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If parents want to reduce the likelihood that their teens are having sex, they should help arrange for them to stay busy with academics and after-school activities under adult supervision.Make sure your kids know that teenage sex isn’t as widespread as they think, Brown says.We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.Lynn Ponton, University of California San Francisco professor of adolescent psychiatry and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk, and Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and education projects manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, both agree: Parents should set the stage for safe dating long before their child becomes a teen.Model Healthy Relationships Being a good role model to our kids as we interact with our spouses and others is the first step toward ensuring they’ll develop healthy connections as teens and adults, Ponton and Brown say.Enforcing rigid gender stereotypes or engaging in harmful relations ourselves can set our kids up for relationship woes later on.In my family, there’s an old saying that the teenagers will always come home safe and sound and on time from a date because they know daddy’s waiting on the front porch with a shotgun.While meant as a joke, the story says something about parents’ age-old concerns for their teens when they begin to date.
Besides biology, bring up some of the risks and moral considerations.
“America has the highest rate of date rape in the world, and the statistics are very high among teens and young adults.” Make sure they know never to meet someone alone that they encountered online. Come pick me up at our spot down the street.” Talk Safe Sex When your teen starts dating, it’s time to discuss specific safe sex methods. When a sexual encounter comes up, Brown says parents can ask, “Where was the talk about protection?
Come up with a code that they can text or tell you over the phone anytime they’re out. I wonder if the talk about the condom happened behind the scenes.” When your teen is in a serious relationship, talk to both teens if possible, and make sure they realize the gravity of sexual intimacy, Brown says.
“Even the word ‘rules’ tends to lead to a struggle with teenagers,” says Ponton, who has two children and two step-children, now all in their 20s.
“A more successful approach comes from mutually agreed-upon guidelines.” Discuss curfew, group and private dating, whether you want to meet their date first and how they’ll inform you of their welfare and whereabouts while they’re out.