Monday, March 15, 2010

If I give my child condoms, aren’t I implicitly supporting the idea of him/her having sex…

If I give my child condoms, aren’t I implicitly supporting the idea of him/her having sex…

There is nothing implicit about it.  If you hand a child a condom, you are telling them that it is okay with you that they have sex.  You can frame it any way you want.  You can tell them that you don’t want them to have sex, but if they decide to have sex, you would rather they be safe, but the reality is, if you hand them a condom, they are going to take that as a sign that you won’t kill them, so they’re good to go.

Is it okay with you?

I always figured if my child was old enough, and mature enough to date, then it really wasn’t any of my business if they were sexually active.  Of course, in order for my kids to date, they had to have a really long track record of good decision-making skills, of standing up for themselves, of treating themselves and anyone else involved with dignity and respect.

I never went for the, “Oh, look, aren’t they cute, puppy love” thing.  I don’t think little kids should be encouraged to think of themselves as sexual beings.  I don’t think teens should be encouraged to see themselves as a star in their own reality show.  I know it is rough in today’s world, where everything and everyone is over sexualized, but I think you have to make an effort.

There has been lots of research done; it is widely available on the Internet.  Basically, the younger your child is when you allow them to date, the more likely they are to enter into an unhealthy relationship. 

When you really stop and think about it, it makes sense.  It takes a lot of life experience to make a good decision about any kind of relationship.  The younger you are when you are trying to make that decision, the more likely you are to not have the tools to make a good decision.

Almost half of all date rapes happen between the ages of 14-17.  Considering the dating pool is so large, and the people dating these days are well into their golden years, that statistic is just plain scary.

I guess my suggestion would be to concentrate on your child making good decisions, treating him/herself with dignity and respect, and being really comfortable with the fact that should your child decide to become sexually active, it is for the right reasons, not to win popularity, or because everyone else is doing it, or because the kid won’t like them tomorrow if they don’t. 

A young heart is a fragile thing, and it really doesn’t heal well.  Teach your child to protect it.


Lynne said...

I have to say that I totally agree on this point. My approach with my daughters has always been, "sex comes with giant responsibility and negative consequence".

They are now seeing what I meant. The twins, who are almost 14, come home with horror stories about girls with pregnancy scares, boys who talk bad about girls who have sex with them, and STDs.

One of the twins came home telling me that a girl was telling other kids about giving some kid (another 8th grade student) oral sex, and how to do it without using teeth! I was mortified! I called the school and demanded something be done.

Unfortunately, there are children who lack supervision. Then there are parents who think "my child isn't doing that". The reality is that it can be our child, and supervision is the only real defense (other than parenting prior to this point).

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