Talking About Sex is A Lot Like Talking About Drugs
Awkward? Probably. Important? You Bet!
When teens drink it’s difficult for them to
Hello Fellow Parents & Caregivers,
I’m Lisa Frederiksen, researcher, writer, speaker and consultant — and proud mom of two young adults.
Today, let’s talk about sex. You might not want to think so, but sex, drugs and alcohol are linked in several ways for today’s teenagers.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, among 15-17 year olds, 51% say that they are personally concerned that they might “do more” sexually than they planned to because they were drinking or using drugs.
Teen sex, drugs and alcohol are often connected because developmentally, teens are at a time in their lives when they take risks. How are they linked?
* Teens drink or take drugs to feel less nervous about sex.
* Teens may engage in risky sexual behaviors while high or drunk — exposing them to risk of pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases.
When teens use drugs or drink alcohol their thought process is affected so it’s difficult for them to think straight and make healthy, smart decisions. I have heard many stories first-hand while researching my books where a young person’s life has been completely undone by unwanted, unplanned and/or unprotected sexual encounters — often involving drugs and alcohol.
What Parents Can Do
It’s normal to feel uneasy about talking to your teen about sex, drugs and alcohol. (I know I certainly did.) Here are 10 tips that may help you:
1. Talk early and talk often about sex. “Teens are thinking about sex from early adolescence and they’re very nervous about it,” explains Elizabeth Schroeder, EdD, MSW, Executive Director, Answer, a national sexuality education organization based at Rutgers University. “They get a lot of misinformation about sex and what it’s supposed to be like. And as a result they think that if they take drugs, if they drink, that’s going to make them feel less nervous.”
Take this quiz to sharpen your talking skills.
2. Take a moment. What if your teen asks a question that shocks you? Dr. Schroeder suggests saying, “‘You know, that’s a great question.’ or ‘I gotta tell you, I’m not sure if you’re being serious right now but I need a minute.’” Then regain your composure and return to the conversation.
3. Be the source of accurate information. Beyond many school health classes, teens have lots of questions about drugs, pregnancy, condoms, abstinence and oral sex.
4. Explain the consequences. Since teen brains aren’t wired yet for consequential thinking and impulse control, it’s important to have frank discussions with your teens about the ramifications of unprotected sex and the importance of using condoms to prevent the spread of STDs, HIV and unwanted pregnancy. (Approximately one in four sexually active teens contracts an STD every year.)
Find out how to guide your child toward healthy risks instead of dangerous ones.
*** Read all 10 Tips for talking with your teen about sex, drugs and alcohol. ***
So, the the main message is when it comes to sex, drugs and drinking? Start talking, keep talking and talk some more. You want to reinforce healthy messages and values and help your teens develop the skills that they need to avoid unhealthy and unsafe situations. And more importantly, you want to be the one they come to for answers.
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As 2 Cyber-Dads practicing CyberParenting In The CyberHood… The CHW Partners Dave -n- Bill ask that you please take the time to build your relationships with each of your children, so when they become teens and young adults you can talk to them about Sex and Drugs before they make bad choices and have lifelong consequences!
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