This Controversial Parenting Decision Has Too Many Risks

Jeanne Sager
63

teen bedroomWell folks, now I really have heard it all. Apparently there's a whole sector of American parents who think that it's safer to let their teenagers have sex at home. Let me just repeat that so you can get the full effect. Parents are throwing open their kids' bedroom doors and saying, "Hey, kids, wanna have sex? Here's the bed!" Because ... it's safer.

It goes against my lucy goosey, liberal mom genes to say it, but this may be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Oh sure, it's great that parents are hip enough to realize their kids are sexual beings. Teens have hormones. They want to have sex. And it's up to us, their parents, to help guide them on the path to doing it right.

Right. It's a word imbued with so much uncertainty. What's "right" for one kid isn't necessarily "right" for the other one. But I was a teenager once, and what I learned was that the kids whose parents were letting them have sex at home didn't care one whit about safety. They just didn't want to be bothered to parent.

There's something to be said for the old rites of passage, for going to the town's make-out spot on a dark night and fumbling in the back seat. For having to find an afternoon when Mom or Dad is at work. It teaches kids to delay their urges. It gives kids a chance to figure out if this is something they really, really want to do.

When there was the idea that Mom or Dad could walk in at any moment and put the kibosh on things, there was a means to stop things in their tracks, there was a good excuse to use when his hand headed south, and you just weren't ready. Kids want to say they're in charge of their own bodies, but immaturity begets a need to make excuses. Parents who care are a good excuse. They can prevent their son or daughter from being pressured into something they don't want to do.

They can protect their kids from STDs. From pregnancy. From rape. From the scary things that can happen at home on a soft mattress with pink Laura Ashley sheets while the stuffed lambie from Grandma keeps watch. The setting doesn't stop any of that. It doesn't make it "safe."

You know what's really safe? Explaining the birds and the bees to your kids so they don't learn some iffy practices from their friends. Encouraging your kids to use condoms. Teaching them about STDs. And then telling them that they need to be completely sure that this is the right thing to do.

I'm not talking total abstinence here. We all know it doesn't work. But the idea that kids having sex inside their house are somehow safer than kids having sex outside would give me the biggest laugh of my day if I wasn't so horrified by it all.

Would you let your teenager have sex at home? Do you think it's safer?

 

Image via nolaclutterbusters/Flickr

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