Raising a teenager in today's world can seem overwhelming. One important, and equally sensitive, issue facing parents is to recognize some signs that their teen has begun to engage in sexual activity. For fear of consequences, most teens are not willing admit to being sexually active, so it's important for parents to recognize some of the signs that their teens are, and take the precautions and/or steps they feel necessary.
One of the first signs to recognize is the possible singling out with a particular peer. This person could be called a "boyfriend" or "girlfriend," but teens today are sometimes more comfortable with relationships avoiding labels. A teen who is normally in a social situation with a group of 5 or 6, might begin to seek a more intimate or private setting. They may also begin to tell you less and less about their time out with their friends.
Another sign parents should take notice of are public displays of affection. Teenagers who are sexually active are usually very protective of their choice in the beginning. However, as time goes by, they may become less and less aware of their actions around their parents and other adults. Some of these public displays may include, but are certainly not limited to: staring at the person for extended amounts of time, subtle touches that they may are not even aware of, giggling or over excitement at the other person’s conversation.
Parents should also be aware of their teenager’s sudden interest in their parent’s schedules and whereabouts. Teenagers who are sexually active will often have trouble finding situations in which to perform their sexual acts, so they may attempt to take advantage of parents working late or going to dinner. This goes hand in hand with parents being aware when their children like the opportunity to be home alone, and taking notice if anyone has been there with them.
A last resort and less than truthful approach to finding out if your teenager is sexually active is examining their room and belongings. Sometimes teens will leave obvious clues, such as condoms or their birth control in their room. Using this approach works for some parents, while it remains a violation of privacy for others. If you use this method you are faced with how to approach the situation if you find out your teenager is sexually active. You may lose their trust and the opportunity to openly communicate with them.
While these are clues to finding out if your teen is sexually active, sometimes the best way to find out the answer to a question is to simple ask. Letting your teenager know you are comfortable talking about their personal decisions, and interested in their health and happiness might make all the difference.