Please note that the material in this publication contains sexual information and may be confronting to many readers. Although the author has made every reasonable attempt to achieve complete accuracy of the content in this publication, she assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. The reader should use the guidelines and information as they see fit, and at their own risk. The author advises readers to use their own wisdom based on their personal values and ethics. Nothing in this app is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice.
PARENTS AND TWEENS HAVE ALOT IN COMMON
Both groups want to be well informed, and have good communication and self-advocacy skills regarding sexual matters. They both want sex to be with a loving partner who respects them and keeps them safe. The ideal is for sex to be pleasurable and culturally appropriate.
Tweens & Sex
‘Parents, Tweens and Sex’ is an engaging, safe and enjoyable resource for parents to use with their tweens. This unique ‘app’ was not intended to be used simply as a sex education guide, but as a tool to help parents share their personal values and ethics while having conversations about confronting sexual issues with their tweens.
It’s time to admit the way we are dealing with sexual education is not catering to the ever-changing and complex needs of our tweens. On their own, neither schools nor parents are able to cater to all the requirements our tweens have for education in
sexuality and relationships. There is an absence of support for self-advocacy, not an absence of information. There is a very poor understanding of consequences for sexual behaviour, not just for our girls who are often portrayed as victims but for our boys who are often portrayed as mindless abusers.
Parents and tweens have a lot in common. Both groups want to be well informed, and have good communication and self-advocacy skills regarding sexual matters.
They both want sex to be with a loving partner who respects them and keeps them safe. The ideal is for sex to be pleasurable and culturally appropriate.
My personal research over the last five years reinforces the findings of other research studies that found many tweens would prefer their parents to provide the sex education, that they think parents are the most accurate source of information and would like to talk to them more about sex and sexual ethics.
A STUDY CONDUCTED
The University of Montreal presented in June 2011 at the Canadian Paediatric Society’s annual conference demonstrated that more teens relied on parental advice. Friends influenced just 32% of survey respondents, and even fewer — 15% cared what celebrities thought. While a whopping 45% of teens consider their parents their sexual role models.
The same study established that those teens who consider their parents to be their sexual role models showed that fewer are sexually active: 17% of boys and 22% of girls reported sexual activity, compared to 40% of boys and 39% of girls who said they were not influenced by their mum and dad.
However, parents are often unsure; too busy; too tired; deliberately avoid the topic or try to talk too early or too late to be helpful. In contrast, in the Netherlands, France, and Germany, a ‘rule of respect’ governs the way adults treat teenagers. They view them as contributing members of society, not problems to be solved. When there is positive communication with parents, there is a reduction of sexual risk taking in young adolescents. Parents have the capacity to share the lessons they have learnt from the mistakes they have made in their lives, which can make them more powerful role models. However, there needs to be clear boundaries about what both parents and tweens are prepared to share with each other. The stories on this app give both parents and tweens the option of sharing issues, while retaining their right to privacy.
In a recent research study, it was reported that “more than 25% in the 15 to 24 age range say they have never had any sexual contact with another person”. They are waiting longer before having their first sexual experiences than they did just a few years ago. By empowering them with knowledge, these young people are making informed decisions to both delay sex and have more respectful sexual relationships. ‘Parents, Tweens and Sex’ reflects these realities. It is not a typical manual on sexual facts and values. It has been designed for ‘minute grabs’ of specific topics, providing quizzes and psycho-education in the form of feedback analysis, which naturally converts to conversation starters. Tweens do want to be guided by parents but are limited by parent’s capacity to guide them. This ‘app’ has attempted to resolve that dilemma.
“More than 25% in the 15-24 age
range say they have never had any sexual contact with another person”
To protect the privacy of all the contributors to this app, their names and details have been changed. However, the stories and quotes used remain true accounts of each individual’s personal experiences.
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS THAT TWEENS HAVE ASKED ME:
“When we drink we forget our worries and just have sex for fun. Is this ok? I sometimes can’t remember after who I’ve had sex with.”
“How do you know if you’re gay/lesbian?”
“How can I get a best friend that I like, not as sex sort of friend but just a mate?”
“Can good things come out of (sexual) bullying? Like can I learn to laugh at it and then get stronger?”
Last year I fell pregnant to my boyfriend whilst I was on the pill. He freaked and told me his family couldn’t cope if we had a child now. So for him I made the ultimate sacrifice...my child. I had an abortion and I haven’t been the same since. People I talked to were never really able to help me. Over the last year I have become unbearably controlled by my emotions. It is so bad that one minute I’ll be as happy as ever and the next I’ll be bawling my eyes out over nothing important like there is no milk in the fridge or something stupid. I am so emotional all the time, what can I do?”
SHANNAN, AGE 16
“I’ve been watching porn for 6 years now and I think I know what’s meant to happen in sex but when I have sex, I only last for 20 minutes and my favorite porn star lasts two hours. When I ‘Googled’ it, it sounds like I have premature ejaculation. Can you help me?”
ARI, AGE 16
Teen Views on Sex
Here are some of the observations that older teenagers have shared with me during group discussions that explain their views on sex:
Pre-sex is oral sex and the girl has no say – it’s just what she is expected to do for the boy. Oral sex is safe sex so condoms aren’t necessary.
Relationship sex is when the girl can have her say too and when there is something in it for her as well. It’s safe not to use condoms if the girl is on the pill.
“Boys know that they mostly have to pressure the girls into anal sex.”
“Boys have more rights; Girls have to put out.”
“Girls can be sluts and boys can be man-whores but it’s only the boys who are cool.”
“Porn is so mainstream now.”
So, this site provides the resources, the means and the tips for having ‘those’ discussions. It's time to empower parents to work together with their tweens; schools; the media and the community to create safe sexual boundaries and provide positive role models to make healthy sex – sexy!
and Sarah's Definitions
I wanted to clarify my own definition of the specific terms I use repeatedly in Parents, Tweens and Sex.
Whether a person is a male or female based on their genetic make-up, genital sex, gonadal and hormonal sex.
H - Honesty
A - Attitude
P - Protection
P - Pleasure not pressure!
Y - Yes means yes and no means no!
A biological or adopted parent or, for the purposes of this ‘app’, an adult who is accepted as a mentor to a tween.
The ability to understand material of a sexual nature, to understand the emotions that you experience about this material and then to make informed choices about how you want to behave.
Confronting sexual issues are not covered in standard sex education material. They include challenging relationship issues, provoking sexual material in the media and on the web, and sexual situations that threaten the emotional and physical health of tweens.
Manual-genital contact and/or;
Penile-vaginal penetration and/or;
Oral-genital activity and/or;
Anal contact and/or;
In-be-tween children and teenagers – 10 to 13 year olds.
To begin... Go straight to the topic that interests you, read the stories, do the quizzes and enjoy the challenge!