Let's look at this carefully. First of all we know the studies suggest that teens who get STDs and pregnant are feeling lost and disconnected from their family and friends. They usually are not doing well in academics. Teens who delay sex until their late teens or beyond usually have two parent households and have more parent supervision. They are doing their homework and performing better in their classes. No girl under the age of eighteen benefits from having sex (most likely boys do not either). Girls approach relationships much differently then boys. They have different concepts of care taking, nurturing, and will delay their own interests to attend to the boy. This may develop into going along with the boy, doing what he wants to do, all for the sake of securing the relationship. The problem with this is since they begin to focus on the boy their own goals get side tracked. Girls are also responsible for birth control, protecting themselves from STD's and the consequences of having sex. Until the age of 21 the frontal cortex is not fully developed. This means the part of the brain that helps you reason, control impulses, as well as understand consequences in not fully working. How can you possibly attend to all of the possible consequences of having sex without part of your brain being fully engaged? Let's not forget hormones are going up and down all the time throughout adolescents. You can understand how difficult this becomes.
What's a parent to do?
1. As a parent this is an opportunity for you. Teach your girls about SEX. Set dates with her or go for a walk. Begin by listening to her. Talk about celebrities. Talk about your feelings in regards to sex. You want your daughter to know she can come to you any time. You want her to understand that the most important issue is her health, and her goals in life.
2. Realize that no school will teach your daughter as well as you do. You can talkabout values, your own morals, and the importance of establishing a friendship.You can provide the knowledge of birth control, STD's and keeping her bodyhealthy. Your teaching can be ongoing whereas the school only spends oneafternoon.
3. Impressupon her the importance of being the one in charge of her body. Yes, girls do have to be more responsible for birth control, STD's, and possible pregnancy. But…there is a power in being able to say "NO". Saying I am not ready for sex at this time in my life. Most of the guys I know will respect this, and may end up feeling more enamored with her then if she had said "Yes".
4. If you don't talk to your daughter about sex, someone else will…and there counsel they may not have her best interests in mind. No one will ever love your daughter like you do. Please…begin today and open up the conversation. If you don't lecture but stay open to explore her feelings you may end up feeling much closer and she will know she can always come back to you.
5. Your child did not ask to be born. You brought her here. Stay engaged with her. Know where she is and who she is with.You taught her to ride a bike, tie her shoe, and wrap a present. Now step up tothe plate and teach her about sex.
Mary Jo Rapini is co-author of "StartTalking: a girl's guide for you and your mom about health, sex or whatever."
On the Web:
Mary Jo Rapini -- MaryJoRapini
Visit Mary Jo Rapini online on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/maryjorapini
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