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Summer Lovin’

Written by Donna Golob. Posted in Featured

Published on July 15, 2015 with No Comments

It’s summer and teens have a lot more free time on their hands.  Do you know where your teen is spending their time?  Who are they spending it with?  What’s capturing their attention on the TV , their phone or the computer?

The term “age aspiration” is one that captures the fact that our children and teens long to be seen, be treated, and feel like they are older than they actually are. Age aspiration works itself out when our kids engage in behaviors that they think will make them appear and feel older. Sometimes we as parents can contribute to this attitude by expecting more from our young people than we should.  How much unsupervised time does your child have?  What are they responsible for? Have clear and defined boundaries and standards been set for your young person?  To whom are they accountable for their actions and attitudes?

One avenue kids are traveling in this quest to “be older” is to use dating apps that are designed for adults. These apps allow people to peruse potential dates or hook-up partners for either short or long term encounters or relationships. For example, even though Tinder is an app for adults, about 7% of Tinder users are ages 13-17. Parents, you need to be aware of which apps are being used by teenagers to facilitate dating relationships and sexual encounters. Besides Tinder, these include skout, Badoo, Hot or Not, MeetMe, Omegle, and Grinder, an app dedicated to facilitating male to male encounters.  Check out one of PATH’s recent blogs to learn more about apps that your child may be using and how you can talk to them about the risks involved with social media.  (http://www.positiveteenhealth.org/blog)

Talk to your kids about healthy boundaries for love, sex, and marriage. Make sure they know where you stand and set your boundaries; declare your expectations for them.  Young people who know what their parents believe regarding high-risk behaviors including drug, tobacco and sexual relationships are less likely to engage in these or other high-risk behaviors.  Help them to set relationship boundaries that are truly fulfilling and liberating, and age appropriate.

Often when we talk about relationships, dating and sex we forget the entirety of the story we’ve been written into. It’s easy to start with the consequences of heart ache and sex outside marriage. However, that is not where the story should start. Sex is about God’s love for His creation and is a gift for humanity to enjoy as they multiply and fill the earth. Not only is sex a good gift from God for procreation, but He has given it to us for the purpose of becoming one in marriage; expressing intimacy, and experiencing mutual pleasure. This is where the conversation should start.

In our sexualized culture it is paramount that you communicate your values before the world does. By acting on your parental responsibility to speak sexual truth into your home, you are protecting your children. However, this is not about communicating a list of restrictions and “don’ts.” Rather, it’s proclaiming true sexual freedom by sharing the full and wonderful breadth of experiencing and indulging one’s sexuality within the covenant of marriage – the parameter established in God’s grand design as the sex-maker. This means sharing in honest and open conversations with your child, and doing so often.  As many of the articles we share with you do, it comes back to communication.  Make sure you are talking to your teens.  Build relationships that will last a lifetime, and help your children to spend their summer making healthy choices so they can return to school with no regrets.

For more information on how to talk with your teens and build a great relationship contact PATH @ 219-548-8783 or visit our website: positiveteenhealth.org.

 

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About Donna Golob

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Donna Golob is the executive director for A Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH). For more information, visit www.pathblazer.org.

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