“They’re going to do it anyway.”
I don’t know about you, but I am BEYOND tired of hearing these words about our kids. MY kids, your kids, everybody’s kids.
“They’re going to do it anyway, so I’ll just let them drink at home where it’s safe. That way I know they’re not out driving drunk.”
“They’re going to do it anyway, so I’m going to make sure they have condoms or are on the pill.”
“They’re going to do it anyway, so I’ll give them access to the porn sites I know aren’t too hardcore.”
I heard this argument over and over when I wrote about Teen Vogue’s anal sex guide a few weeks ago. “They’re going to do it anyway so they need to know how to do it safely.”
Parents: I’m not buying it, and neither should you.
I am now 39 years old, but I remember being a teenager. And you know what? I didn’t “do it anyway.” My parents set a standard for me, in a loving and reasonable way. I was educated about why it would be best not to do these things. They communicated to me that they weren’t trying to keep me from living or having fun, but that they wanted me to be safe and if and when I did these things, at least be an adult who had some level of maturity to help me out with the consequences. And of course, they used our faith and what God says in the Bible about what we do with our bodies to help me understand why not drinking, doing drugs, or having sex as a teen was the best choice.
They set a standard for me. They weren’t afraid to set high expectations.
And they weren’t afraid to expect me to MEET them.
My parents knew I was human. They knew the choice was mine. They let me know they would be there for me and love me no matter what.
But they EXPECTED me to choose wisely, and it was largely because of their expectations THAT I DID.
Moms and dads, “they’re going to do it anyway,” does not protect your kids. Preparing them to make bad choices by helping them to have less consequences (i.e. drinking at home) does nothing to help them grow and mature into responsible adults.
But setting high standards and expectations for them does. It EMPOWERS them to make good choices, rather than ENABLES them to make harmful ones.
Have open, honest, and all-inclusive ONGOING conversations with your kids about drinking, drugs, and sex. Jump out of your comfort zone so they will include you in THEIRS. Give them all the information you have, and then still expect them to make the right choices.
My kids CAN make good choices. So can yours. Let’s expect them to, and let’s TELL them so, not with haughty, terrifying authority, but with edifying and loving authority.
Because what if they’re NOT going to do it anyway, unless you tell them you believe they won’t?