Ask Linda Anything!
Why do you think one if four teenage girls in the U.S. has an STD?
Submitted By Anonymous
I believe there are a combination of factors. One of the main reasons I think is pop culture keeps bombarding our teens with all kinds of scripted and reality shows promoting casual sex and we parents are exhausted trying to manage their exposure to it on TV, Internet, Ipods and cell phones. I think many of us parents are throwing our hands up because it’s too hard to fight the part of technology that is undermining our values and frankly, we’re tired.
Two parents working, single parents trying to keep their head above water, divorced parents shuffling kids back and forth to each other are just some problems that make our kids more vulnerable than ever in these times.
Is it that there is not enough ad campaigns or classes in school about safe sex or is it we parents are relaxing our own values, not taking enough control and allowing our children’s peers to become increasingly more important to them than their own families.
If I compare myself to my parents, I definitely am guilty of the above. My kids would call me a strict mother but not as strict as my own parents. My folks had tight controls on us; not that it always worked but there was no gray area of right and wrong and I have to say that my four siblings are all good, caring people and quite well adjusted adults.
It is obvious we need to have tighter controls on our children even before they hit the teen years and talk, talk, talk with them constantly. I think it’s really important to keep TV to a minimum while their growing up and control the channels they can watch. I also think eating one meal a day as a family to be able to talk to them is critical. During the week make sure they focus on homework, music, sports or other lessons during the week. We need be on top of their social life on weekends, and especially we have to have Internet control. For the most part, I did this as “resident drill sergeant” and I knew which decision were going to cause another battle that I was too exhausted to have but I had the battle anyway. I really believe these boundaries helped my kids develop a healthy self esteem to be their own person in the face of peer pressure.
If we consider that our teens are teens for only 7 years of a life that could span 90, than I think we are going to have to suck it up and fight harder for our rights as their parents. We’re going to have to listen to them complain more and “hate us” sometimes when we give them an earlier curfew, ban them from a certain concert or tell them we won’t allow a coed sleepover at our house.
We’re going to have to have continuous discussions that we all don’t like because there is actually scientific proof that communicating with your child on a regular basis about sexual activity at their age reduces premarital sex, pregnancy and STDs. BTW, I didn’t do this as much as I should have in the past but I am doing it now!
We’re going to have to assume that even though our children are wonderful because they are ours, as teens, they are sneaky sometimes and push their boundaries just like we did at their age. It’s just that the stakes are a lot higher now.
So let’s reign in our teens and when we run into each other at the grocery store, at a school event or the dry cleaners, let’s not apologize for looking so tired, let’s congratulate each other for sticking to our guns no matter how much our teens torture us and feel good about it!
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