In the early years of adolescence (usually from ages 12 to 15), the most prominent friendships usually come with people of the same sex. Such relationships are often so intense that some parents are afraid of homosexuality. But do not forget that the homosexual phase of adolescence is almost always transitory, although homosexual feelings are common and normal in this age (see homosexuality in men and homosexuality in women). Over time, an adolescent becomes increasingly aware of his/her own sex and begins to look for relationships with people of other sex. However, despite the indulgence of modern society, sexual intercourse before late adolescence (ages 17 or 18) is likely to be an exception rather than a rule. So practically all adolescents masturbate, boys probably more than girls, which is completely harmless.
Parents and children often look unrealistically at each other’s sexual life. Many teenagers almost do not believe that their parents are still interested in sexual intercourse (sometimes they do not believe they’ve ever been interested!). On the other hand, parents are often firmly convinced that their children are not emotionally mature for sexual intercourse in spite of their physical ability and desire. But adolescence is a time of experimentation, and most adolescents are exploring sex life in one way or another. Research shows that a small number of adolescents are vacant in sexual morality. If your children are otherwise reasonable, there is no reason to assume that they will suddenly ”go wild”.
What should parents do?
This period will be less difficult if you accept the awakening of your child’s sexuality. If you can not openly accept the fact that your children mature in sexual as well as in every other way, you will not be able to convince them that you have trust in them and that you are willing to provide any help or advice. First of all, do not worry about masturbation and do not talk about ”dangers”. There are no dangers, so avoid words or offenses that could cause feelings of guilt in children. Masturbation is a general and harmless occurrence. On the other hand, you must speak openly about the real dangers of irresponsible sexual intercourse – unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and frustrating and inappropriate emotional ties.
Your adolescent children must know the facts about sex life, including those uncomfortable – that is your responsibility. If you can not talk to them about it, make sure if they got the necessary information at school or give them the appropriate book. You must also inform them about contraception and where they can get advice on preventing conception.
In any case, you need to gain confidence in children with your attitude. Trust – as an understanding of the complexity of sex life – almost always develop a sense of responsibility. Responsibility will, in turn, help a young person to avoid unwanted relationships.