In the name of keeping their teens ‘safe’, many parents do precisely the opposite as they enable sexual exploits in their own homes. Most parents would not have considered allowing their teen have a boyfriend or girlfriend stay over 20 years ago, but it appears that the times have changed significantly, and this is becoming the ‘norm’.
Some of the reasons cited by parents who allow sexual sleepovers include:
- keeping teens safe
- knowing where they are
- being able to communicate, especially about contraception
- greater trust in the parent
- feeling of responsibility in the teen
Certainly, allowing your teen to engage in sexual exploits under your roof with their girlfriend or boyfriend of the time will keep you in the loop about where they are and who they are with. Your teen may even speak to you more candidly – but this isn’t a given.
But the overall thinking here is flawed. By giving teens what we think they want, we are not giving them what they need.
The safe-sex lie is still being perpetrated today, and parents have brought it, much to Family Planning and their cohort’s joy! There is this thinking in the community, which seems to be becoming more prevalent, that if you use a condom, or some other form of contraception, and if all parties involved “consent” then you are ‘safe’.
A number of parents who want to keep their children ‘safe’ make sure their teens (especially boys) have condoms available to them. By doing so they are creating a ticking time bomb.
These parents might be shocked to know that according to the New Zealand Abortion Supervisory Report, 46% of women who had an abortion in the year ended 2012, had been using contraception at the time they became pregnant. 60% of those were using condoms!
Contrary to popular belief, condoms are not perfect at preventing the spread of STDs. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledge this in their fact sheet on Condom Effectiveness where they state that “consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of STD transmission.”
“The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),” the CDC says “are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”
Other “contraceptive” methods, especially hormonal methods, wreak havoc with a women’s bodies. Besides numerous side effects, which range from the uncomfortable (e.g. weight gain) to the downright scary (e.g. death), the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill is classed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a Class 1 carcinogen.
Why would we want to expose our young women to that? Hardly safe.
Will your teen thank you for allowing them to do as they please under your roof years down the track when they have contracted an STD (or several); had an abortion; become a single parent; had multiple sexual partners; found themselves infertile?
Rather than giving in to the premise that “they’re going to do anyway”, parents need to raise the bar. Young people need high expectations of them – they need to know that they are actually capable of controlling their sexual urges and will do so if they are encouraged and given good reasons. We as a society need to stop thinking that young people are animals without any self-control. We also need to set the boundaries and give them a reason to put their energies into other pursuits such as sports and studies and community service.
We need to rebuild a marriage culture that values a life-long commitment of one man and one woman for the benefit of children. Marriage must be seen by all in society as integral to the stability of our communities so that young people aspire and commit to it. Girls in particular dream of the stability of marriage, but somewhere along the way the dream gets lost. We need to encourage that dream!
A great paradigm shift is needed in society. It can be done, one family at a time; one community at a time. Let’s take up the challenge and keep our youth truly safe!