Tuesday Talk: To direct or not to direct?

Sex education in the public schools for the last 20 years has been a bit of a controversy and at times a national disaster.  There are two thoughts: should we use a directive approach or a non-directive approach?

A non-directive approach states there are a lot of options and our teens need to be able to choose which option is best for them in regards to their sexual health.  This model assumes teens have adult decision making ability that is actually developmentally out of their reach.  When a teen is put in this type of situation, stress and confusion usually occur.  The non-directive approach doesn’t point out what is right or wrong, good or bad, responsible or irresponsible.  Instead, all the choices are presented and the teen is pressured to dance around all of the options, hoping to land on one that somehow works out okay.

The directive approach to sex education is different. Clear standards are set and expectations are communicated.  The goal is whole-person sexual health.  Teens are directed to the best choice rather than just given a hodgepodge of options. They are taught healthy verses unhealthy. Consequences are discussed based on behavior choices to ensure the teens understand the impact of their sexual choices. The directive approach is reality based to let teens process through the concept of -healthy choices lead to benefits and unhealthy choices lead to consequences.

Now, as you read this, you might be saying “Well that makes a ton of sense”.  But, the concern is, we live in a culture that is consistently changing the previously accepted cultural norms and such guidelines, standards, and values are no longer the foundation for many of the homes within our community. In fact, schools and parents that choose to implement a directive approach are often labeled as forcing religion or using fear to make their point.

So, let’s practically consider our options, without debating between a directive or non-directive approach.

Do we want our teen sons and daughters to go off to college and enter into their adult stage of life with consequences, emotional baggage, regret, negative memories, etc? I know such negative things are not a guarantee, but they are highly likely if sexual activity is part of the teen years.


Do we want our teens to experience freedom as they transition into the adult stage of life? Freedom to become who they are supposed to be and experience all that is planned for them and their future.

See, parents, these questions, conversations, debates, etc. will never go away:  birth control or no birth control, comprehensive sex or evidence based sex ed , health teachers or school counselors, middle school or high school, science class or health class, curriculum or experts in the field, day cares on campus or alternate schools, required or opt out option, parent meetings or parental notice, county leaders select the material or a sex advisory committee votes on the material, boys and girls together or boys and girls are split, STI’s are shown visually or STI’s are only presented lecture style, abortion is acknowledged as an options or all of the options are ignored, sexual activity is ok as long as it’s stated that sexual intercourse is not ok …

Can you tell I’ve been doing this for a while? (only 23 years)

Here’s the deal! The most significant factor in cutting high-risk behavior across the board is parent-teen connectedness and clear expectations being communicated over a sustained period of time. No one knows your son or daughter like you do. No one can communicate your standards and values like you can.

So, what if you decided today that you are the expert? What it you addressed this topic with intention in your home?

I’m just saying, what if?  

Tuesday Talk: When one moment outwieghs what could have been. How Far Is Too Far?
Tuesday Talk: When one moment outwieghs what could have been.
How Far Is Too Far?