Building Relationships We Can All Be Proud Of

Wednesday, 10 December 2014


[Click Here if you missed the first part.]

Parental Responsibility

There is the need for parents to start inculcating into their teenagers these stop-and-think-first thought challenging considerations in their choices that are sexually oriented.

It is every parent’s responsibility to let their teenagers know the quantum of the leap they would be taking in the spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical aspects of their lives once they get into sex before they are ready (and very much mature) to handle those changes that comes with such a leap. Let them know that it could be so disastrous to the point of creating a stained image of sex which can affect their future relationships. And it can also be a leap into a realm of boundless sexual exploits making any person appear worthless in their own eyes and that of others.

Parents can help their children internalise these considerations anytime they are faced with sexual choices:

  • Do I really think am ready to have sex.
  • Am I totally (emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and physically) ready to do it
  • Am I ready to sacrifice my ultimate pride to another person who is not bound to me in any committing way?
  • How am I going to feel about myself and my partner?
  • If it is going to result in hurt feelings, then do I really want to go through this in order to come out hurt and disappointed?
  • If is going to be a feeling of pleasure, how long will such pleasure last? Sexual pleasures are for a fleeting moment. Teenage pregnancy is a life time pain!
  • So what are my reasons for having sex apart from the fact that others are doing it, someone says we should do it or I feel for it?
  • How will my parents feel within themselves and about me to hear I am having sex?
  • What happens to me if this one act results in a pregnancy or an STD?
  • Can I openly talk about having had sex or I will have to lie about it?
  • What does your religious organisation say on pre-marital sex?

Some guidelines to parental intervention in teenage sex education
As a parent with teenagers, do not defer the question of sex and its discussions to some distant future. Your children start snooping behind the doors of sex before you think they are ready to do that. Now is that time. Keep the door open and take the lead in the discussion. It will not be easy for your child to start. Thank God if they start though they averagely won’t. You don’t have to push them either. Do not tease them. Just find the appropriate time and talk about it.
It could be around an experience that excites the child involved. It could be in the company of their best friends or siblings. In this case it is always good for the parents to ask open questions. Look for clues from the answers and continue from there. The party in this conversation who suddenly appear tensed or detached may have something to share. Read body language. If there is nothing to conceal you will see from the genuine annoyance or curiosity that comes to everyone who is suddenly introduced to a subject they did not think could be discussed by the one trying to discuss it.
If there is something you think is being concealed, create an impression about your open-mindedness on sexual issues and then end it there. From there, look out for the party that seemed open in these interactions and find out why the other party was tensed. They might talk.
If it was just you and the child involved be tactical about it. Open up the topic some later time and see the reaction. If you feel there is something to talk about, find someone to do it once you know that child won’t talk to you. If you push till you can go no further, any other person who comes in won’t really get far.
Whatever conclusion you came to, will be the right time to talk about sex.
Unless there are some revelations that demand urgent address, start from the macro or generalised issues bothering sex and with time drag it to the micro level that sees the child involved in the middle of the subject. Parents must be very patronising and revealing, sharing their own sexual experiences, accurate enough to sound honest and edited enough to omit all graphics. This is the only way trust could be built and the channel opened.
Once the platform is set, parents should identify which of them is closer to the child involved so they take it up. Usually, it works better in the opposite direction: mum and son – dad and daughter – mapping. The only problem with this mapping is that fathers usually have an unwarranted attachment to their daughters to the point that such revelations from their daughters can hurt and affect the quality of the relationship which my turn into an apathetic or over-possessiveness.
For a father to succeed in this line he should for once be a counsellor than a father to his daughter. Mothers are usually good in this area. The reason probably due to the fact that in every society there is some form of manhood and respect-of-view ascribed to every male both by females and male counterparts.
Mum to daughter mapping usually fail much as dad to son because of the rivaling superior-subordinate relationship that usually exist. Not so many mothers will take it kindly to know their daughters have some form of sexual knowledge that equals or rivals theirs. They are always wont to ascribe sexual connotations to every action of the child. But there are always the exceptions where parents may open-minded enough to accept it regardless of which parent learns it from which child.
But the most important thing is that the parent who is so sure to get a particular child to talk sex, should take it up and know that they have called for it so must be ready to take it in good ear and help the child involved rather than destroying them with what they would not have ordinarily divulge.
If you know your child is in a relationship, look for the softer one of them and talk to. But remember before you can talk to them, they must see you as a friend and not an information downloader.
Here again mothers are always equipped to talk to the boyfriends of their daughters or even the girl friends of their sons. It is a common knowledge that mothers are averagely receptive to their children’s partners than fathers. Dads tend to be a bit relaxed with their sons’ girlfriends but with a limit because of the temptation that such involvement can bring. It is not an easy thing for most men to stand their young daughters’ boyfriends.
However, when a fathers gain the trust of their children and their partners, they tend to be very good with handling all issues that come up – a lot better than women. This also stems from the fact that a father who over comes the superior-subordinate barrier tend to speak his mind with little restraint and are very practical and proactive in that relationship. Mothers are always careful and modest.

Parents should help their children develop a positive image about themselves and healthy image about their sexuality and sexual lives to that point where making the wise choices about sex will not be a difficult thing. It should be the kind of development in the child where decision to abstain from having sex is seen as strength than weakness, prideful thing than shameful thing.
Give your children reasons why they should take pride in their chastity. It is surprising to know that even men with insatiable sexual appetite who hop from bed to bed want to eventually settle with ladies who never knew any man. 
Tell them of the guilt feeling; if you are a Christian family let Bible principles help you. Tell them about the health implications and the social demands. 

What challenges teenagers into having sex
As a parent, if you are equipped with reasons why teenagers have sex, it will help you give them proper counselling. A few of such reasons are given which can be of immense help to parents.
Most teenagers give in to sex because they think they are in love and sex of course is the ultimate proof of that feeling. Sex again comes in to secure that kind of love as some see it. For most ladies today, barring age and marital status, sex is being used as a tool of winning and keeping men... which unfortunately work for a while but fail in due course! There is also the possibility that teenagers who are having sex to secure love are not receiving that love in their various homes.
A lot more teenagers are talking about sex so much so that the logical conclusion is to experience it. Teenagers today are having sex just to experiment with it; so they can also talk about it. To be able to experiment with sex and talk about it is almost all the time a prerequisite to fully belonging to a clique of friends who are sexually active.
Again, giving in to sex at that critical moment when the teen is confronted with it becomes the easier option as opposed to saying no.
Having sex these days among our teens has also become a cool thing to do. Not doing it is an aberration and a seemingly deviant behaviour. This is even very high amongst boys who openly tease their friends who are perceived virgins.
We also have teenagers who are having sex because they have not been told there was something wrong with it! For these teenagers promiscuity is around them so they just flow with it. It could be their community or their various homes of orientation.
There is the Media to blame for sexualising most of its contents just to increase viewership. This is something that traps the vulnerable teen en masse 
But at the bottom line of all these is the teenager’s hormonal transformation that they go through during that period. If  not properly guided into handling it well, this can turn into an unsettling feeling that can end them up in seeking refuge in sexual adventures.
If parents can boldly take their children by the hand and walk the right path of proper sexual education where the child’s personal well being – emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical – is the focus, there will be a lot more success chalked than what we have today.
A positive sex education should always be dominated by morality and abstinence with some space given to preventives. Adolescents have to and can control themselves if the society decides to help them. Controlling themselves now is not depravation; it is a good seed they are sowing into their future. If, as teenagers, they are able to control themselves, the propensity to go on with it as they grow up becomes higher. If their sexual inclination is towards preventives, they grow up emboldened in that behaviour thereby increasing the risk of promiscuity and marital infidelity. 

PG Sebastian
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