Forty percent challenge facing dads

Forty percent!  That is four out of 10; forty out of a hundred!  I know you can do the math too, but wow forty percent.  That surprized me.  But that’s what recent stats say regarding how many teens (aged 14-19) have had consensual sexual intercourse (see here: girls – 41.6%; boys – 38.1%).

Stats can be so impersonal.  Let’s work on that.  I have three live-at-home kids aged: 13, 17, 19.  These “stats” would suggest that if my kids were to mirror the culture at large then at least one of them would be or would have been sexually active.  That’s not impersonally that is scary!

As a dad, is there anything I can do to diminish the likelihood that my kids decide to become sexually active?  Yes, thank God there is.  In fact there is more than one post can present and certainly more than this dad has practiced.  With that said let me make the following suggestion for you to consider and even comment on.

Results show that teens who have a close or very close relationship with their father demonstrate a decreased likelihood of sexual activity during their teen years (boys – 16% less; girls – 12% less; see here p. 5).

Now that was easy to write, but many of us know that it isn’t easy to pull off.  Things clamour for our time and energy.  My own experience is that in the constant cacophony of calls for my attention my kids voices are easily masked or muted.  Sometimes, shamed to have to say this, it’s because it’s convenient.  What I mean is that there is too much on my plate and something has to slide…just for a bit…and that something is more easily my kids.  Oh, for sure I rationalize it, by saying when things slow down I will make it up to them.  You know I am still waiting for things to slow down!  Maybe you know of what I speak.

I think we need to find a different approach so that our kids receive a slice of us on a regular basis.  Not just because there is a favourable correlation with dad spending time with them and their choice to defer becoming sexual active, but for lots of other reasons.

Have I made no moves in this directions except for drawing a line in this post and daring myself to take up the fight to prioritize my kids?  Yah I think I see some scattered light that suggest a new day may be dawning for this old dad.

My daughter likes a particular TV show, she borrows it from the library on DVD.  I have become more intentional about when I watch TV  to watch it with her and others in the family.  She seems to love to sit next to me.  Go figure!

My son is home from university every other week or so.  Instead of car-pooling with others I drive him back.  It gives us an hour together to, wait for it, to talk!

I would love to hear how you are prioritizing spending time and energy with your teens.  Your ideas just might give me another nudge in the right direction.


1 Response to “Forty percent challenge facing dads”

  1. 1 John Knapp
    November 27, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Our kids naturally pull away from us in their teen years to find themselves. When they become adults they return to us, if we had a relationship with them when they were children. As teenagers they cannot imagine life and its challenges so it is difficult for them to understand adults. As adults we are challenged to remember what it was like to be a teenager. I am closer to my kids now, when they are 26, 29 and 32, than I have ever been.

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This blog is a place to wrestle with loving, leading and labouring according to the Jesus Way.


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