Parents Role in Teenage Sexual Education

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Being a parent is one of the biggest joys that a person can have, but as your child develops and matures so do the challenges you face as a parent. The adolescent years for teenagers are filled with numerous challenges, the biggest possibly being their sexual development/education and the effect it will play in their lives. A teen usually begins learning about sexuality at home where their parents will have a number of opportunities to discuss their sexual development and a number of other issues that they will face. For many parents sex is a topic they’d rather avoid due to their own anxiety and embarrassment with the subject; however parents must be aware this could be a mistake that could significantly affect your teen’s future. With all the outside influences that effect teenagers decisions such as friends, school, books and various media sources if parents aren’t stepping in to guide their teens sexual development someone else maybe doing the job for them.

Parents often times have a hard time believing that their teen may be contemplating a sexual experience and chose not to raise the issue. But studies show that often time’s parents already know their child is sexually active based on changes in behavior or patterns, so why avoid the opportunity to positively impact their sexual behavior? For most parents they are simply not comfortable openly discussing the topic and this can leave teens with a void and chance to be influenced from negative outside sources. When most parents were growing up their parents may have avoided the conversations so they may not know how to properly introduce the topic with their teens, but today media plays a much larger role in our lives then previous generations and with the overwhelming amount of sex displayed to teens through media sources parents must not only keep the communication lines open, but step outside of their comfort zone and educate their teens on this critical issue.

For parents who do communication with their kids about sexuality to an extent it reflects their larger relationship with their teen (Johnson). But if a parent is unable to express their opinions to their teen about general views than a conversation on sex is probably not going to happen. For parents who have open communication with their teen they will be more likely to approach them with questions they have and this will ensure information received reflects the values of their parents. While gathering the courage to have the conversation about sex with your child may take time, finding availability in a parent’s busy schedule is a new concern to deal with. As American work hours increase the time spent at home decreases and as a result by the time parents reach home they tend to be mentally exhausted and are probably not able to engage in a conversation of this nature with their teen. With parents time occupied this leads teens to alternative sources for information regarding their questions concerning sexuality, these other sources typically include media sources and friends. With the easy access to a multitude of media sources parents must stay on top of what teenagers are looking at, reports indicate that teens that see and hear a lot about sex in the media may be more than twice as likely to have early sexual intercourse as those who are rarely exposed to sexual content (Warner). This shows the effect that media sources have on teens and why parents must be more motivated to get involved in their teens life.

The important role the media plays in teenager’s lives may not be as evident to parents but it influences teen’s music, clothing, and sexual curiosity. The fact that media sources typically only portrays sexual activity as a risk free activity creates a false impression to teens and can be very dangerous if this is a teens sole source of information. Published studies indicate films, television shows, music, and magazines portray sex between unmarried couples as normal activity....
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