset on a beautiful evening. I challenge parents today to consider how they will approach the sex topic with their kids and begin to work out their process for unfolding the families values.
Yours for Better Parenting,