Becoming sexually active is part of adulthood. However, there are consequences to sex. Some of the most obvious of these are the possibility of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. As a parent one of the things you need to talk to your kids about with sex, are the consequences of sex. The following are things you need to discuss, and concerns that need to be addressed relating to the consequences of sex.
First and foremost: talk to your child about the facts.
Too many adolescents feel that they are not at risk when having sex. This is mostly in part due to the fact that they have created stereotypes in their heads about who gets STDs and who is at risk for pregnancy, and they feel they do not fit those stereotypes. In addition to that, many teens feel they are not at risk because they have a sense of superiority or untouchability. As a parent, you need to point out that they are not untouchable, but the STDs and the consequences of sex can affect anyone, and do affect many who practice sexual activity. The statistics do change regularly, however, in the United States 25% of people engaging in sexual intercourse contract an STD. The risk goes up as the number of partners you have go up and if you do not practice safe, protected, sex. Be sure to explain the faultiness of birth control, especially things like condoms. Help them understand that someone they know probably was born as a result of a malfunction with birth control. People get pregnant on the pill. People get pregnant when using condoms. Anyone having sex, no matter what contraceptive they use, is still at risk for pregnancy.
Second: talk to your child about what happens if they do suffer one of the consequences of sex.
Start with sexually transmitted diseases. Talk to them about the most common sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, syphilis, etc. Discuss what it means to have a sexually transmitted disease. Discuss their treatment options. And most importantly, discusse the symptoms and discomfort they will feel if they have or contract, an STD.
Next, talk to them about pregnancy. If your child is a girl and they get pregnant, they are faced with two choices. Choice number one is abortion. Choice number two is to have the baby. Both choices come with the emotional and physical consequences. With these two choices, there are many other consequences. For example, should a girl choose to abort her baby she may feel an emotional burden of guilt, and that could last for many many years. Should she choose to keep the baby, she then must decide whether to put up for adoption, or raise the baby herself. For some this may be an easy decision, for others it is very difficult; for some this decision will be made with no regrets, for others, the regrets last for years. In addition to the baby itself, comes the physical changes your body undergoes when pregnant. She may have to stop doing sports, drop out of school because she can’t keep up with the work due to morning sickness, suffer pains and aches she is not ready for. For some, pregnancy is easy. For most it comes with lots of challenges. If your child is the boy who gets someone pregnant, he is also faced with many decisions such as what role he will play in the baby’s life, whether or not to marry the girl, support the baby, pay for the abortion etc. For most teens having a baby is just not practical. Pregnancy means drastic changes in lifestyle, whether you’re the boy or the girl.
Third: talk to your child about the lack of consequences should they choose to not engage in sex.
Sometimes the consequences are not enough to help your child understand the risks of having sex. So in addition to talking to them about STDs and pregnancy, talk to them about the freedom and enjoyment of youth they can experience without the burdens of those consequences being carried around. Help them understand that if they are not engaging in sex those consequences aren’t even an option and thus life can be easier.