Sexual activity among adolescents often is linked with other behaviors—such as using drugs and alcohol and dropping out of school. Talking to your teen about these other issues can open the door to conversations about sexuality and sexual activity.
- School Successes and Challenges: Education dominates the lives of most teenagers, yet parents don’t always know how to talk about school, grades, and school problems with their teens. Trouble in school can be a sign that teens are participating in, or thinking about, other risky behaviors. Finding ways to communicate about the everyday issues of school and relationships in school sets the stage for specific conversations about sexuality.
- Peer Relationships: Peer relationships are the springboard for sexual activity and can be the source of pressure to experiment sexually. They also can reinforce—or undermine—messages about healthy sexuality.
- Positive Values: Parents sometimes struggle with talking about things that are important to them (their values), especially when their teens seem to be developing values that are different than their parent’s values.
- Online Safety: Sexual content online, plus the risk of sexual solicitation through the Internet, make ongoing discussion of Internet safety critical for today’s families.
- Bullying and Violence: There is a significant relationship between engaging in violence and experiencing bullying and sexual activity in adolescence.
- Money: Talking about money often is difficult and can create tension between adolescents and parents.
- Alcohol: Research shows a strong correlation between sexual activity and alcohol use among adolescents.
- Tobacco: Teens who smoke or use other forms of tobacco are more likely to be sexually active.
- Illegal Drugs: Research shows a strong correlation between sexual activity and use of illegal drugs among adolescents.