Does Abstinence-only Education Work?

Posted September 4, 2008 by

Now, look, I know this isn’t a political blog. But Sarah Palin’s situation — having a 17-year-old daughter who is pregnant — provides a teachable moment for ourselves, and, more importantly, for our kids. Obviously the abstinence-only message didn’t work for Palin’s daughter. Do you think that abstinence-only education works, in general? I’m looking not for statistical evidence — it’s easy enough to find on either side, and easily biased and easily skewed — but rather for anecdotal evidence. For a gut feeling. What do you want your kids to know? Do you want to teach them, or do you want their school to teach them? Do you think that a pro-abstinence message is compromised by a follow-up that includes information about birth control — how to obtain it, how to use it — or do you think the abstinence-only message has to stand on its own to be effective?

And do you think it’s a good idea for a 17-year-old to marry the father of her baby? Is it what you would want for your own teen, if he or she were to find themself in that position?


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  1. Keri Report

    As someone who was formerly very sexually active as a teenager and young adult, I used to believe that I didn’t suffer any damaging effects as a result of my sleeping around. But there were many, many scars on my heart that I was refusing to acknowledge.

    I understand that there are those of you who truly believe that sleeping around, even if its only with one other person before marriage isn’t harmful – but believe me it can be.

    I struggled for many years with the physical and psychological consequences of my sexual activity. I’ve even gone back to some of my previous partners asking them for their forgiveness for my callous use of them for my own sexual gratification.

    So, do I think abstinence education works? Yes and no. I believe it should be offered alongside sexual education in schools, and that parents should be talking with their children from birth about their intrinsic value, and why it is important to save themselves for their husband/wife. I know that seems archaic to some, but considering the consequences I’ve seen in many lives –especially those women, myself included, who’ve gone to Planned Parenthood and been bullied into nearly having an abortion (a late term one at that)–why would we tell our sons and daughters its okay if you have sex, just educate and protect yourself, if we know the damage it can and/or will do to them later in life?

  2. Amber Report

    I also have a 9 year old daughter who has no self worth, and does not know how beautiful she is and how much she is worth. Her step mom rides her really hard on stuff that just should not be that big of a deal in my book e.g. matching cloths perfectly for example. She is insuline resistant and has a small weight problem, which we are getting on top of, and we are trying to teach her how to eat appropriatly and how often to check her sugars and so on. She has gotten a good grasp on that but seems to use it as an attention getter also. I dont know if I am not spending enough time with my kids, or is it that I am not spending enough quality time with them…what am I doing wrong?? Any suggestions on this one. Oh also, she is an early developer and very self concious about that, how do I help her understand that it is ok and that she is not a freak of nature, that it is just a part of life?

    A little info or input on this one would be nice also. Thank you, Amber

  3. Anna Janice Report

    It is quite evident that that there are varied viewpoints. Ultimately the bigger question is what message do we want our children to hear? What is our core value? I believe in consistency, we sometimes don’t give credit to the young people in our lives. They see what we say and do. Unless we remind them to have the ultimate respect for their bodies, and whoever professes to love them has first and foremost to respect their bodies. The challenge is to teach our children what sexes really is, a beautiful union and not an impulsive act or a rite of passage caused by raging hormones.
    We need to stop giving mixed messages because we are afraid they will fail, remember they know us too well. If the expectation is that they will fail why should they even try?
    It is my prayer that our children will choose purity above the pressure of their peers/and a culture that sells sexes. May we have grace for them and their friends when they make bad choices.

  4. mary Report

    I became a believer in teaching teens abstinence when I was in my early 30’s ( I am 47 now). I heard on the radio that a girl does have a choice, the choice not to spread her legs. It stings of offensive language for a minute but then use see the truth. During that same radio show I first learned that women have misgivings and sometimes emotional pain from their teenage trist, 10 – 20 years later. Toni,it sounds like you were one of the lucky ones, to escape the heartache.
    Why must our society teach”it is your body have fun,use this protection and you don’t have to worry about the consequences?” Yet that same society probably teaches their children, better safe than sorry and there are consequences to fire or fast driving or not going to school or not eating or eating to much etc. etc. etc. Where is the logic, have protected sex (which is not 100% protected) before you are ready but, don’t put you hand in the fire, beacause you will get burnt!
    Not only teaching abstinence to our children and everything the other bloggers said, and also teach to be proactive, not reactive, in life and use self-control, will help them have a happier life! I wish that message was offered to our children outside of the home & in the media. I know we can not protect our children from all misery, but if we can protect one more it is worth it!
    It is refreshing to hear some of my peers feel the same way about abstinence as myself and my husband.

  5. Glynn Report

    If abstinence is practiced, it DOES work 100% of the time. Otherwise, your children are choosing the sexually active route and that needs to be dealt with. They are making an unwise and potentially dangerous choice.

  6. jean stewart Report

    I believe in abstinence, but I also believe in being open to choices/consequences (good or bad) that our kids might make. My two children (one a teenager) are both ADOPTED: from birthmothers that were pregnant without trying to be: one connected with drugs at a party, and the other from a date rape. These kids are the light of my life, and I hope that they don’t have to be put in the same situations as their birthmothers: you can believe we talk about these issues (age appropriate). You can bet I want them to delay sexual activity until they are able to support a family, and be VERY picky about partners: monogamous is best. But the biggest reason to abstain? I think is to have the best sex with your “forever” partner, and that means working on the other parts of the relationship first. But for all the reasons listed above, I want my kids to have sex for the right reasons: intimacy in a strong relationship, and not to prove something or for immediate gratification. Our kids can be smart about it: help them think through consequences.

  7. Lorraine Report

    Toni, If you teach your kids comprehensively, and I do the same, that alone cuts down on the number of kids that won’t be able to say “I didn’t know that…” when they do engage in sex (’cause I am pretty sure they are not going to ask us for permission first…). Knowledge IS Powerful. I did not push my kids into sexual behavior, but I made sure that they had the knowledge of what they were facing, what could happen and what to do to protect themselves IF and When they made the choice to cross that line. Relatively speaking my kids were late bloomers compared to their peers. Both my older girls waited until after they graduated high school prior to becoming sexually active. My younger two are only 10 & 8 so they aren’t even thinking that way yet. We have open, controlled discussions in our house, and all my children know that they can come to me with questions and that I will answer those questions factually and honestly. Particularly about misinformation that they hear in school among their peers — Like Oral sex isn’t ‘really’ sex. I hope that will continue to happen even after they are married….

  8. toni vitanza Report

    Well, I think I already left the counterpoint blog post, Bill!
    I wanted to add a couple of things, in reading responses.
    I’ve heard about these banquets where dads and daughters celebrate the girl’s pledge to remain a virgin til marriage.
    Am I the only person who thinks this sounds sorta creepy? And do the BOYS have banquets with their MOMS to make the same promise? Isn’t part of growing up developing a private life that we don’t share with our parents? Isn’t that what the psychologists call a “healthy boundary”?
    Do you realize that by asking a young person to remain a virgin til marriage, you are helping to insure that they marry YOUNG? Is that necessarily a good thing? For those of us who were single ’til our 30s and beyond…do you think we should all remain virgins?
    You say you want our kids to wait until they are “ready/married.” What does “ready” mean, if it doesn’t mean “capable of understanding, obtaining and using contraception”?
    I want everyone to know that I never felt emotionally damaged by having sex when I did or with the men with whom I did. It didn’t scar me for life. I don’t know where in any Bible it says that I shouldn’t have. If it does, well, it also says we should put homosexuals to death, and witches too, and that, if my husband dies, I should become one of the wives of his oldest surviving brother, and that disobedient children should be stoned. I thought Jesus came and changed all those rules.
    I just hope that the kids that are told to “wait,” (until what?) or “wait until they’re married,” are then, in the next breath, told exactly what to do if they choose not to wait. Like…oh, yeah…use some birth control. And here’s how.

  9. Elisabeth Report

    Wow, this topic has really got people talking — thanks to Toni for posting it and to everyone who’s gotten on and posted a comment. This is obviously a conversation that’s been waiting to happen! I also wanted to mention to everyone that EP is still looking for more parent bloggers. If, as Bill suggested above, anyone is interested in doing a “counterpoint” to this post and/or in becoming one of our parent bloggers, please email me at .

  10. Bill Report

    I agree with others here that are saying that each case is different, but I also agree with those that say that the parent’s role in encouraging abstinence (waiting until the child is ready/married) is central.

    Our society is SOOO sexed up. I find the following facts very compelling (cited here

    Do you know that 53% of high school students have not had sexual intercourse?

    Do you know that, according to one survey, two-thirds of teens who have had sexual intercourse wish they had waited?

    Do you know that when parents tell their teenager they want them to wait, their son or daughter is more likely to wait?

    We DO have a role to play. It’s a tough conversation, but one we should have. Our kids will thank us for it. It’s easier if parents speak up and support each other… I’d like to see a counter point blog post.

  11. lewelen Report

    I worked all year and have just been given the go that our school will be using a 30 minute video regarding abstinence. Texas Health teaches abstinence but mainly what kids worry about most is getting pregnant. This isn’t just what needs to be focused on. The program that I have is either faith based or public school based and is by Pam Stensel. It talks about the permanent emotional scars of not waiting not to mention the now OVER 30 STDs compared to the 5 we knew about 30 years ago.
    Females are most affected. Most have no symptoms.
    Most are treatable – Many are for a lifetime.

    This video series also includes a young couple who waited til marriage. They discuss how it is difficult but doable.

    I think you can offer students/teens something that hits home with them and it will at LEAST make them stop and think before they make that home run outside of marriage.

    It can’t hurt is how I look at it.

  12. Rich Report

    God is on everyone’s side; not the right, left,
    Christian or non-Christian. Christ died for all
    of us. All you have to do is ask God to be at your
    side and He will be there. God bless you, your children
    and all the children out there that need more God in
    there lives.

  13. Lorraine Report

    For those of you who believe that our teenagers are not changing their behavior — check out the following link:

    The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
    The National Campaign seeks to improve the well-being of children, youth, families, and the nation by preventing unwanted and teen pregnancy.

    Research also shows based on self-reporting by teens that those that receive comprehensive sex education are actually much more likely to delay the onset of their first sexual experience because they have been given the facts and are armed with the most up to date knowledge of what they’ll be dealing with when the time comes.

  14. toni vitanza Report

    Well, this is your original poster, age 47 and the mother of a son, 15. And I can’t resist chiming in with an answer to the original question. My answer is, “No.” I can’t write a pro-abstinence-only message because I don’t believe in it. Never have, never will. It denies the humanity of our kids and is an insult to them and to all of our intelligence. Ignorance never works. It’s never good. Telling people not to have sex never works and that includes “abstinence only.” Some pretty reputable statistics exist that show it just doesn’t work. The people who don’t like birth-control education, and who consider it a “hot-button” topic, will find their own statistics to trot out (from right-wing evangelical “think tanks”) and will ignore mine, so I’m not going to get into a numbers game. Part of me says there’s no use trying to have any kind of discussion like this when people believe they and they alone have God on their side. So I won’t try that.

    You CAN make the case that, what with all the stuff we’re doing such a great job of NOT teaching, like math and science and reading, why should we even TRY to teach about health and birth control? Now, THERE’S a case against teaching birth control. Of course, we don’t jettison football programs and cheerleading and arts programs — well, ok, we jettison arts programs — to make more room for any of that math and English stuff. So we must not really consider the educational situation THAT dire. (And probably won’t until the world is being run by third-world people with first-rate educations.) But when it comes to helping these kids figure out how not to have a baby, something SO fundamental to managing one’s life, well, maybe there just isn’t time in the day for math, English AND football and maybe the arts and contraception TOO.

    There wasn’t a pregnant 7th or 8th grader at my son’s middle school in the last three years (and believe me, there were half a dozen or so) who didn’t have complete access to the internet, a Seventeen magazine, a school nurse, and who didn’t know that sex leads to pregnancy. Almost all of them, as far as I know (and believe me, I know) expressed the desire that they WANTED to get pregnant and had been trying to do so. Their families were thrilled…one used the word “ecstatic.” I heard it myself. Because … and these parents were shameless … these girls were going to give birth to babies who would bring in a Social Security check that was disappearing from the families due to an older child “aging out” of benefits. These were non-working parents who hadn’t bothered to provide the most cursory supervision of their daughters. I’ll be blunt here: These were very low-functioning young women from very marginal families. We didn’t lose any of our best and brightest to the blight of unwed motherhood at the middle school. (There are probably girls with more promising futures affected at the high school.) That sounds cruel, but it’s the truth. And even THESE girls had access to information. You can walk to any of the drugstores in town and buy a box of condoms and no one here is going to ask how old you are.

    So you can make the case against birth control education that way, too. But you’d better not try to make the case with me by saying that this is stuff only parents should teach. Parents should provide breakfast and lunch, too, and school supplies, and supervision, and teach their kindergarteners the ABCs, but they don’t, and when they don’t, the school does. Somebody HAS to.

    My son’s high school handles it like this. They send a note home with ninth-graders, saying that “health topics” are going to be covered, either in PE or in ROTC (which substitutes for PE here). My son is in ROTC. They say that PE teachers will teach the PE students, and that the school nurse will teach the ROTC students. They have us sign a form allowing our kid to attend class for this presentation. If we don’t want our kid to attend, we are told that our kid will be given an alternate assignment. We are told that abortion (they use the word in the note to parents) and “alternative lifestyles” will NOT be covered. They tell us that abstinence will be emphasized. (That’s the word they use.) They do not tell us if abstinence is the only thing that will be taught, but, believe me, it will not be the only thing taught in MY house. And if that means I or my husband have to get out a cucumber and a condom and embarrass my son, THEN SO BE IT. I am up to that task. What I am not up to is having my son’s future and my retirement income compromised by the necessity to rear a granchild or to pay some (possibly opportunistic?) young woman and/or her family to do so.

    I was ready to have sex at 17. How did I know I was ready? Because when I decided I wanted to have sex with my boyfriend, who was 22, I’d just gotten home from a summer as a foreign exchange student in Europe. It was 1978 and I was beginning my senior year at what was then a rural high school well-known at the time for having the highest teen pregnancy rate in the county. I knew several teen moms and several more who’d had abortions. I’d paid for that trip to Europe myself, with a job I had after school. (By the way, I had straight As and was looking forward to college.) I came home, realized that I was ready, and made an appointment with Planned Parenthood in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. I took a Saturday off from work, got in the car I’d purchased myself, filled it with gas I purchased myself, and drove the 45 minutes or so and found the clinic. I parked and went inside. I filled out tons of forms and sat through two intense, specific, information-filled video and in-person nurse presentations with 50 or so other young women, many of whom had tons of questions, and I sat through it in Spanish AND in English, and it covered every possible form of birth control, and the nurse began with saying “The word “No” is a form of birth control.” Then she started with the cucumber and the condom and proceeded apace. I waited all day and it was my turn. I went into the exam room, got my pap smear and pelvic exam, and got my pills. They gave me a six-month supply, as I recall, and insisted I take a handful of condoms for until my pills became effective (I never used them; this was pre-AIDS) and they told me to come back and get the rest of my pills in six months. I kept going back for 17 YEARS, to Planned Parenthood clinics in three states. GOD BLESS PLANNED PARENTHOOD. Planned Parenthood did more to insure my education than my parents or the government. I NEVER missed a pill and I never got pregnant until I wanted to in my mid-30s. I never got an STD. I took that first package and had a period before I had sex. I have no regrets about having sex at 17, never have, and I dare anybody to tell me I wasn’t ready. In fact, I’m rather proud of how I handled myself, given what I see. I see grown women, mothers already, who handle their reproductive lives a whole lot less responsibly than I did at 17. I’m not saying I was an ordinary kid. By many accounts, I was not. I was a good kid, a bright kid, and I got two BAs and went to grad school and had sex and lightning didn’t strike me and the man I eventually married didn’t care that he wasn’t in “possession” of the “clean merchandise” beforehand. So don’t tell me that there’s no 17-year-old ready to have sex. It just obviously isn’t Bristol Palin or others like her. Even though I don’t really remember being taught birth-control methods in school, I knew the information was available to me at a library or in a magazine or by asking people I trusted to know, like a nurse. I found Planned Parenthood in a phone book. So if we’re not going to teach it, we need to make sure the information and products are available and tell our kids where to look and how to get them. Oh, yeah, and make sure they know how to read, so they can avail themselves of it, and make sure they believe they have a future outside of parenthood, so they have the motivation to do so.

  15. lianne Report

    just an observation….all these years of sex education and, making condoms available, has NOT caused kids to protect themselves but instead led us to a generation of more teenage parents and teenage std’s than ever before. just an observation.

    my opinion: educate on the value of abstinence and the consequence of activity. as the blogger before stated, condoms do not prevent pregnancy or disease one hundred percent of the time and kids need to know that too.

  16. Liz Report

    Seems that we’re focused only on the consequences of premarital sex being the conception and birth of a child. Speaking from personal experience, abstinence is the only way to preserve dignity. Other consequences like depression and suicide as well as various curable and incurable diseases.
    Abstinence is the only way.
    Less gratuitous sexual situations on TV. Have you heard the rap lately, please…………
    I love the advancements in life that we have and many I would prefer not to live without, but we need to step back into some sort of modesty and respect for ourselves.

  17. Lorraine Report

    I am the mother of four (children range from 20yrs down to 8yrs), and have worked as an Prevention Health Educator for 16 years. Having worked with many, many youth over the course of my career, this is what I know — many schools give kids the ‘science’ of STDs, puberty, and abstinence without any real knowledge of how to apply that information to the ‘real’ world they are currently living in. When I ask parents about the current bevy of STDs that are out there, many parents aren’t familiar with what’s bacterial (curable), what’s viral (not curable, but sometimes preventable), and what’s new since they were kids. Neither do our children, and I believe that we are really shortchanging our children by not giving them all the facts before THEY make the decision whether or not to engage in sex. Many of us have come to expect that when we go to our primary care physician and something comes up that he/she can’t handle, or doesn’t have the expert knowledge to guide us, we are going to be referred to an specialist. In my opinion, this should also be true for comprehensive sex education. Every human being on the planet is born a sexual being and will remain that way until the day they die. It is an integral part of human condition. I believe that comprehensive sex education should be a part of a core curriculum just like math, english, and science. And it should start in elementary school and ‘build up’ just like all other subjects do.

  18. Heather Report

    Oh, I just thought of something else… using birth control also requires great self-discipline and self control.. hmmm. if kids aren’t that responsible yet, perhaps they shouldn’t be engaging in risky behaviors.

    If you’re not ready to have a baby with that person, then you shouldn’t have sex with them. I think that is easier than ‘use a condom, but remember how to do it correctly, and it still might not work’.

  19. Heather Report

    Well, abstinance itself is the only way to never become pregnant, for what it’s worth. There is no other ‘birth control’ method with a 100% effectiveness rate. IF you abstain, you will not become pregnant.

    If you are on the pill, you may become pregnant and you can definitely become diseased. If you use a condom, you may still become pregnant and/or pick up a disease. Abstinance has neither risk.

    It’s actually pretty simple, and yes, I’ve been young, and I’ve been alone with young men, and I abstained until I became married (oh, how self-controlled and old fashioned of me!) What’s more, so did my husband, who was almost 30 and in the US Army – and no, he’s not lying to me. It’s important to your spouse that you can say you were faithful to your marriage even before it was established.

    My kids know all about sex, and they also know how much it means to someone to remain faithful. How does one ‘become’ faithful after not being faithful? That’s a hard thing. Abstinance is actually pretty simple. It does, however, require a determined, thoughtful, self-controlled approach to dating or courtship.

  20. Caroline Report

    Most of us responding to this blog are active parents in our children’s lives. Our children are blessed to have parents like us who care enough about them to even be on this website researching how to be better parents. It is our job to teach our children right from wrong and the consequences for making poor decisions. My feeling about the schools involvement with sex education is that it is to reach out to those children who are not fortunate enough to have the parental care and attention that we give our children. The schools can not single out the ones who have parental teachings and those that do not. I feel that it is important for someone to reach out to those children even if it comes from the school. If the schools can reach just one student through their teachings, that is one less teenage pregnancy. If we are doing a good job teaching our children we will be able to decipher with our children what is being taught in the schools vs. what we are teaching at home.

  21. Patty W. Report

    I read an article many years ago that cited research showing that young women with clearly defined goals for their education/career/future family, were less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior than girls without such goals. Made sense to me! So in addition to the practical and moral information we provide our girls (and boys!) regarding sex, helping them have a goal-oriented plan for their life is essential.

  22. Sally Report

    I am a Grandmother of 7 and Mom of 2. Each child chose different paths in this subject. I was 19 when I had my first child and the 2nd two years later. My mother was very loving and her #1 rule was whatever decision you make, you will have to live with it and the consequences. She taught us to be self-sufficient and not rely on our parents to “bail us out”. I see this a lot in the youth of today. Teenagers expect their parents to “fix” any problems they should encounter. The Scriptures tell us to raise our children to “leave us”..give them all the tools they need to make decisions as best they can and teach them there are always consequences to their choices. Give them your support, but don’t “fix it” for them. How else will they learn the consequences to their actions? I think it would help them to have a parent (or someone they respect) who would take the time to go through some “scenarios” of tempting situations they may encounter, so they can learn how best to handle a situation ahead of it actually happening. Above all, I think a good many of our children (and most likely their parents and grandparents) have lost the ability to “bend their knees” and asked for God’s guidance. I know for me learning this has given me the strength and courage to handle what happens in my life, my children’s lives and my grandchilren’s lives. Grandparents and parents have a wealth of knowledge and experiences to offer and they can be a great resource to their children. Maybe sharing your experiences with your kids can help them make the correct decision.

  23. Tim Report

    Teens are going to experiment. Abstinence-only programs only promote pregnancy among teens who do experiment since they have been taught no other way. We must teach the kids how to protect themselves since the parents won’t.

  24. Carol Simonson Report

    As a grandmother and a maternity nurse, including 2 years as director of a program in a public school in New Mexico for pregnant and parenting teens (both boys and girls), I know the heartache, confusion, guilt, joy, uncertainty, etc. which come with an adolescent who is pregnant.
    I believe we have a head-in-the-sand attitude towards the sexuality of teenagers in this country. Although you don’t want statistics quoted here, please pay attention to the fact that teenagers in the Scandinavian countries, for example, are as sexually active as teenagers in the US but the rate of pregnancy among that group is much lower than ours. This has been true for many years. Sexuality and sex education is open and freely given in those countries. Teens are acknowledged as having raging hormones and needing help knowing how to handle the emotions these hormones cause. We need to give accurate information while including each family’s cultural and religious beliefs to our children. I believe it starts in the home with how little children see their parents interacting and grows from that up to peer pressure and the influences in the world around them such as TV and movie portrals. It isn’t either the parents’ or the schools’ responsibility alone but needs to include both as sources of accurate information on the topic. We need to demonstrate our beliefs to our children because actions speak louder than words, as we all know! The children will pick up knowledge wherever it is offered. However, that is often inaccurate information from peers and TV and movie portrals of sexual interaction among adults and the actual workings of the human body. Be honest with teenagers and help them make reasonable decisions on their own interactions with the opposite sex. It is truly sad to hear all the spectulation, and advice, re. Gov. Palin’s daughter. What I hear on talk radio, for example, is so biased and hurtful and is doing nothing to help us sort through this issue.
    I know this has been a long statement but I hope it will add positively to the discussion.

  25. Wendy Report

    I didn’t have sex as a teenager.

    It took nearly four years of college to demoralize me. I “willingly” gave myself to a dork at the age of 22.

  26. Gwendolyn Report

    Absolutely-abstinence education works. If one failure had to mean the whole approach was wrong, then we wouldn’t have condoms either. This culture has been trivializing marriage, motherhood, and sex for decades. It’s no wonder kids don’t have a clue when they hook up with their friends or strangers what they’re doing to their whole lives. Abstinence education is the only hope we have of restoring the real beauty of marriage and sex, for that matter.

    Next question, if we’re so helpless to control our hormonal urges, why MUST it be wrong for someone under 20 to get married? Is the problem with our biology or our society?

  27. Kat Report

    Dear Friends, I wanted to make a couple of suggestions that seem to be working quite well with my children (hope it continues).The first one is a recomendation from the niece of the late Dr.Martin Luther King, Alveda King. She said dating was a bad idea because it put 2 teenages and their hormones alone together, but “courting ” in the old-fashioned sense of the word was best. Try having you child’s boy/girl friend over to do all the things the family does. It takes the pressure off until they are old enough to support a family should they want to marry. The second recomendation is that teens and their parents would all benefit from a class called Theolgy of the Body, which teaches Christ’s relationship with us and the preciousness of the vessel of our soul – our bodies.(You can find it if you google Christopher West). Show them the pictures of what the STDs look like on a body and that most aren’t curable and you get to give that to your someday wife/husband, maybe they end up sterile or worse. Pregnancy isn’t the worst thing, the STDs scare my kids more. You can get some from just kissing and touching an infected person.


  28. Shelley Report

    With children such as Palin and Spears who are having children outside of marriage and at a very young age … I think that we are missing a very major point: they are HAVING the child. They did not choose to abort it.

    Most teenagers have engaged in sexual behaviour. To think otherwise is, I believe, terribly naive. In my mind, what speaks loudest about these parents is not that their girls are doing the same as most others are … but that their children have chosen life, rather than an easy way out of their problem. If the girls had quietly gone and had an abortion, the whole issue would never have made the news.

    However, that was not the question here. My boys are only 5 and 9, so hopefully this issue is still some years away for us. However, we will teach out boys abstinence. It is the only guaranteed way to protect against pregnancy and disease. We also believe, morally, that sex should be reserved for marriage.

    We are not naive, and we realize that just because a parent says something does not mean the children will do that … but we can hope and pray. If our boys were to get a girl pregnant, there is no way we would permit a marriage to follow. They’ve made one huge mistake … let’s not compound it with another one. They would take responsibility for the child, definitely. But marriage is not something to be entered into lightly, and accidentally creating a child together is definitely not a basis for building a life together.

  29. mary Report

    Hello, my son have 14 years old, how and when I have to talk to him directly about sex, I was talking but not to strong, I think this is according of the age, please can you give to me any orientation.

    God Bless you
    Mary Santana

  30. Mary Beth Report

    Personally, I think when the schools ventured into teaching our kids “safe sex” we as parents completely abdicated our personal role in this area. My husband and I teach our kids that there is no such thing as safe sex outside marriage. They know that a baby is a logical consequence of sex and if that is not your intention or timing then you had better keep your pants on. Now, that being said, kids certainly haven’t mastered the art of personal restraint anymore than most adults I know. My kids are certainly aware that there are contraceptives out there. What boy doesn’t know about condoms!!!! However, just like a driver’s ed instructor doesn’t tell the kids to “just keep it under 70 b/c everybody does it” I would not tell my kids “here’s a condom, play it safe just in case.” What we do spend a lot of time doing is lovingly exploring the consequences of bad timing. How to avoid putting ourselves in situations where our hormones start doing the talking. Putting ourselves in place of the baby and thinking about being brought into the world without two loving parents that can support and nuture. I know my kids aren’t perfect and will mess up for sure. I do NOT want the schools giving contradictory messages to my kids and I really don’t want them distributing contraceptives without my knowledge. Abstinence is the only 100% foolproof contraceptive. I will love and support my kids regardless but not without first teaching and coaching conversationally as soon as they can understand.

  31. Vicky Report

    There must be a balance….I agee with a lot of what Angie states……there is SMI (so much information) out there that the kids minds have to choose from and some are and are not ready to make the choices…..we just have to be there for them and encourage them that everything that glitters is not gold and try to be the mentors, friends, parents and teachers we need to be….by His grace, I’ll think we will make it….as long as the moneychangers are making money and getting away with their own indescrections to satisfy themselves we must be the advocate for them and fight for them when ever we can….my daughter is 13yrs old and we have open discussions and she says aw Mom!!!…but I talk to her any, expecially in lew of the fact that there is a 14 yr old girl pregnant that is attending her school…..they have no clue about what challenges life can bring…..

  32. Angie Report

    I find it confounding that we are still debating this issue as a nation. I am 45 years old, and this conversation has been going on for at least 30 years of my life. When I was younger I had the impression that the purpose of sex education was to eliminate teenage pregnancy. The previous poster made a great observation that what motivates one child may not motivate another. It seems to me that our children are caught up in extremely confusing opposite messages. Parents and schools may be advising abstinence, but almost all their other influences are promoting sexual behavior. Face it – it isn’t just movies and music, just watch tv in the evening! Sex sells everything from cars to beverages. A few years ago there was a commercial for a hamburger featuring a woman sexily clad and draping herself all over a vehicle. That ad didn’t stay on the air for long. It is the most blatant example I can remember. There is another thing that doesn’t seem to get much attention – the biology of being a teenager. There are forces driving them that we apparently do not understand how to manage. I think we often focus on those situations that make the news, like Bristol Palin and Jamie Spears, make judgements about their life and their parents, and never go any further. The schools teach the kids about the biology of puberty and sex, parents teach their own morals both directly and indirectly, and the teenagers make decisions that can have a lifelong impact. I do not have the answer. I have a 17 year old son with whom I have discussed not just the biology of sex but also the moral and spiritual impact. I also let my son know that in the event of a pregnancy I would support adoption because the child would deserve a better life than he could provide at this stage in his life. I recently learned that he made the decision to have sex. He expected me to fly off the wall about it. He was surprised when I didn’t. I did not condone his actions, and I advised that he be cautious in his relationship decisions. In a way we are still working through it. The revelation came in discussions dealing with his break up with his first “serious” girlfriend. He has surprised me in many positive ways in these discussions. He demonstrates high moral standards with definite ideas on right and wrong. He was in love, and sex was part of that. Now he is dealing with the fact that she doesn’t love him anymore. So, I do not have the answer. I suspect the answer is different for everyone. Most parents do the best they can to teach their children to walk the right path in life. As they go through their teenage years and begin to gain more independence they make decisions that we don’t agree with. Just like when they were little, we have to let them learn from their mistakes by suffering the consequences. My prayer is that the consequences are not life-shattering.

  33. hairgal Report

    yikes. I just reread my post and it has many typos in it..sorry about that< I really am an educated woman.
    please excuse them. I could not find anything to edit
    or scroll back.

  34. hairgal Report

    As a parent of a 17 year old daughter I will state what I have told my daughter about what would happen if she were to get pregnant while in school. Absoultely there would be no marriage while in school. As to what I would say if actually faced with that decision I can not say. What we think we would say or do and what we would say or do is sometimes not the same. I do not believe that two wrongs decisions would make anything right.
    As far as sex education, our school has an abstinence program that has been taught and I approve of that. However I have also taught my daughter about sex and condoms and what they do and do not prevent and how nothing is 100% effective preventing pregnancy and disease. The controvsersial subject as I see it is that some parents will not talk to their kids about sex and how would no sex education affect them. Im not sure what motivates a child to remain a virgin, would it be fear? would it be morals or something else? I think for each child it would be a different answer, perhaps we should spend more time in actually finding the answer to that question than on what and where to teach sex education. How to do that? Communication between parents, teachers, peers, mentors?



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