While all parents have to worry about their children going down the wrong path and getting involved in the use of drugs and alcohol, only about 50 percent of parents have to worry about their child getting pregnant at a young age. The thought of your little girl becoming a mother before she even has the chance to finish high school is a reasonable fear. The good news, however, is that there are steps you can take as a parent to help your child avoid having to grow up too fast by becoming a parent herself. Below you can find some constructive ways to parent your child that can hopefully prolong the process of your daughter have a son or daughter or her own.
Be clear about sexual values and attitudes in your home
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open when it concerned your child’s forming opinions on sex and love. If you want to make sure the conversation is informative and helpful, you should consider knowing the answers to the following questions:
How do you personally feel about teens who are your child’s age being sexually active?
How do you personally feel about teens who are your child’s age becoming parents?
Who should be setting the sexual limits in a relationship? And how should this be done?
Were you sexually active when you were a teenager? Looking back, how do you feel about it now?
What are your feelings about abstinence?
What are your opinions on teenagers using contraceptives?
Answering these questions for yourself before speaking with your child will absolutely help you in communicating your message in a clear manner. While it may be easier to leave yourself out of the equation entirely, teenagers can smell hypocrisy a mile away, which means you need to be coming from a place of understanding, rather than judgement.
Speak with your child early and often about both love and sex
It is imperative that you are the one who begins the conversation. After all, no teenager is dying to talk to their parent about sex. Be honest and open and be sure to listen carefully to what your child already feels about the subject of sex. The conversation should be two-sided, allowing for your teenager to give their opinion and ask questions.
We want to be clear, talking to your child about sex is not going to encourage them to have it. This is one of the main fears we hear from parents. The truth is, sex exists whether you talk to your kid about it or not. Avoiding the subject is much more likely to lead to your teenager becoming sexually active than giving them much-needed information on the subject ever would. Additionally, letting your child know that she can talk to you about anything she is worried or thinking about is going to improve your relationship with her in general. Some of the questions your child might have for you may include:
How will I know if I’m in love?
Will sex bring me closer to my boyfriend?
How will I know if I’m ready to have sex?
How can I tell my boyfriend that I don’t want to have sex without losing him?
How do contraceptives work?
Can you get pregnant the first time you have sex?
Monitor your child’s activities
If your child is exhibiting behaviors that make you suspect that they may be having sex, you may want to interfere. What we mean by this is that you might want to consider monitoring your teenager’s activities more closely than you have in the past. Try to encourage your child to hang out with friends that you know come from a family that holds the same values that you do as well.
Get your child excited about other aspects of growing up besides dating
One of the most exciting parts of getting older is the prospect of dating. We all know this, we were teenagers once. However, placing an emphasis on other aspects of life will help to remove the importance of dating to a degree. Encourage your child to get involved in afterschool activities, to take up new hobbies and to spend more time with their family.
Place an emphasis on the importance of education
One of the most important things you can get your child to focus on other than dating is their education. Help your teen to set real and meaningful goals for their future. This will give them something to work towards. It is also a deterrent from making decisions that could potentially threaten achieving the goals they are working so hard for,
Contact Fire Mountain if your teen is exhibiting reckless behavior
If you are worried about your child and you want to make sure that she is not going down the wrong path, we encourage you to reach out to us at Fire Mountain Programs. We provide guidance through teen counseling and our other programs. Call today to learn more about our Colorado residential treatment center.