A report from the Guttmacher organization reveals what most parents already know: our teens are in trouble! Contraception use is down and the pregnancy rate is rising. STDs are still a problem. What’s the answer?
A new style of parenting needs to emerge. Experts say there are three main styles of parenting: authoritarian, permissive, or authoritative. Authoritative parenting is the best style, where parents are open to their children and do not rule the roost with fear and shame. Authoritarian parents are the “It’s my way or the highway” type of parents while permissive parents are too lenient. But we need MORE than authoritative parenting.
In today’s fast changing world, we need parents who can keep up with the cultural changes and help their children grow up in the landscape. We need “Informed Compassionate” parenting.
Parents who are informed on the new changes and can explain the impact of cultural messages and internet and cell phone use have a better chance at helping their teen make better decisions. Parents who show compassion to their children are answering the big brain question that children ask every day: “Are you there for me?” When children receive a “yes” to that question, they are likely to have more self-respect and be able to show respect to others. Mind you, the big brain question isn’t asked directly, but rather through behavior, and other questions posed at parents.
Teen sexuality is throbbing along as it always has. Nothing new about teens and the urge to merge. However, the way in which teens are acting out their sexuality is new. Gender roles are changing as girls become more sexually aggressive. Sexting is a potentially dangerous activity. Even dating looks different than it did a generation ago. Now teens hook up several times then have the “DTR” talk (determining the relationship). Sexual activity is starting at younger ages, and oral sex is the new way to say “hello.”
If we want to help our daughters grow up with out a lot of drama/trauma that will have a negative impact on their lives, we as parents must become informed and have a compassionate heart to better help our daughters grow up with self-respect in a culture that is growing more and more disrespectful.
Teen sexuality needs to be understood in the new cultural context and parents need to let their daughters know they are there for them. Your daughter needs you more than ever!