Teenage sex education
Although most parents don’t want to believe it, teenagers do have sex and without being armed with a sound sex education knowledge, this behaviour can result in unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and even HIV.
While many will agree that sex education helps, there is a heated debate on which avenue to take. Some propose encouraging an abstinence approach, while others call for the comprehensive approach. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The abstinence-based approach teaches teenagers to refrain from sex intercourse until they get married or are in a long-term relationship.
The comprehensive method teaches young adults the importance of delaying sexual intercourse until they are ready. This means it is vitally important to arm them with the knowledge about how to protect themselves, should they engage in sexual activities.
While the abstinence system may seem too conservative, some perceive the comprehensive system as too radical. A compromise is to integrate the two and come up with the abstinence plus system, which offers a pyramid-like solution. The advice here is that abstinence is the safest choice, but if your teenager is going to have sex then make sure it is safe by using condoms and other contraceptives.
It is advisable for parents to give their children information that is not only age-appropriate, but that it is also accurate and non-judgmental. Parents need to acknowledge that their teenagers will become sexually active but ideally should encourage abstinence until their teenager feels ready.
The important thing is to be truthful about sex, rather than trying to scare them. Make sure the information you give is factual and scientific, to enable them to negotiate safer and responsible sexual relationships, so educate yourself first to make sure you give your child the best information.
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