Word to the Wise: Empowering Teens.

April 30, 2019

You can be a very important influence in the lives of your grandchildren and/or other young people. You can help create a system of support that enables them to have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child.

So often we see young people with their heads bent over their mobile phones. Some experts suggest this is one reason young people have been postponing their sex lives. But those phones provide a complicated landscape for them to mature in. This is especially true for teenage girls. The norms that govern their lives come from a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior. Time on social media diminishes time to develop personal communication skills. But we can provide a counter to that by opening up conversations with them directly.

Simply showing an interest in a young person’s life can make a huge difference to them. Show that you care for them as they are. It may seem intimidating to think of yourself as a mentor to discuss sex, love, and relationships with a young person. Many of us lacked mentors when we were growing up. Learning to weave such information into conversations may seem intimidating at first.

Fortunately, there are many resources on the internet to bring you up-to-date. Talking about the care of one’s body is a place to start. This can help take away the stigma and shame that often surround sex and body talk. You might share Stay Teen Org  and Love is Respect. And check out  Power To Decide and Bedsider.

You may even find it appropriate to talk about your own experiences. It’s more important to empower young people to take control of their own bodies than to share scare statistics with them. They will feel stronger if they know you love and support them as they make the many decisions they face in their lives.

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