We want them to accept themselves and others.
Every parent is dismayed to hear about their child’s body image issues or to see them experiment with unhealthy eating patterns.
No one wants their child to be rejected because of how freely they express emotion, how they dress, what gender they feel they are inside, or who they’re sexually attracted to.
The rates at which teens self-harm are appalling. Teaching them to accept their bodies and their individuality is protective. Teaching them to celebrate themselves is joy.
We want their sexual exploration to be safe and healthy.
Our current standards for raising children asks them to tune out their body signals and conform to a group environment. With that history, it’s difficult for them to tune into their bodies and speak up when something feels uncomfortable. When they do begin exploring sexually with a partner, they’ll need this awareness and communication skills. We can help them become more skillful at feeling and defending boundaries.
Our children might be better at defending their boundaries in person than they are online. The anonymity we feel when posting to the internet and the loss of control over our words and images make it tricky to judge where the lines are. We help our young people when we make the effort to discuss sexting and social media.
Teens have the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections, and our teen pregnancy statistics are higher than comparable countries. Comprehensive sex education requires that we discuss contraception. Anyone who is sexually active needs to know how to protect themselves and what to do if they have a health concern.
Our young people are new at relationships and they need our guidance. Unhealthy relationships are common and are part of the learning curve. An involved parent can be a mentor, helping their child stand up for themselves.
By talking about how sex should be, we give them a baseline understanding. They won’t accept just any sexual experience. They have a vision for themselves. There’s a standard which must be met.