Hope you have been well since the last time we were together. Personally I have been well although I have been facing various challenges. There is something that I discovered last weekend about my son Robert. As I was putting away laundry, I found a box of condoms in his room. I was greatly shocked because I had never thought that my son was involved in teenage sex. After discovering the condoms, our relations worsened since I furiously quarreled with him. The reason for writing this letter is to give you the details of the whole scenario, the outcome of my reaction, and my future plan on how to cope with this problem. I believe that you are the best person who can give me advice since you have dealt with adolescents earlier.
Last weekend I decided to put away laundry early, so I moved to Robert’s room unexpectedly. When he saw me, he was frightened and showed much tension, which raised alarm that there was something that he did not want me to know. When I opened his wardrobe, I found a box of condoms. I was extremely angry because I was certain that he was not already sexually active. I slapped him in the face. To my surprise, he said, “I can do whatever I want to do with my life, it is just my lot in life.” He walked out and went to my neighbor where he is staying until now. I am facing a dilemma since I want to restore our relationship, and at the same time I do not want him to continue with his imprudent behavior, knowing that he is exposing himself to risk.
I consider seeking a counselor to advise him on the importance of living responsibly. I believe I will be favorably assisted in parenting an adolescent with the help of a psychologist since I feel like my reaction was not right. I am looking forward to your advice.
Your loving sister, Rosina
After quarreling with my son, I decided to carry out a research to determine the rate of teenagers that were actively involved in sex. The research also aimed at viewing different reasons why teenagers indulge themselves in sexual activities at an early age. Again, my investigation focused on determining the role played by parents, teachers, government, and other elderly groups, who are informed on the risks involved when people become sexually active at an early age. Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), social service agencies, and governmental bodies that deal with parenting role offered insightful information on the research.
Rate of Teenagers Involved in Sex
There are numerous young people who engage in sex between the age of fifteen and nineteen years. About 2% of adolescents have sex before attaining the age of twelve, 16% involve in sexual activities by the age of sixteen, 48% start to have sex by the age of seventeen, and 71% – by the age of nineteen (Guttmacher, 2014). It was evidenced by a survey conducted in the US high school in 2013. From this survey, 47% of the adolescents interviewed had had sex earlier. 34% of them had sex within the previous three months, and, unfortunately, 41% of teenagers had unprotected sex the last time they had sexual intercourse. Among them, about 15% had had sex with four or more partners during their life. The most disappointing thing is that most of these sexually active teenagers were not tested for HIV, while only a small number of about 22% were tested for HIV.
There are many teens aged between 13 and 16 who have engaged in a wide range of sexual behaviors, which include romantic kissing, caressing, oral sex, and sexual intercourse. Again, there are big numbers of teens that have been involved in an intimate or romantic activity with someone. The trend tends to continue because these children believe that they have control over their lives and they are mature enough to make decisions.
According to CDCP (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are approximately nineteen million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) annually, and almost half of them reveal affected teenagers. Teen pregnancy rates are also high, which increases the taxpayers’ expenditure for developing foster care and health care facilities to cater for the children born to teen mothers. However, most of the teenagers do not consider the economic implication of their sexual behavior (CDC, n.d).
Reasons Why Teens Have Sex
Teens involve in sexual activities for various reasons. To begin with, they have a desire to be loved, longing for another person to pay attention to them. During adolescence and puberty, children have strong sexual interests and feelings, which can make them be sexually and emotionally attracted to others around them. Hormone pressure in teens makes them have a strong sexual urge, which can be controlled since people have will power to choose what to do (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2010). However, most of the teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 think that their parents, guardians, and other elderly people are old-fashioned. Hence, they prevent their children from enjoying life. Adolescents argue that they know what is best for them and consider the elderly as impediments to enjoyment of their lot of life.
Overprotection of adults also contributes to adolescent sex. Children that are raised by overprotective parents, who control them at every turn, become candidates for rebellion whenever they have an opportunity (Campos, 2010). These adolescents think that they can take responsibility for their lives, trying to prove to the parents that they are mature. As a matter of fact, most of the adolescents involve in sex as a way of rebelling against constraints and restrictions laid by the people in authority. The parents ought to be reasonable in setting the boundaries while they still entrust their adolescent children with increased responsibility that should influence them positively.
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Although parents are discouraged from over-supervising their teens, excessive freedom can also be risky for adolescents. It has been proved that parents who are not able to guide their children in sexual matters make the situation even worse since these children easily engage in irresponsible behavior (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2010). When parents have complex working schedule, they may not have enough time for their children. These teenagers feel neglected and try to find love elsewhere. They believe that their parents do not love them; therefore, they begin looking for love of their friends, which increases the chances of earlier sex. When the parents are too busy to spend time with their children, they give them opportunities to be alone for a long time. The excessive time spent together may make it hard to keep the promise to abstain from sex till marriage.
Peer pressure is the other factor that contributes to early sex. It is a powerful influence that leads young people to sexual activities. Most of the teens argue that everyone is having sex, and they should not be exceptional. Teens that have had sexual experience continue intimidating others who are still virgin by giving remarks that triggers the desire to have sex. Sexual active teens encourage those without sex experience to try it by using a mistaken assumption that everyone else is doing it. This makes those who are not sexually active desire to resemble their friends due to fear of rejection and willingness to feel normal.
Peer pressure comes from invitation of potential partner, using either smooth talks or coercion to have sex. Most of the teens may fail to resist due to the need of closeness and longing for acceptance. It is almost impossible for teens to say “NO” to people they care about due to fear that they may lose them (Lyon & Antoniades, 2009). The impact of peer pressure becomes even stronger due to mistaken belief that physical intimacy secures love of people. The best way to lower the risk of negative impact from peers is by practicing refusal skills, which in turn helps the teens to build self-confidence and say no without being condemned.
Another reason that causes teens to be involved in sexual activities is lack of desire to abstain from sex until marriage. A vast number of teenagers consider the abstinence until marriage outdated. These young people realize both advantages and disadvantages of premarital sex, which raises a great conflict within. Their inner longing and external pressure force them to have it while medical warning, religious beliefs, moral standards set by the family and community, and commonsense restrict them. Most of the children that have issues of low self-esteem are more vulnerable to sexual involvement as a way of seeking approval from the peers.
Solving the Problem of Teenage Sex
Parents and other caregivers have the responsibility to ensure that their children are well informed about the dangers of premarital sex. When a parent is aware that his/her child is involved in sexual activities, he/she should consider seeking psychological counseling. The counseling should be for both the parent and the child in order to continue a healthy relationship. Therapists are able to advise the parent on how to get along with the child without being overprotective. However, the most important aspect is to enlighten the child on the consequences of premarital sex. As a parent from Mary Odenton, Maryland Area, whose child has been involved in premarital sex at an age of fifteen, I have taken responsibility for researching local community agencies that can assist.
Baltimore Washington Counseling Center is among the best ones identified. The institution charges reasonable fees of between 30 and 50 dollars per session. It is situated in a convenient location since it is in Baltimore and can be contacted any time of the day. This institution is run by a team of licensed clinical social workers that are available both part-time and full-time (Jessi, 2015). The institution has an experience of over fifty years in counseling. They deal with patients whose age varies between six and eighty years.
Baltimore Counseling Center provides individual psychotherapy, group therapy services, and family therapy. This makes it one of the best institutions that deals with teens that are involved in sexual affairs, positively affecting their relationship with parents. In psychotherapy, teenagers are taught of all the dangers that come with premarital sex, such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as early pregnancies that can have great impacts on their lives. The counselors encourage the teens to act responsibly. During this therapy, teenagers are given appropriate information concerning sexual intercourse. Hence, they cannot be misled by the peers. Family therapy offered helps in building the relationship between children and parents that will ensure that they do not seek approval from the peers.
The other alternative is Anne Arundel County counseling center for adolescents and youth counseling. Anne Arundel Center is located in Benfield Blvd Millersville, which is easily accessible. The facility is preferable because they offer entire psychiatric rehabilitation services to adolescents. Anne Arundel County counselors organize both onsite and offsite consultations depending on the need of the client (Blew et al, 2009). This enables the psychiatrist to develop a personalized relationship with the adolescent. Hence, teenagers can disembosom themselves and share frustrations and the pressure they are receiving from their peers. The counselor can discuss in details the dangers that are involved in premarital sex without making them feel that their freedom has been interfered. The personalized service helps in building a strong parent-child relationship that is essential in monitoring actions of a child without oversupervision.
In conclusion, sex among teens is common; moreover, most of the teens are involved in unprotected sex. Numerous teens aged between 13 and 16 engage in a wide range of sexual behaviors even though they do not have sexual intercourse. Peer pressure is the greatest factor that causes adolescents to be involved in sex. Children who suffer from low self-esteem are likely to be involved in sexual activity as they seek for approval. To avoid such imprudent situation, it is essential to have a healthy parent-child relationship in order to discuss sexual matters freely. When parents learn that their children are involved in premarital sex, they should seek advice from professional counselor. Baltimore Counseling Center and Anne Arundel County Counseling Center are the most preferable centers in Odenton, Maryland Area, since they offer a wide range of counseling services at personalized level and at reasonable charges.