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Sexual Education Begins at Home , But it Fails

On July we started reading a very interesting book by Debra W. Haffner. There is a post about How to Protect Your Children Online and this is the continuation of what we offered back then. In this opportunity, we will refer to Chapter 6, Raising Sexually Healthy Children.

Why Raising Sexually Healthy Children Is So Important?

First of all, let me tell you that I am a parent of a 12 years boy. He conceded that at age of 6 his father tried to get him into the delicate information but his parent has failed, he says. It was on Health, at school, that he learned a bit more but in a "wrong way" because he found out that the puberty video wasn't for him, it looked nasty, he recounts. Right now, I am in the responsibility to show him what was that nasty part that he didn't like or understand. And unfortunately I, like many parents/educators are in the same situation. Many times we have read and have been told, start sexual awareness at home before it is too late. We need to be 'affirming parents' as the author likes to refer to parents who are having some kind of success communicating with their sons about what most of us do not feel so comfortable about.

In her What Every 21st Century Parent Needs to Know, Haffner recommends 7 steps affirming parents should follow to raise sexually healthy kids:

1. Start educating about sexuality early - Do not repeat the frustration of our 12 yrs boy. It is hard to imagine that parents, 8 in 10 do not believe their child is sexually involved. Talk to them about contraception and the use of condoms before is too late.

2. Communicate your values - Send out clear messages. Let your child know what are the values at home and what you, as parent expect as valuable sexual behavior. If you speak openly on what it means the intercourse, child is likely not only to postpone his first encounter but have fewer partners and they will use more consistently the birth pill of the condom.

3. Set Limits for daring - The author writes that teens should be "dating no more than two grades apart." They are to pick age-appropriate partners. Adolescents coming from both Permissive and Authoritarian families are more likely to have intercourse earlier than those of Affirming families.

4. Supervise and monitor - Do not go "teen are teens" or teens go bananas. They are in an age where sexual arousal and curiosity just take them to the sexual place at any time. Avoid bedrooms with doors closed, watch the sleepovers and don't erroneously think that because they are the same sex there in anything to worry about.

5. Keep talking and then talk some more - "There is not a single research study that has found that adult-child communication about sexuality, whether it is from parents or teachers, caused teens to have sexual intercourse at early ages."

6. Guide your decision making about sex - Talking about oral sex and masturbation it is almost impossible without managing sexual pleasure and sexual response. As hard as it may seem (and it is for me) parents, and I mean both, the couple need to set common ground on not so easy questions like: When they should have sexual intercourse? Do you want them to graduate high school as a virgin? When they have to abstain from orgasm, genital caressing, oral sex? Etc.

7. Discuss the characteristics of a moral, ethical sexual relationship - It does not no matter what your spiritual or moral convictions are, it makes a difference to set and maintain sexual limits. Debra Haffner suggests 5 criteria for a moral sexual relationship: Consensual, Nonexploitative, Honest, Mutually pleasurable, and Protected against pregnacy and disease if any type of intercourse occurs.

I do understand that sexuality is a complicated topic, but we endorse what the author of this book has written, and whenever you feel like any of these points do not apply to your beliefs, rest assured that if your sons chose to have intercourse, they must be protected.

Teens do not even comprehend when they will be 'ready' both emotionally and neurologically for their first sexual experience. Parents and teachers are to guide them all that way down.

For more 21st-Century Parent advice and information, visit 21stCenturyParent.com.

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  1. Thanks Milton! Just keep trying with your son, little by little, in short "teachable moments." They are listening even when they seem not to be! You can follow me on Twitter as well @RevDebra

    Rev. Debra W. Haffner