There are a lot of factors that go into a teen deciding to becoming sexually active or not.
Everything from peer pressure to social media, to their religious backgrounds, but what may surprise a lot of parents is that they may have the strongest influence of all. Many parents may believe that their kids are “tuning” them out when they sit down to have the birds and the bees convo, but according to The National Campaign to Prevent Pregnancy (NCPTP) that is just not the case. In their recent study, nearly 40% of teens pointed towards their parents as the number one influence on their sexual behavior. Parents rank in the top 2 for more teens than that, and the younger the child, the stronger parental influence! So the short answer is, THEY ARE LISTENING.
The question of “WHEN” to have these discussions always arises, and the short answer is- it’s never a one-time talk. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where your kids feel comfortable coming to you to ask questions on any relationship, developmental, or personal topic from the moment they are old enough to understand.
Both parents need to be open and honest, and do their best to keep these lines of communication open, even though the most fearless parents often become tongue-tied with these challenging topics. One of the most important things TPP instructors have heard from kids is that if children feel as though they will be punished for their curiosity, or honest questions about sex and relationships, parents can kiss the opportunity to talk goodbye. Kids need to feel safe in talking to their parents about anything.
Learn more about societal influences in the Digital World section of our website and check out how TPP Programs navigate sensitive topics and questions.