Do parents’ opinions matter? Are we even listening to what our teens are saying?
According to a 2007 National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents, the majority of parents and teens want their teens to be taught more about abstinence. True abstinence education is focused on teaching the keys to healthy relationships including self-respect, effective communication and critical thinking skills.
A recent 24-month study at Penn State was published in the Pediatric Adolescent Medicine Journal. Researchers studied various methods of sexual education training for African-American middle-school students. The study showed 32.6 percent sexual initiation for students taught abstinence compared with 51.8 percent for “safer sex” and 41.8 percent for “comprehensive” sex education. The conclusion was that abstinence-centered education is more effective than comprehensive sex education. An American Journal of Health Behavior report on a study of five Virginia middle-school abstinence programs showed it delayed sexual onset by more than 45 percent.
As a parent and grandparent, I want the best health environment for my family — not just risk reduction behaviors, but risk avoidance skills that equip and protect them from harm and danger.
The values that we teach our children matter to them. Most teens polled listed their parents as the main person(s) of influence in their lives. Most parents want their children to excel in each area of their lives.
Many medical leaders feel the same way. In February, the American College of Pediatricians released a position statement that “strongly endorses abstinence-until-marriage sex education and recommends adoption by all school systems in lieu of ‘comprehensive sex education’. This position is based on the ‘public health principle of primary prevention — risk avoidance in lieu of risk reduction.”
Our children deserve the chance to discover who they are in a safe, healthy environment.