Dad's behavior can influence teenage sexual decisions
Research conducted by the organization Parent Action for Healthy Kids found that dads can make a big difference when it comes to preventing teen pregnancy.
"A dad's behavior and his connectedness with his child at every stage of development can influence future decisions they make about sexual activity and contraception use," said Barb Flis, the founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids.
There are things dad can do
The organization offers six ways that dads can become more involved in their son's or daughter's lives, efforts that may stop them from making poor decisions that could potentially endanger their health or future.
One of these ways is for dad to try listening more than he speaks in certain situations. Teenagers may sometimes complain of being preached to by their parents when all they may want is support. When talking about sex, it could be helpful to listen to your child's thoughts instead of jumping to conclusions and lecturing on what should or should not happen. Also, using open-ended questions can initiate a deep, honest conversation.
Don't make talking about sex a meeting
Everyone dreads "The Talk" and all the anticipation may make it uncomfortable for parents and their kids. To avoid this, consider talking about sex in small doses over time. Broaching the subject occasionally may have a larger impact than one horrifying conversation never to be repeated. Plus, if a parent can show that he or she is comfortable discussing the subject matter, the teenager may be more apt to discuss opinions and ask questions.
Communication is key
Communication is an ongoing process for teenagers, so to better establish a working relationship between dad and kids, don't miss out on opportunities to just talk. It doesn't have to be serious, but acknowledging that you care about your teenager's activities and friends can trigger a minefield of topics. Even a 10-minute car ride is all you need to initiate a conversation.
Also, it is important that dad doesn't to take things too personally. Teenagers tend to overuse the emotional part of their brain, and perhaps underuse the logical. Dads can also take advantage of this and help them practice things like assertiveness, which may be useful to them later in life.
Whichever ways dads get involved in their teenagers lives, it can make all the difference and create positive influence that can assist teenagers in making the right decisions for themselves.