I am a mom of two little kids. Their well-being is of utmost importance to me. Right now their well-being is basic stuff -- making sure they are fed properly and on time, keeping them away from dangerous (and disgusting) items (like trash cans), and teaching them basic (and I mean basic) etiquette. They are under two, you know. At the same time, I am constantly thinking about issues that will arise eventually -- sooner than I expect, I imagine. One of these issues is sex.
It would be foolish for me to think my kids will abstain from sex primarily because I told them to. Once they hit puberty, they will experience new and unfamiliar feelings. It is my job to explain these feelings before they hit puberty so they can make informed (and hopefully righteous) decisions when the time comes.
During my educational career, I was given the opportunity to publish a peer-reviewed manuscript. Incidentally, the topic I chose was how to help teens avoid risky behaviors. I spent hours poring over the recent literature on teen sex. I was anxious to provide parents with a full-proof bullet-list on what they can do to insure their teens against immorality. I found, though, this was impossible. There is no fool-proof way. There are, however, a few tips parents can implement into their family.
- Develop an open and caring relationship with your children before they hit the teenager years. Teens who feel comfortable talking with their parents about sex are more open to their parents' beliefs regarding sex.
- Talk about sex. Remember this: your kids will hear about sex sooner rather than later. It is much better that they hear about it from you than from TV or their peers on the playground.
- Strengthen Spirituality. Religious youth are more likely to avoid immoral behavior than non-religious youth. However, this is only the case if the youth have internalized their spirituality. To help your child internalize religious values, make sure to hold regular family scripture study and prayer, be an example of those values, and encourage your child to develop their own spirituality.
Top & Chadwick, Raising Righteous Children in a Wicked World
Top & Chadwick, Helping Teens Stay Strong
Turner, Helping Teens Avoid Risky Behaviors
Making the Moments Count.