I came across a fascinating article today in Science Daily that revaled findings from a recent study on young people who have sex before the age of 15. Myeshia Price and Dr. Janet Hyde, researchers from the Univerity of Wisconsion, wanted to identify ways to reduce the number of adolscents who have sex before the age of 15 and examined a variety of individual, family and sociocultural factors thought to predict early sexual activity. Just under 300 teens between the ages of 13-15 participated in their research and they discovered that 15% of them had participated in early sexual activity. The sexually active girls spent more time watching television, had lower self-esteem, had poor relationships with their parents, ahd live with either a single mother or step-parent, showed signs of ADHD and underachieved at school. The sexually active boys were further into their puberty, spent more time watching television, had lower self-esteem, showed signs of ADHD and ODD (oppostional defiant disorder), and had poor relationships with their parents.
The biggest factor? The amount of time spent watching television. One of the biggest revelations (listen up, parents): parents GREATLY influence an adolescent’s decision to engage, or not, in early sexual activity.
I know I say these two things a lot but given the above study, I am saying them again.
#1 Help a young person– especially if you are a parent– find a passion and encourage them to engage in it. It could be playing an instrument, drawing, a sport, volunteering whatever. Just help them discover that they love something so they can see their talent tangibly and begin to build self-confidence from a concrete skill and capability that they have.
#2 Talk to your children about sex. It’s awkward, yes. But it beats the alternative. You can literally save your child’s life.