Wow! I have the brightest, best readers out there.
The advice that you all suggested for “Hannah’s” parents was so insightful and I’m proud and humbled that some of your thoughts about the subject were founded in the topics I explored in Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.
You, dear readers, are amazing. That being said, let’s get to what I told Hannah’s parents:
1. I told them to tell her that they are her number one advocate. Kids hide things from parents when they feel that we are the enemy. It is imperative that kids know that we are on their side, so there should be no secrets.
2. Remind her that there are to be no more secrets. Now that she feels the relief from having secrets out in the open, tell her that there should never be secrets in a family- between Mom and Dad, kids and parents. Let her know that secrets make us feel ashamed. When a teen harbors a secret and then gets caught, this is a prime time for parents to teach kids how secrets never lead anywhere good.
3. Let their daughter know that in very clear terms, having sex is dangerous stuff. With three sexual partners behind her, she just bought a ticket to my office where she will have to be checked for cervical cancer and STI’s. These problems are a reality when you start sex so soon and have even “safe” (misnomer) sex with any partner.
4. Help her make a plan to avoid sex in the future and get very specific. After telling her why sex is so dangerous for her, do some role playing. For instance- ask her if she would invite a boy over to a home where she was baby-sitting. Or, if her boyfriend wanted to go to the beach alone at night, would she go? Tell her that when you’re on a diet, you don’t bake brownies. Anyone on a diet had a plan- so help her make a plan.
5. Don’t let her pull you into the “you don’t trust me argument.”The truth is, you can’t trust her to behave like an adult until she’s in her twenties, because she isn’t one. So tell her this is not a trust issue.
6. Help her start over. Kids want to believe that sex is amazing, but when they start so young, they lose hope that it can be because the truth is, for boys and girls, sex doesn’t feel amazing. So help her get a fresh start, having put painful lessons behind and be positive and encouraging. Move forward and never throw her past in her face.
What do you think, parents? Did I leave anything out?