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Parents don’t believe their kids have sex

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
http://www.bostonherald.com/entertai...kids_have_sex/

"The research of Dr. Sinikka Elliott indicates they may be an anomaly. The assistant sociology professor at North Carolina State University says she’s found that parents believe that other teens are having sex — and lots of it.

But their sweet, fresh-faced babies? No way. Especially the boys.

"With boys, I found that parents described their own sons as young, naive, immature," said Elliott. "What I think they were doing was illustrating to me, they’re not really like these other boys."

As for daughters, the whole "good girl/bad girl" stereotype was handy. "My daughter’s not like that," the parents told Elliott. "But I do know there are girls out there who are like that."
post #2 of 45
Can't say I am horribly surprised. I have met some vary naive parents when it comes to the idea of their child even thinking about another person in that way.

It does bug me though, mostly because I know that most likely they will either 1) have kids who grow up being great at lying or 2) find out and flip out or be horribly disappointed and their kids just back off more and hide more or what they do.
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
Can't say I am horribly surprised. I have met some vary naive parents when it comes to the idea of their child even thinking about another person in that way.

It does bug me though, mostly because I know that most likely they will either 1) have kids who grow up being great at lying or 2) find out and flip out or be horribly disappointed and their kids just back off more and hide more or what they do.
No kidding. My mother was convinced that my sister was a virgin on her wedding day - at 30 years old, marrying the guy who'd been her boyfriend since she was 14. Because a nice girl like that would NEVER have sex before she was married
post #4 of 45
And some parents know their kids and are right about it.
post #5 of 45
I do think many parents probably do think the way the article says. I know when I was a teen my friends' parents seemed to have that out look, their kids were virginal saints but their friends were sex having 'bad' girls trying to warp their children. Hmm I think only one set of parents was right about their child not having sex yet.
I don't prescribe to the good girl/bad girl sentiment or the "purity" thing and find them disturbing.
That said I do think it's important for children to develop at their own rate and my 13 year old daughter isn't interested in relationships yet much less sex. We have an open dialogue about it and I hope we continue too.
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
And some parents know their kids and are right about it.


I started having sex when I was 17-years-old - nearly two years after I started dating my first - and at the time, only - boyfriend. My Mom knew because I told her beforehand that I was making an appointment with my gynecologist (seen because I have endometriosis, then misdiagnosed as dysmenorrhea) to ask about switching my birth control because I was pretty sure that sexual activity was nearby in my future and I wanted to be sure that I didn't get pregnant.

That being said, I completely believe that article - I was the only one of my friends who told their parents flat out that they were sexually active - and I was in college at the time so most of my friends were at least 21-years-old or so.
post #7 of 45
from the article:
Quote:
The mindset, at least in the South, is: If you don’t talk about it with your kids and your friends, it’s not happening. Everything is fine, just fine.
Ouch, so true... I know of many kids whose parents have no idea what they're doing, or if they do suspect something they're in deep denial. :\
post #8 of 45
We aren't there yet, but most of the parents are clueless about the fact that their kids have boyfriends/girlfriends.
post #9 of 45
Having met a ton of people who remain in total denial that kids can even undergo puberty before the age of 12-13, that article doesn't surprise me.

I don't all teens have sex, in fact I think it's probaby LESS than the media/our collective imaginations portray. I also think that people tend to be in denial about what "type" of kid has sex--I mean, I actually knew MORE people in my fundamentalist church youth group that were "messing around" than the drama kids I hung out with.

So I can totally see the "Oh, my kids are too innocent, it's all those other kids that are bad" type of reaction. As if sophistication, clothing style, ect. has anything to do with whether or not someone is having sex! MOST kids are naive/"innocent". MOST kids do not dress like streetwalkers. MOST kids who are having sex actually are normal and blend in quite well with any given group.
post #10 of 45
"Elliott, who interviewed 47 parents in Austin, Texas, then another 18 fathers in the Raleigh area, is a qualitative researcher, meaning she interviews a few people in-depth. That means her research doesn’t necessarily represent a wide cross-section of parents, so she can’t conclude that most parents share the perceptions of the ones she interviewed."

I think that the article overgeneralizes that all teens are having sex and lying about it to their parents, which is just as bad as overgeneralizing that nobody's kid is having sex. The sample is simply too small to make any conclusions and it seems like irresponsible reporting (and research).

If you took a sample from MDC, I believe you'd find overwhelmingly that almost all parents talk to their kids, have open relationships with their teens, and know REALISTICALLY whether or not their kids are having sex. I'm sure that doesn't represent a "majority" any more than the sample used in the research this article reported on.
post #11 of 45
I didn't get the idea from the article that all teens are having sex. Only that most parents seem to be in their own little world where all the other teens are having sex, but theirs aren't.

Wen I talk to other parents outside of the MDC type group (and in some cases inside, not pointing finger just that I have seen it previously) it seems to be that parents just generally don't want to think of their kids as sexual beings. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard some variation of "my child is X years old, he/she is only thinking about school/sport/toys/etc. He/she has no business thinking about dating and sex." I would be able to retire tomorrow.
post #12 of 45
I'm pretty sure my parents thought I was having sex long before I did. But then my older sister got pregnant at 14.
post #13 of 45
Not all parents that have young teens who happen not to be interested in relationships or sex yet are just being naive/head in the sand or not wanting to see their kids as sexual beings but they actually just know their child and where they are at. It's not a value judgment, just fact.
There's nothing wrong with a young teen being interested in relationships/sex but there's also nothing wrong with them not being interested. Neither holds more value and both are perfectly normal.
post #14 of 45
Yeah but if we trust what most parents say then no person under the age of 25 is even remotely interested in the formation of intimate relationships. That is just not the way it is though. Sure there is the odd young teen who isn't interested, but by the very nature of the growing human body, most young teens have thought about, or explored the idea of relationships and sex.

What holds value is more parents understanding that what they want (teen not interested in sex) and what is true are more often than not two very opposite things. When you accept that it is a possibility and approach things from the point of view "You may or may not be thinking about it now, but chances are you will start in the next year" and discuss things from the POV that even if they aren't interested in a relationship, they are still sexual beings then it just opens a whole new world of comfort for the teen in doing what they know is best for them. As opposed to doing what everyone else tells them to do, while tell mom and dad what they want to hear.

And the fact still remains, you (general you) don't know what your child is thinking with 100% certainty. We are open and honest with sex in this house, but we don't even pretend to know what dd is thinking on the matter. What we do know is that we have been working for years to give her the tools she needs to make her choice on the matter, not do what someone else wants or expects.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
most young teens have thought about, or explored the idea of relationships and sex.

True. But thinking about and exploring the idea of, are a far cry from doing.
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
I didn't get the idea from the article that all teens are having sex. Only that most parents seem to be in their own little world where all the other teens are having sex, but theirs aren't.

Wen I talk to other parents outside of the MDC type group (and in some cases inside, not pointing finger just that I have seen it previously) it seems to be that parents just generally don't want to think of their kids as sexual beings. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard some variation of "my child is X years old, he/she is only thinking about school/sport/toys/etc. He/she has no business thinking about dating and sex." I would be able to retire tomorrow.
I agree!

Not all kids are having sex, and there are parents who are open and realistic with their children when it comes to sex. However, I wouldn't guess that they would be in the majority of parents.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
True. But thinking about and exploring the idea of, are a far cry from doing.
If I had to hazard a guess, I would guess that those parents who operate from a "they are sexual beings and will be thinking about these things now or very soon" are more likely to have kids who think "ok, this is definitely something that I am interested in but I don't actually want to do it now." So basically, a reasonable understanding of ones child as a sexual being would in effect make a more sexually responsible teen.

Obviously there are other factors, but my experience tells me that the people who waited until later are the ones who weren't addressed by their parents in such a way that made their sexual feelings "bad".
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
True. But thinking about and exploring the idea of, are a far cry from doing.
it's true, but there is such a huge disconnect between what is going on in many kids lives and what their parents think is going on that it is quite bizarre to watch. We aren't at the sex stage yet, but lots of the kids have boyfriends/girlfriends and it is a big secret from their parents.

It is truly bizarre to know that a preteen has had a half a dozen boy friends over the course of the school year and then have their mother tell you that they aren't interested in boys.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
If I had to hazard a guess, I would guess that those parents who operate from a "they are sexual beings and will be thinking about these things now or very soon" are more likely to have kids who think "ok, this is definitely something that I am interested in but I don't actually want to do it now." So basically, a reasonable understanding of ones child as a sexual being would in effect make a more sexually responsible teen.
I don't know if this is true or not, but I wonder if being able to have real conversations with an adult who you can be honest with makes a difference. I see my DD's friends sad and confused because of their boyfriend issues, and their mothers are the last people on the earth they would speak to about it. They are left getting all their advice from their peers, who are clueless.

At every step of the way to figuring this stuff out for themselves, the teen with the realistic and open parent has real input, while the teen who's parent's head is stuck in the sand is left floundering. It's no wonder they sometimes do really stupid things.
post #19 of 45
How are we defining "having sex"? I'm 99.9999999999% sure that ds1 hasn't had intercourse, or even oral. So, I'd say he's not having sex. However, I don't suffer from any belief that he's naive or innocent. Some of it is that he's not the type to pressure and his girlfriend wouldn't be okay with that at this point in their lives. Part of it, I believe, is that he's seen me go through hell with unwanted c-sections and three miscarriages and a term stillbirth - he's got a lot better idea - emotionally - of just what can happen from sex than a lot of kids his age do. I may have scared him off sex for life. *sigh*
post #20 of 45
Thinking about is not the same as being ready to do or wanting to do yet....... I'd gather there aren't many young teens who aren't thinking about sexual things but that's not actually what I thought we were discussing.

I don't want my teen to not be interested in sex nor do I think it's preferable. However, she isn't interested in exploring relationships yet and that's okay too. I don't actually think she is so odd in that but our culture sure the hell doesn't produce many 'late' bloomers. The parents might be in denial but their peers sure aren't. I think there's lots of social pressure to the contrary of the parental pressure/denial to not be sexual (and social pressure usually wins out). Neither or healthy or allow the individual child to evolve into their sexuality on their own terms.
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