In the chapter about sex ( of ‘When Good Kids Do Bad Things‘) you speak positively that no matter what parents’ goals are when it comes to sexual activity, they are achievable. How can you be so positive about this sensitive topic?
Because I also said, doing so would be extremely hard. Moreover, I am not certain any modern parent living in the West can do everything that needs doing to ensure their beloved son or daughter follow the parents desired path, particularly when nature has a different agenda. Interestingly enough, the more liberal your views, the more likely your child will deviate somewhat from your teachings.
Still parental views can be imposed and followed. This is done in many fundamentalist religious groups where chastity before marriage is a must. Moreover, those same groups have little open same sex love. Those attracted to the same sex, suffer to be sure, but given the conditions I discuss below, parental and cultural edicts are followed. Here are the strategies these groups employ.
- Clearly defined rules of what is accepted and what is not acceptable behavior.
- A surrounding culture, including leaders, preachers, teachers, friends, family members and media who abide by all the rules.
- Separation of the two sexes before marriage, coupled with careful chaperoning as marriage approaches. In some cultures, however, bride and groom only meet on their wedding day.
- Early marriages, often arranged.
- Severe public punishment for those who violate the rules.
Not my way, probably not yours. My way with my sons and my foster children was to promote responsible sex. I discussed those ideas in an earlier blog post.
WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?
As I have noted elsewhere on my blog, or in comments on other people’s blogs, as well as in the book, promote responsible sex. By that I mean the following:
- Safe sex is planned sex. Getting swept away or sweeping someone off their feet is irresponsible sex, a cop out and the most over-used excuse for not staying in control of your emotions or your body. Lust pushes for immediate release; love can wait, love can plan. Lusty teenagers served nature’s purpose of keeping the population growing during the time when most people died before turning 3o and most babies died in infancy. Nature hasn’t noticed yet that people are living longer and there are many worries about the world becoming over populated.
- Safe sex is mutually agreed upon by both parties. No lies, no false promises, no threats, no “If you love me” pushing.
- Safe sex does not produce babies that cannot be cared for. If you are old enough to have sex, you are old enough to get reliable advice about contraception and protection from disease before you have sex. That is planning to have sex.
- If you believe in abstinence until you are married, you must take steps to keep temptation at bay. Many leap into marriage to have sex. Doesn’t work out for many.
I also made it clear that I felt most teenagers were not ready to have intercourse. Nature pushes them and the media pushes them, but I ran into very few, particularly girls, who were happy about being sexually active in their teens. The younger the child, the more unhappiness seemed to attended “going all the way” as we called it when I was growing up. In my day heavy petting was okay and that often taught us about foreplay and the pleasures of foreplay. I worry now about what I hear happens among some groups of teens.
Sexual pleasures are a great gift; and the confusion and pulls from the extremists on either side make life very complicated for our young people.
That said, I think parents in general are doing a better job than ever in this area. I know my mother’s idea of the sex talk was to give me a book she had been given. It had been written before she got married. It was very technical but full of miss-information and after reading in it that masturbation was the main cause of insanity, I read no further.
So my hard core advice, know your goals, talk about sex early and without embassament or angst, but also with an awareness of age and stage; promote your values, pray to the higher power of your choice and stand by your child if he or she comes to you with problems.