What a Difference a Dad Makes: How Engaged Fathers Empower Their Daughters

Happy father applying chocolate spread on croissant for daughter in domestic room

There’s a lot of attention paid to the negative impact of fatherlessness on daughters, and I am the first to tell you that it is a real issue with many of the girls I teach.

However, in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to flip that around and focus on the positive impact of fathers who are actively engaged in their daughters’ lives.

Especially when it comes to their decisions regarding love, sex, and relationships.

The following are three ways daughters are empowered in their dating decisions by actively engaged dads.

  1. They lean in to positive parent pressure. In the same way that positive “peer” pressure influences girls like your daughter to make healthy choices (like abstaining), having an engaged father influences them to make healthy choices too.  In this case, her goal isn’t to fit in with peers she likes and wants to impress, but to keep from disappointing her dad, whom she loves and wants to make proud.

If I had sex, not only would I regret doing something I can’t take back, but my dad knowing I didn’t respect myself would hurt him emotionally too.

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When Teen Romance Turns Tragic: How Teen Girls Form Unhealthy Emotional Attachments & What You Can Do to Intervene

Depressed Teenage Girl Sitting In Bedroom With Pills

I’ve heard teen girls say that they love hard or when they fall in love, they fall hard. They say it as if that’s a badge of honor.

What does that mean anyway? Loving hard!

Does it mean that they’ll blindly give their hearts, souls and bodies to their boyfriends, no questions asked?

I have a big heart and I love fast and hard and guys take advantage of that.

That they fully intend to marry their boyfriends one day, and as a result, believe it their sole responsibility or “wifely duty,” to make sure their “husbands” are happy?

Before you came to speak to us, I always had my mind focused on the fact that making a guy happy is all there is to life.

Or maybe “loving hard” means these girls get so emotionally wrapped up in their relationships, that they are unable to cope when something goes wrong or it eventually ends.

In a few of my past relationships I have had sex, and when they ended I felt devastated and empty.

Loving Hard + Sex = A Powder Keg! 

I’m concerned when I meet girls whose entire world revolves around their relationships.

Is that healthy at their age, considering there’s only a slim chance that teen relationships will last past their teen years? 

Earlier this week I read about the tragic story of an 18-year-old girl in Cincinnati, OH, who committed suicide in her dorm room. 

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It Takes Two to Tango: Why Educating Your Daughter is Only Half the Battle

When schools request that I come do an assembly, I’m often invited to only speak to the girls.

I then counter by strongly suggesting that I speak to both the girls and guys.

Why?

Because educating girls about love, sex, and relatinships is only half the battle!

And guys are often just as receptive to my message as girls are, and sometimes more so.

My Equal Opportunity Message

As much as I enjoy seeing the light-bulb go off for a girl or guy in my class, I really love it when I get to talk to couples.

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Prom Proposition: How to Save Your Daughter from Making an Offer Her Date May or May Not Refuse

It’s that time of year again when girls are on the hunt for that showstopper dress and matching shoes, the perfect hairstyle to accentuate their best features and a flawless make-up application to tie it all together.  

Apart from her future wedding day, and perhaps her Sweet Sixteenth birthday, there isn’t an event in a girl’s life more highly anticipated than prom.  

Why?

If you think it’s just about saying “yes to the dress,” think again!

Who’s Pressuring Whom?

You’ve often heard me talk about how things have changed over the 15 years that I’ve been speaking to teens. Well, this is one of those areas.

We’ve always believed the guy is the one who would pressure the girl to have sex on prom night.

Not anymore! Check out what this young man wrote me:

My friend is asking me constantly to take her virginity on prom night. I love her, but I would feel guilty knowing if I do she would feel guilty seeing how she used to say she wanted to wait till marriage. Sad thing is that I persuaded her to think another way, talk about irony, right? Another factor that I find more messed up is that other females ask me to take theirs as well. Being a young man, I know I’ll make the right decision.

I don’t know for the life of me when prom became the expiration date for when a girl loses her virginity. Unfortunately, it’s an issue that I continue to see play out with students.

Like the young man who approached me after the second day of my class to ask for advice. He was a junior and dating a girl who was a sophomore.

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Battle of the Sexes: Why it’s Easier to Talk Teen Boys Out of Having Sex than it is Girls…

tug of war, teens playing on beach on summer vacation or spring break

When I started speaking to teens about sex 15 years ago, I only spoke to 8th grade girls for about three years. When the opportunity to speak to high school students presented itself, I must admit, I was rather nervous.

It’s one thing to convince a 13 to 14-year-old girl who most likely hasn’t started having sex why she should abstain. It’s an entirely different challenge to convince 17 to 18-year-old girls who may already be sexually active, why they should stop having sex. Not to mention, the high school classes are also co-ed.

And if I thought it would be difficult to convince a 17 to 18-year-old girl to abstain, I figured it would be nearly impossible to do the same for guys. 

Boy, was I wrong!

I started getting letter after letter after letter from young men like the one below: 

You have honestly changed my whole perspective on having sex in high school. I didn't care whether or not I had sex, with who or how many. I just saw it as pleasure and having a good time. I never thought through the consequences. You made me realize how much having sex can jeopardize my future and other people's. I'm also glad you came to talk with be now, because it'll keep me from making future mistakes. I will always go back to your speech every time an opportunity comes and actually think before I act. Now that I know better, I will do better. 

Guys’ vs. Girls’ “Sex-pectations”

I wasn’t sure why guys were willing to discontinue sex more easily than girls until I started doing an activity in the classroom.

I asked girls and guys to list what they expected from sex.

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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. 

What’s Love Got to Do with It? How to Help Your Daughter Make Valentine’s Day “Special” Without Sex

This time every year, teens (like adults), gear up to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the person they love. They buy cards, chocolate, teddy bears, balloons and flowers. They plan a romantic evening that may include dinner and a movie, and yes, even sex.

Word Love with heart shaped Valentines Day gift box on old vintage wooden plates. Sweet holiday background with rose petals, small hearts, curved ribbon.


In fact, a young lady approached me after class last week because she wanted to take one of my pledge cards, but she didn’t want it to be “activated" until after February 14th. Her plan was to wait until AFTER she had sex with her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day, before she began practicing abstinence.

I am a senior and while you were here you told me exactly what I had gone through and how to stop it. I asked you about becoming abstinent after Valentine’s Day because I felt as though sex is the only thing that would make Valentine’s Day special.

Sex is Not the Gift. She is!

I cannot tell you how many letters I’ve received from girls who told me they were planning to have sex to show their boyfriends how much they love them or to make them happy. As if sex is the only way to prove their true feelings or the gift that keeps on giving

It’s not!

I made it clear to the young lady above that either she wanted to abstain or she didn’t.  If she used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to have sex, she’d use another excuse the next time she wanted to have sex to justify it. 

I also reminded her that she was the prize!  If her boyfriend truly loved her, spending quality time with her on Valentine’s Day was “special” enough.

Thankfully, she got it.

…you made me realize there’re other things we could do. I am worth more and you made me realize it. My boyfriend also accepted the abstinence pledge card and after I told him everything you told me, he decided to do this with me.

Now let’s make sure your daughter does too.

Steer Her in the Right Dating Direction!

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Girls Will Date One of Three Types of Guys: How to Help Your Daughter Choose Wisely


Annoyed young Caucasian woman with three men playing video games

In the introduction of my book, 7 Secrets Guys Will Never Tell You: A Teen Girl’s Guide on Love, Sex, and Relationships, I present what has become a novel concept about the three types of guys that girls will encounter: the Player, the Good Guy and the Best Guy.

1. The Player—He doesn’t care about the girl and just wants sex.

He says all the right things, leads her to believe he cares, wins her heart and moves on after he’s gotten what he wants.

…my number one goal was to have sex and to get it as quick as possible without putting in any work. Sometimes it would take me a day, sometimes it would take me two weeks: two weeks was the most amount of time I would spend talking to the girl before I moved on if she didn’t have sex. 

2. The Good Guy—He truly cares about her, but may still want sex. 

He has no intention of ever hurting her in any way. He doesn’t pressure her for sex. As a matter of fact, he allows her to decide when she’s ready. Unfortunately, the media may have conditioned him to equate sex with love, so he may believe the only way to express his love for her is through sex.

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The Ripple Effect: 2016 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

 

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is already here.  Am I the only one that feels like the days are passing faster and faster each year? 

I’m always blown away each year as I assemble the data to share the review of my previous year.

2016_Review

The Power of Life is in the Tongue!

But it’s never about the numbers for me.  I don’t gauge my success by the number of students who hear me speak, the number of letters I receive or the number of commitments made. If I can make a positive impact on the life of just one student, it’s worth it! Letters like this young lady’s below is the only encouragement I need to continue “casting stones across the waters.”

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Can You Really Teach Selflessness to the Selfie Generation?

The answer is yes, you can! Granted, selflessness is not a topic students expect to hear when they take my Sex-Ed class, but I’ve found it to be quite effective once I break it down for them.

Teen Sex is as Selfishness Does

Every school year I introduce a new approach that becomes the focus for my classes. Last year it was selfishness vs selflessness.

As with tackling any new approach, there are a couple steps I take to introduce it:

  1. Define the Approach/Idea. I always like to begin with a definition that students can understand on their level.

“Selfish is when you make a decision that benefits you even though it hurts someone else.”

Sometimes even concepts that adults deem “simple” are anything but for teens, so I never assume they already know what I mean.

  1. Paint the picture. Let’s face it, when it comes to talking about teen sex there’s not a lot of “painting” required. Oh they get it!

But as you’ll see in the clip below, I do paint the picture of the selfishness of teen sex, especially given the very real possibility of a baby being conceived. Despite what some reality shows would have teens to believe, teen parenting is never ideal for the baby or the parents.

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