The Issue of Faith: Why it Matters and How NOT to Apply It When Having “The Talk”


A latin mature father sitting and reading the Bible to his family outdoors in a medium shot.

In honor of this Easter weekend, I thought it fitting to tackle the role faith plays in teen girls’ decision-making when it comes to sex.

From the time we were born, we were taught to chase the momentary satisfaction. We were taught to find the largest high to fulfill our greatest lows and for me, that was sex. I gained my ultimate satisfaction from the opinion of man. It wasn’t until I discovered that a righteous, pure, just man died for me, that I found my true value and worth, Jesus Christ. Now I no longer have to chase the momentary satisfaction because I’ve found a permanent one. ~High School Junior

The truth is, religious beliefs are a very strong reason why some teen girls (and guys) abstain.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, more than half of teen girls—57 percent—said that they had never had sex, and nearly one-half of these young women said that the main reason they had abstained from sex was that it was against their religion or morals. 1

And I have received numerous letters from girls that confirm this survey’s results.

If I wasn’t already sold on being sexually abstinent because of religious and emotional reasons, I surely am now. ~High School Sophomore

I am a Christian girl and my biggest fear isn’t STD’s or the emotional distress, etc. It’s the fact that my God would be disappointed in me. I am not trying to say that I would have sex if I didn’t know my God but I’m saying why don’t you explain to people that you can find love through something else that’s not a person or material things. ~High School Freshman

As a Christian myself, I understand why Christian parents would approach their “Talk” from a biblical perspective. And I think that’s great!

But time and again I see teens reject their parents’ teachings.

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Back to the Basics: Why Sexual Assault Prevention Begins with Consent

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"It took me listening to you for me to realize that I’ve been raped twice."

WOW! It boggles my mind that any young lady wouldn’t recognize when she’s being raped. Why is that?

Is it because girls are so desperate for attention from a guy that they are willing to do whatever he wants just to get it, including having sex unwillingly?

Or is it that they have been conditioned to believe that what they want doesn't matter?

Do they think so little of themselves and their bodies that they don’t believe they have the right to decide what happens to their bodies?

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, I thought it important to shed light on an issue that is more pervasive than most parents realize.

The Problem Defining the Culture

Sadly, I have enough letters from teen girls sharing their sexual assault stories, that I could post one every day for months.

And I’ve read way too many letters from girls who tell me that they wouldn’t say they were raped; they just didn’t want to have sex.

Or they say, they succumbed to pressure and just “let it happen,” like the young lady below: 

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Keeping Secrets: 3 Reasons Why Your Daughter Doesn’t Confide in You and What You Can Do About It

Secrets

Teen girls, who could easily be your daughter, confide in me secrets that they don’t share with their moms.

I know this to be true because of what they’ve told me.

I wake up and ask myself every day, ‘Why did you have sex with him?’ and I can’t even answer it. I just felt like I had to…I refuse to tell my mom. I never want her to find out. I hate myself for not being able to control this stuff.

Fears Fueling Girls’ Secrecy
 
So why do teen girls pour out their heartfelt secrets to me? And how can moms like you apply what works for me with your own daughters? 
 
Here are three reasons why your daughter may be keeping secrets, along with tips to help you help her so she’ll know it’s safe to share both her highs and her lows with you.
 
1. She’s afraid you’ll judge her. 

An Open Letter to the Mom Who Bought Tickets for Her 13-Year-Old Daughter and Her Friends to Watch Fifty Shades of Grey


Hand is writing calligraphic letter starting with dear using old pen on yellow paper

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the premiere of the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. And if the first movie wasn’t graphic enough for you, the sequel that premiered this month, Fifty Shades Darker, should do the trick. That is, if you’re old enough to watch an R-rated movie and not a 13-year-old girl like the young lady below who mentioned in class one day that she had seen it. 

If you know me at all, you know I wasn’t about to let this little revelation go without me engaging her further. 

Me: You saw Fifty Shades of Grey?!?!!?!?!?

Her: Yes!

Me: Isn’t that movie rated R? How did you get to see it?

Her: If you buy your tickets online, they don’t check it when you give them your ticket.

Me: How did you buy the ticket online if you aren’t old enough to have a credit card?

Her: My mom bought the ticket.

Me: Your MOM took you to see Fifty Shades of Grey?!?!?!

Her: NO, she didn’t go with me. She just bought the tickets for me and my friends to go see it.

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Your Daughter is Listening, Whether You Believe it or Not!

Words have power.

I’ve always been confused on what I want with my body. I’ve grown up around family who tells me, “You’re going to have sex. You’re going to drink and go to parties,” as if I couldn’t avoid doing it. The problem is I listened. I started drinking, and it became a problem. It’s something I always regretted.

I’m still a virgin, and thanks to your lesson, I realized that’s one thing I can truly still take control of. I finally feel like I can control something. 

You really helped me wake up to [realize] what I’ve been doing to myself. I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. Please come back to help other girls like me.

There are a couple of things the young lady wrote in the above letter that I think you may be able to learn from in order to help your daughter make good choices.

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Why are Teens Really Having Sex? It’s Not What You May Think!

Young couple kissing

I believe students find my presentation to be so effective because I don’t use the fear of contracting STD’s or getting pregnant to persuade them not to have sex. While the “scared straight” approach may work at convincing most teens to avoid jail, it doesn’t convince most to avoid sex. 

Why? Because raging hormones that need to be scared straight into submission aren’t the real reason teens are having sex based on what my students tell me in the letters they write – especially girls. In fact, in many cases, they don’t even want to have sex as you’ll see in the clip below.

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The Ripple Effect: 2015 Edition

stones in a water

 

 

“I alone cannot change the world; but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” ~Mother Theresa

 

I hope your new year has gotten off to a great start! It's hard to believe the month of January is almost over and I’m just getting around to sharing my 2015 review, which may be an indication that 2016 is going to be just as busy as 2015 was.

Each year, as I assemble the data to share my review of the previous year, I’m always blown away when I look at the numbers.

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How Not to Talk to Your Teens about Love, Sex & Relationships: Korey’s Advice to Parents

For the past seven weeks, I’ve had the privilege of sharing my Conversation with Korey series with all of you, and today it draws to a close.

If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you’ll recall that Korey Harris, is but one of an awesome group of ten young adults whom I’ve been blessed to mentor.  Each of them have their own amazing story to tell, and are often the highlight of my youth empowerment workshops. They are one of the many reasons #WhyIDoWhatIDo.

I have witnessed first-hand, how much Korey’s transparency and candor has resonated with the teens who have attended my events. He’s also been a hit with their parents who value his insight into their teen world.  

So today, in my final Conversation with Korey post, we sit down to discuss advice for parents. Check out Korey’s words of wisdom for moms and dads who may struggle with how to engage their teens in meaningful discussion about love, sex and relationships, in a way that won’t go in one ear and out the other.

A Tale of Two Extremes

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#DadsMatter: Korey Explains How Fatherlessness Leaves Boys Searching…

If you missed last week’s Conversation with Korey post and video on the impact of fatherlessness on girls, I strongly suggest that you read/see it! Korey’s insight was spot on. Not only about how these young ladies are often preyed upon by boys, but also how many of them seek validation outside of home. 

This week, Korey brings that same level of “been-there-done-that” insight to our discussion on the impact of fatherlessness on boys.

As I stated in my disclaimer last week, the purpose of this post is not to assign blame to anyone for the very complex subject of fatherlessness. I think we can agree there is plenty of blame to go around and too much at stake to waste time pointing fingers. Instead, I choose to focus attention on the people who fatherlessness impacts the most –the kids! And clearly, boys are just as affected as girls, although in different ways.

In Search of Self

Korey believes that boys without fathers start out in life from “behind the eight ball.” He’s quick to point out that this isn’t a knock against their mothers, nor does it mean that boys without dads are automatically doomed for failure. But thinking back over his experiences as well as that of his fatherless friends, Korey realized they all shared some similar characteristics.  They were always searching, not knowing what they were destined to do (or become). And they often struggled to finish whatever they started.

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#DadsMatter: Korey Explains How Fatherless Girls Become Easy Prey for Guys

Hopefully by now the Conversation with Korey blog series has sparked honest, open-ended discussions between you and your teen. The practical tips Korey shared last week are great for any guy or girl who’s made a commitment to abstain and needs additional inspiration on how to “sex-proof” their day-to-day decisions.

In today’s post, Korey and I delve into the highly sensitive topic of fatherlessness and its impact on girls. Before we begin, now feels like a great time to offer my disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to assign blame to anyone for the very complex subject of fatherlessness. Our goal is simply to highlight some of the issues that girls without fathers face as a result.

While this is never a fun topic to discuss, it’s one that am forced to address every time I speak to girls. So many of them are suffering the negative effects of not having dads in their lives, which almost always shows up in their relationships with boys. That’s why I wanted to get Korey’s take on it. 

The insight he offers as a young man who has encountered, been in relationships and/or had sex with young ladies without fathers, is worthy of taking notes.

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