Psychological Self-Help

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1015
Parents want to help but are confused
Today's parents want to talk to their teenagers about sex. But we
parents are baffled by the situation and caught between Puritan
prohibition of premarital sex and modern sexual liberalism. That's
understandable; there is no one correct position. Should we parents
say sex is bad or that sex can be fantastic? If we were to say sex is
great, doesn't that encourage young people to have sex? If we
emphasize the potential problems associated with having sex
(pregnancy, hurtful rejection, AIDS and STD, reputation, etc.), doesn't
that imply sex is all trouble and no pleasure? Since we aren't sure
what to say to our teenaged sons and daughters (even Hugh Heffner
didn't advocate free love to his daughter), we parents aren't saying
much at all about sex to our children. We don't know if we should
restrict our children or let them go free; we want to protect them
either way. We don't know whether to say, "Don't do it" or "Use some
protection." 
Sex educations classes (taught in only 35% of our high schools)
offer mostly plumbing facts and almost no psychological-interpersonal
reasons for and against sex in different circumstances. How can we
persuade a 13 or 15-year-old to not have sex if we believe that sex is
fine for college students if they are caring, responsible, in love, and
use birth control? The argument "you're too young" may not be good
enough. If we, as parents, avoid discussing with our 16-year-old son
or daughter the possibility of having sex, there is little possibility of
helping him/her consider the ramifications of unprotected sex and little
chance to prepare to use contraceptives. Where else can a 16-year-old
get sound, detailed advice about when, how, and with whom to have
sex, except from Mom and Dad? Telling them to wait until they're
older might work up to 16 or 17, but not beyond that. Telling them
"it's a sin," may be both ineffective and unwise. Telling them to wait
until they are married (when many don't expect to get married until
they are 30), just isn't "going to fly." Better "get real " and get
detailed with them in the early teens.
 
A young woman’s lonely decision in a supposedly intimate situation
Since deciding about sex is, supposedly, left up to the female, the
young teenaged woman is burdened with an awesome responsibility.
Without intimate discussions with her parents or a friend, she makes
this decision alone. She has frequently lost touch with the traditional
religious arguments against premarital sex. Most young people have
no access to written material that could help them make careful
decisions about sex. The potential male partner is usually more of a
problem (always pushing the limits) than a helper. It seems grossly
unfair. She is not helped by parents, schools, friends, counselors, self-
help books, and certainly not by the boyfriend or the media
(remember 85% of TV sex is illicit) to make these decisions: how to
select a boyfriend and friends? how to argue with and sexually resist
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