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Helping your teen stay a teen

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By Deanna Fields

Submitted by the Henry County CARE Team

“Everybody’s doing it!” is probably the typical thought running through a teen’s mind these days. When in fact, they should be thinking such thoughts as, “How can I do well in class,” or “Where am I going to go to college.” Everywhere we look more and more teens are having sex.  They want to do it because they think they have found the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend; their friends are doing it, or they think sex makes them more grown up.  They do not think about the flip side, such as getting pregnant or getting a sexually transmitted disease. Most of the time, parents have no idea their teens are having sex until it is too late.  There could be fewer surprises if parents were comfortable talking to their children about sex and vice versa.

Parents, if your teen is asking about sex, more than likely he/she is curious about it.  Don’t assume they are doing it just yet.  Teens, the first time you talk about sex, don’t wait until you have contacted an STD or gotten pregnant.  For parents, sex is a difficult topic.  The more you let your teen know it is okay to ask questions, the more you will hopefully know about your teen and what he/she is/is not doing. I’m not saying this will definitely keep them abstinent, but at least you will have the communication gate open, if your teen becomes curious and wants to talk about it.  Every parent wants his/her teen to abstain from sex.  The only way your teen is going to know that is to talk about it.

StayTeen.org is a great website for teens to visit. It talks about teen pregnancy, abstinence, dating/relationships and waiting to have sex. It may also help parents feel more comfortable talking to their teens.  Parents let your teens know the reasons to not have sex.  Let them know the facts, read the statistics.

The most important aspect is to listen to them and to be open.  Yelling at your teen for having sex or thinking about sex may only anger them or push them in to doing it sooner. Your teen will not feel so comfortable talking to you about their life if they feel they will be yelled at, punished or judged.  This could lead to serious problems.  By being a good listener, you will find out a lot about your teenager.

Being a good listener to your kids is very important.  Take it from me, a step parent of two teenagers.  My name is DeAnna Fields, I worked with children and teens as a school based therapist for 5 years.  I received my Bachelor’s of Arts Degree and my Master’s of Education Degree at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia.  I have had a lot of experience talking to teens in school, as well as my own step-children about this subject.  We all know what it is like having pressure put on us to have sex.  The most important part of that is to know how to deal with that pressure and how to say no.  So parents, help your teen stay a teen, talk to them about sex.  Remember, just because they are asking about sex does not mean they are doing it.

*Ms. Fields is currently the Adult Drug Court Program Supervisor for Oldham County.