A solid home environment contributes to a spiritual and wholesome understanding of sexuality in teens.
“Do you have a great relationship because you have great sex? Or do you have great sex because you have a great relationship? Or is sex just a pleasurable activity, without any link to relationship?”
It is important for our children to grow up with the right ideas about sex if they are to become mature, loving adults. Otherwise, as married individuals, they can use sex in self-centered ways, leading to broken relationships and unhappiness.
It may be difficult for many Singaporean parents to talk to our children about sex, but avoiding the topic is not a solution. In a newspaper article in the Straits Times dated 6 August 2009: girls under 14 are having consensual sex, with casual friends and boyfriends of about the same age. This news is quite alarming for a lot of us parents. One of the root problems of many teenagers (and adults too) is self esteem or rather, the lack of it. To have self-esteem is to respect and value oneself and to feel confident of one’s identity.
A person who is unhappy with herself (or himself) will try to prove otherwise. For example: The girl who doesn’t say no or who may even seek physical attention from her boyfriend may be afraid to lose the only one who has shown interest in her. The boy who acts macho and boasts of sexual conquests may be trying to prove that he is a man. Isn’t it true that we, even as adults, react sharply to comments by our spouse when their careless words threaten our self-esteem?
While there may be various reasons for this, there is likely to be one common factor - a void that is not filled at home. It is being esteemed or loved by parents in the way that they need to be esteemed or loved. (Bear in mind that a child's interpretation of your actions and motives can be quite different from your own).
Creating opportunities for dialogue as well as providing a secure and loving climate at home can have a great deal of influence on them and make them realize that sex is a meaningful part of a committed and loving marital relationship. By cultivating a close family bond, we can help to realize the importance of other facets of a relationship: mental, emotional and spiritual domains. This way, our children will come to appreciate that pre-marital sex can be a powerful distraction from their attention to building a foundation for a great relationship and a lifetime of happiness together.
We as parents know, that sexuality is part of being human. Sex is who we are, not what we do. Our sexuality includes, in addition to the physical aspect, all the mental, emotional and spiritual characteristics. We know. But in the present-day culture that our children are growing up in, we cannot assume that our children will know.
John Ooi is a father of six children. He writes regularly at It takes a Village to Raise a Child e-newsletter. Article is reproduced with permission.