As parents, when we went through the teen years, the world was a bit more simple. It might be a mental and emotional stretch, but if we take a moment to remember what it was like, going through puberty and adolescence, we probably don’t have too terrible of memories. The arrival of oily skin and acne. Rollercoaster moods that swung us from angst to exuberance to depression to aggression. Voracious appetite – or none. Legs that tortured us from too-rapid growth. Immense identity adjustments to an awkward body growing in unexpected places and leaking at unexpected times.
And, in the midst of that confusion and embarrassment, the personal changes were multiplied by radical transformations throughout our peer group. Puberty kicked in with its first fluttering’s of mysterious, magnetic attractions toward others. We experienced the draw of “young love” – relationships and romance, sexual interests and perhaps even mild forms of seduction. Signs of affection became increasingly more common, whether in the open or clandestinely. Some peers retained their sexual innocence, while others became immersed and perhaps all too practiced.
Back then, what were the worst sexual mishaps we heard about? For instance, some guys getting caught with a porn magazine in their locker at school, or a cluster of friends talking up their wild dreams about spring break. Or were they maybe something with potentially more severe repercussions? Like someone we knew secretly going to a free clinic to get checked for sexually transmitted infections. Or a girl who got pregnant and decided to drop out of school and keep her baby.
Now, here we are, parents of pre-teens or teens ourselves. The dynamics of puberty are going to be pretty much the same for our children, but the social scene related to teen sexual activity has shifted dramatically! It’s more unsure and unsafe – not merely because teens aren’t as naïve about sexuality, given their constant exposure to it in various media. But because the digital revolution has amped up the realities of risk.
Our own children are among the earliest generations in navigating global-digital domains with the ubiquitous presence of the internet, smart phones, and a wide range of sexually saturated media. They are pioneers in this radical new world that holds more intense temptations and consequences – and even crimes – related to teen sexuality than we could ever have anticipated.
Everyone might not totally agree on the solution to the sexual world our teens are living in, yet, we are presented with a need to parent well in the midst of it. So, how do we navigate through this era? In the heat of passion, our teens rarely think about the serious ramifications of their decision to engage in sexual activity. Couple that with the driving search for approval from peers and the incredible social pressure of bullying, and you have an age-old formula for difficulties. But amplify all of that with the emerging digital potential for universal and permanent exposure of humiliating personal details and photos, along with scathing opinions and taunts in social media, and we do find ourselves living in a whole new world.
Yes, the topic of teen sexuality is personal. And, yes, the right of a parent to parent how they see fit is also personal. Some of us have seen firsthand how lives can be drastically affected by a few moments of sexual pleasure and others truly don’t feel there is an issue or a reason to be concerned. But there are questions, concerns, and potential consequences related to this topic and as parents, we need constructive ideas on how to address it.
So, what is the purpose of these parent trainings? To simply equip the parents that desire to be equipped and are looking for ideas on how to counter today’s sex-saturated culture and address the realities that are relevant today. The main goals are to: inform the parents of current, important facts pertaining to teen sexual activity, remove barriers that keep parents from discussing the importance of healthy sexual boundaries, self-respect, and respect for others, and to equip parents with relevant, creative concepts and tools to address this topic within their own home environment.
Does a training like this sound beneficial? What type of environments and parent groups would benefit from a training like this?
|How Far Is Too Far?||Tuesday Talk-The Pregnancy Test is Positive|
|How Far Is Too Far?|
|Tuesday Talk-The Pregnancy Test is Positive|