Your teenagers’ new connections with friends pose new challenges to your relationship. Although peers can and do influence one another in positive ways, we also know that they increase the likelihood that your teen will experiment with tobacco, alcohol, unsafe sex and delinquent behaviours. You are now confronted with an entirely new set of worries and concerns. What can help in this situation? Sexuality education can help.
Sexuality education gives us a broad perspective and understanding about our teenagers and what challenges they face during this stage of their life as they mature. Sex education is a lifelong process of acquiring various information, attitude and values. It encompasses sexual development, reproductive health and interpersonal relationship, affection, intimacy, body image and gender roles. Sexuality education should begin at home, from the moment of birth, children should learn about love, touch, and relationship.
As children grow into adolescence they continue to receive information about sexuality behavior, attitude and values from their families and within their social environment. Open communication between parents and children through childhood, the pre-teen years, adolescent and young adulthood, will help lay a solid foundation for young people to mature into sexually healthy adults.
Puberty is a period of time during which the body matures and achieves reproduction capacity by the production of hormones which are chemical substances that controls body development and growth. These sexual hormones also bring about a natural feeling of wanting to be touched, loved and cared for by someone of the opposite sex.
Girls who have parents who are distracted or depressed may feel the need to get or receive warmth and nurturing through sexual relationship. Also, girls who do not have effective male role models during their early and mid-adolescent years may be vulnerable to the attention of older men from whom these girls seek fathering as much as they seek romance and intimacy.
Adolescents enter puberty with a heightened sense of sexuality accompanied by a great deal of confusion. These changes may create challenges to forming an identity and may include ambivalent feeling of independence, questions about conformity and confusion about values and beliefs. All these feelings have characterized adolescents as having explorative minds, getting to make friends with whom they have strong attachments. Adolescents believe they are “mature” and can take meaningful decisions, which invariably are mere fantasies.
Teens are eager for guidance about the best ways to fit in with their peers – both same-sex and opposite-sex peers – without making mistakes that can get them into trouble or lead to rejection. They are also eager for information about the choices they have concerning new pressures and expectations (such as sex, and avoiding abuses from peers or dating partners). However, they must trust the source of the information, feel they are being heard, know their opinions are respected, and have some degree of say in their decisions.
In other words, they do not like to simply be told, “just say no” or “because I say so.” Teens have no particular roadmap or guide to follow, and they are caught up in a fast- moving adventure driven by their peer culture, curiosity and new found opportunities. Limit-testing, mood changes and sharply critical attitude may come with this territory, but your values, your role modeling, your affection and your time and guidance deeply influences the decisions and actions they take.