Where does your child get information about sex? From speaking to teens, Dr. Phil and Jay McGraw found out that it's happening more often than you might think and at a much younger age (often as young as 12) than you would imagine.
So what do you say to your child? Dr. Phil has this advice:
- Define sex with your child.
Half of all teenagers don't believe that oral sex is sex.
According to Dr. Phil, if it involves a sex organ ... it's sex!
- Be prepared and honest.
Do your homework first. Read the book Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss. It is not a sensationalized piece of literature. It is a fact-based realistic view of what the sexual activities teens are engaging in.
- Talk to your child about sex (including oral sex) early and often.
Don't wait to have the conversation! Clearly, children are becoming aware of sex and oral sex at a young age " make them hear about it from you. Parents are the most influential people in a child's life. You need to have an active ongoing dialogue so that your child feels comfortable discussing this topic with you. Start the conversations early and repeat them often.
The incidents of sexual activity, particularly oral sex, before the age of 15 is less than 13 percent. By 19, it's 70. That means the time to catch them is early, before they get in the window.
- Consider your child's point of view and keep the conversation low key.
If you come in on your soapbox, preaching, judging and condemning, the conversation is going to dry up. Don't get in your child's face. Listen. Hear their questions. Respond to their thoughts.
- Don't get mesmerized by the argument.
Don't let your 14-year-old child rationalize and tell you that "everybody" is doing it, so it's OK. It is not OK!
- Monitor "the four W's": who, what, when and where.
Know everything about your child. Follow your children on a close enough level so you know who their friends are and what they're doing.
- Give them the correct information.
If your child already knows about oral sex, most likely they have misinformation. Many children are using oral sex as an entry-level sex act. They are not recognizing the intimacy and the consequences that are attached to oral sex.
- Educate your child about the health risks associated with oral sex.
Inform them that they have a chance of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease by performing oral sex. STDs such as gonorrhea, genital herpes, genital warts and AIDS are just a few examples.
- Define "friend."
Children claiming that they are giving oral sex to "friends" need to define "friend." As Dr. Phil says, a friend is not someone who asks you to stick his penis in your mouth.
- Explain the phrase, "If you loved me, you would..."
This is not a reason to give oral sex. It is actually more of a reason to walk away and end a relationship.
- As a parent, you must make your child feel special.
You must help your child love themselves. You must help him/her value their worth and identity. You have to instill standards by which to live their lives. If they have these standards in place, when someone approaches them about oral sex, or anything for that matter, they will be able to say no. They will have respect for themselves and know they are too special.
- Remind your child that self-determination is a privilege.
If your child is making poor decisions, you can take that right away from him/her. Your child shouldn't have that right back unless or until he/she deserves it.
- Make your child aware of the long-term effects on his/her reputation and self-esteem.
Giving oral sex casually can lead to a bad reputation. It can also lead to poor self-esteem and untrustworthy relationships in the future. They may think, 'Hey, this is the way to be popular.' It's not.
- Not all contact with the opposite sex has to be sexual.
Your child should know that there's a whole lot of contact that's not sexual. Give a shoulder rub, trade poems, talk! They should respect themselves enough not to exploit themselves and put their lives on the line for oral sex.