Deciding to do it
When to become sexually active is one of the biggest decisions in life. Once acted on, our level of responsibility for ourselves and even for others increases exponentially. Helping a youth prepare for this decision can be one of the most important roles a mentor can play.
What to Consider...
Sex. Their friends are doing it. Their partner wants to. It almost happened last weekend. So what could go wrong? As a mentor, your job is to help them make the right decision. And the better informed they are, the happier they’ll be with their decision. Here are some things to keep in mind: Talk is Tough Talking about sex can be uncomfortable. But if they trust you enough to come to you with questions, be adult enough to deal with a bit of discomfort—they obviously need you. Pregnancy Prevention Teens may act like they know everything. But often they really don’t. Make sure that what they think they know is accurate. And direct them to a doctor or Planned Parenthood to make sure they’re getting the right medical information and protection. Family Matters Help them think through how this decision will effect their relationship with their family, their religion, their partner’s family and the chance of starting a new family. Beyond Pregnancy Help them understand that ‘pregnant’ isn’t the only thing they can get from sex. Both males and females are at risk of STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Learn more on the types and treatments here.
What to Do
In this case, the best thing you can do is overcome any discomfort surrounding talking about sex. The more comfortable you can seem, the more trust you’ll earn. Talk. Talk. Talk. Encourage them to talk about why they want this. Is it to please someone else? Or is it what they want for themselves? Pros. Cons. More talk. Get them to open up on what they understand to be the pros and cons of the decision. Often just talking about something helps a person see the issues more clearly. Who to call. Where to go. Make sure they know to talk to their doctor or visit Planned Parenthood to have all the information and protection they need. Making this decision without this first step could be disastrous. Be there. Once their decision is made—and they’ve taken the necessary steps to proceed—support their choice. And let them know you’re there for them going forward.