The overwhelming question I get when counseling families and in the comments here is basically this: How do I keep my kid from ruining his/her life by having premarital sex?
I wish there were some easy answers to that question, but since there aren't, I'll tell you what I have seen work and what I've seen fail miserably.
The first thing parents have to realize is that when it comes to keeping teenagers from doing whatEVER they are going to do, GIVE UP STRESSING OVER IT. You cannot keep your kid from doing stupid if said kid decides that stupidity is more fun and rewarding than any resulting consequences. Our parents couldn't stop us. Their parents couldn't stop them. And so on, and so on, all the way back to Adam and Eve. Does this sound at all familiar:
God the Parent
After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them was:
"Don't what?" Adam asked.
"Don't eat the Forbidden Fruit." God replied.
"Forbidden fruit? We got Forbidden Fruit?
"Hey, Eve..we got Forbidden Fruit!"
"No way! Where?"
"Don't eat that fruit!" said God.
"Because I am your Creator and I said so!" said God, wondering why he hadn't stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later God saw the kids having an apple break and was angry.
"Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the 'First Parent' asked.
"Uh huh," Adam replied.
"Then why did you?"
"I dunno," Eve answered.
"She started it!" Adam said.
Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own...thus the pattern was set, and it has never changed.
I've often wondered if our Creator is still kicking himself for including that 'free will' clause when he was doing the R&D on molding man into existence. Even He has to be surprised at just how far that little piece of celestial legislation has allowed man to go. In light of how His whole human race thing developed, can we, as parents of brain-deficient teenagers expect to have any more control of our progeny? (Go watch that video; it is very enlightening. Go ahead - I'm not going anywhere until you get back.)
Welcome back. You should now feel much better about your relationship with your teenager since you know that part of his (or her) behavior is hard-unwired at this point in his development. See what I mean about not stressing over it so much? To me, stress is just failure in action. If we have succeeded in fixing a problem, we don't stress over it, do we? (Now I'm sitting here trying to figure out if I'm the kettle or the pot in this stress mess!) So how about if we take a look at some things that we CAN do to try and steer our kids down a safe(r) path in life.
There are the obvious things like setting a good example in your home and in your relationships with those outside your home. Kindness, consideration, patience, and consistency are all important. More important is letting your kids see you being human the right way. That means that if you screw up, you acknowledge it and apologize for it. AND FIX IT if at all possible. They have to know that you aren't going to come down on them for screwing up as long as they handle it correctly. They have to know that above all else, you love them and will fight to the death for their future success. And for those of you who are patting yourselves on the back for sticking up for your kid, right or wrong, STOP IT! That kind of thinking gets them into more trouble than holding them accountable for wrongs and rewarding only the things they do right.
How does that have anything to do with Sex Ed? Think about it: if Mary can't come tell you that she broke a dish or felt like hitting some smart-mouthed beyoch today, what makes you think that she's gonna tell you that she's thinking about sleeping with some knuckle-dragger?
Another thing that seems to work well is to take the mystery and misery (and a little of the excited anticipation) out of sexual issues by talking very plainly, clinically, and age-appropriately about them. Forbidden fruit is always more attractive than the mundane bowl of goodies within arms reach. If a question is asked, do your best to answer ONLY what was asked. Too much information will make the kid afraid to ask more questions. Too little will leave her wondering what you are hiding. They are smart that way. Dang it!
And for pity sake DO NOT overreact when Freddie comes home at age 5 and asks you why his wee wee (he should be calling it a penis at this age, by the way!) isn't as big as Billy's. Or why his best friend, Annie, doesn't have one at all. Know that kids have been playing doctor ever since Adam and Eve first examined each other after their apple snack. How you react to their first forays into that venue will determine how much you know about their travels in the future. For all the things the little darlings can't remember from moment to moment, they will remember that first reaction for the rest of their lives if you bumble it.
So, the bottom line to all of this is that sex ed doesn't begin when your child enters puberty. I starts when they enter the world. Making them feel safe, loved, secure, and valued is the best defense you can give them against having some insecure over-sexed ball of hormones make them feel safe, loved, secure, and valued if only for the one moment it takes to rush head first over a cliff that will leave their souls and bodies bruised and battered for the rest of their lives.
And if the worst does happen, take a deep breath, say a prayer, and hug your kid. He needs you now more than he will ever know until he has kids of his own and is trying to figure out how to keep them from going where he went. It's the circle of life, folks. We all survived it. So will they.
Peace, Blessings, and The RIGHT Kind of Love to all.