One of the main challenges of raising teens is giving them the independence they need to learn how to become self-sufficient adults while keeping enough of a reign on them in order to prevent consequences that could affect them for their entire lives. Sexual activity is one of these areas and often gets brushed under the rug because it can be an uncomfortable or loaded topic. Parents that prefer to think that their teen is not sexually active may not bring it up or assume that if they warn their son to practice safe sex, that they are giving their permission in some way. Most teens, of course, want to keep their activity from their parents and may not ask the questions or receive the guidance they need in order to avoid bigger problems. Because studies have shown that more teens are sexually active than ever, it is important to discuss the risk factors with your son before it is too late.
Pregnancy – The risk of pregnancy is arguably one of the longest lasting and most visible side effects of unsafe sex and it has the potential to affect many lives at the same time. While abortion and adoption are a solution for some in addition to option of raising the child, there is little doubt that an unwanted teen pregnancy throws a roadblock in the development of teens that would be thrust into adulthood during an age where they should be focusing on gaining the skills they need to become productive and healthy adults.
STDs – Sexually transmitted diseases are most certainly an issue that your teen may face if he practices unsafe sex. While some diseases, like AIDS, are life threatening, others are painful and embarrassing, but manageable with modern medicine. Some cannot ever be fully cured once they are contracted. This leaves an individual having to explain his condition to every potential partner for the rest of his life, or worse, ignoring the issue and spreading the problem.
Stigma – Teens are particularly anxious to be accepted by their peers and developing a reputation or contributing to the negative reputation of someone else can be emotionally damaging. The adolescent years are particularly difficult because teens experience urges and desires that are not mature to act upon. Teaching abstinence is often a way to help keep teens from embarking early on a part of life they are not emotionally ready for.
What Should I Do To Help My Teen?
Pretending that sexual activity for your teen is not a factor is a poor solution. Even if he does not engage in it through his adolescent years, the potential is there and it is real. In such a situation, knowledge is power. Open a dialog about the temptations he may be facing, or will face, and help him determine ahead of time how he will respond. Explain to him the risks his faces if he engages in unprotected sex and make your expectation of his behavior clear. Whether or not you approve of experimentation on his part, he should be educated on how to keep himself safe.
Sundance Canyon Academy is a residential treatment center in northern Utah. We specialize in helping troubled teen boys overcome their behavioral issues through a unique and highly succcessful relationship based therapy program. Contact us today for questions or a consultation 1-866-678-2425