Never an easy subject to approach-especially with your kids. But in an era of teen-age pregnancies, HIV, genital herpes (among others)-an absolute necessity. Dad, your kids may think they already know a lot about sex (after all they are bombarded 24 hours a day by it from the media). But they don’t. And worse, if you don’t say snything, your very attractive daughter or son could soon become sexually active. Without some parental dialogue-perhaps with catastrophic consequences.
Admittedly, you can’t lock your little prince or princess up, or keep an eye on them 24/7. Extreme measures are only going to alienate you and your child, perhaps leading them to recklessly do what you hope they won’t. Also, there are esteem issues: you don’t want your little heir to the throne to feel ‘dirty’ or ‘cheap’. Sex should be a beautiful experience for them. After all, it will happen sooner or later. Your role as father is to properly guide them into a normal adult life: healthy and normal sexuality being part of it.
They always say it’s harder for a father to talk to his daughter about sex than to his son. That still may have some truth. But in the early 21st century, with the growth and evolution of our society, it should not be as big an issue as it once was. You may find out that your headstrong little princess does not want to have sex until she is ready, even if she already has a serious boyfriend. She may want to make sure that the young man in question is the right one for her and/or wait till college…or beyond. Your dialogue then should be then to help reinforce that idea. Not out of keeping her chaste, but to reinforce her own naturally-conceived beliefs. As her dad, that’s what you want to do: respect and help nurture her beliefs. After all, they do grow up fast. And your role also is to help her (or him) become an adult. Don’t smother or overwhelm them…guide them.
Even saying that, she may choose to have sex sooner rather than later. It’s something you definitely have to be prepared for. Sex can be a rite of passage for those young adults in waiting. It’s healthy and normal-and it does not always signify love. It can be just lust, too. In all dialogues concerning sex, your role as dad is also proper guidance in birth control, and condoms for young Jennifer or Robert, Jr.
In our modern and more enlightened society, you should also alert them about sexual predators. Teachers, family friends and even blood relatives are increasingly becoming predators on young teen-age girls and boys. Tell them to tell you immediately if any of the groups in question touch them or make sexual advances in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable-be it your son or daughter. There’s no rite of manhood for your young son to be molested by his female schoolteacher. Remember the Letourneau case. Sexual abuse is what it is: a crime that could traumatize and scar your daughter or son for life.
There’s no doubt that your little prince or princess is smart. But as a dad, it’s your responsibility to pass your wisdom so they continue to stay smart about their choices and actions. Plus, this wisdom can end up being passed down to your grandchildren in the years to come, making it all the more sweeter.