Therapeutic Interventions

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1. Advise the parents that their sexual attitudes and behavior shape the child's perceptions about sexuality; ask them to define the values they are attempting to promote.

2. Discuss sexual ethics and values with the child on an ongoing basis while fostering an atmosphere of intimacy and trust. (3, 4, 5)

3. Verbalize the connection between the child's self-respect, defined goals for the future, and the ability to refuse or delay sexual activity. (6, 7)

2. Brainstorm with the parents the positive and negative behaviors and opinions they are modeling for the child; ask them to choose several examples they would like to eliminate (e.g., statements condoning sexual irresponsibility, excessive sexualized behavior in the child's presence, viewing highly sexualized material).

3. Stress the importance of maintaining open lines of communication with the child about sexual responsibility; prepare for questions that might arise (e.g., "What is happening to my body? What causes STDs and AIDS?").

4. Teach the parents effective communication techniques by role playing conversations using "I" statements, active listening, and not interrupting.

5. Emphasize the importance of practicing honesty and sincerity while discussing sexuality; assign the parents to initiate a dialogue with their child using a television show, video, book, or life experience as a conversation starter.

6. Instruct the parents to use the "Sexual Responsibility and Healthy Self-esteem" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner (Knapp) to help their child identify the connection between sexual responsibility and healthy self-esteem.

4. Verbalize the understanding that sex and sexuality are two separate issues and define each in terms of adolescent maturation. (8, 9, 10)

5. Identify sexual myths and learn facts about sex and sexuality. (11, 12, 13)

7. Assign the parents to brainstorm with the child ways they can demonstrate sexual responsibility (e.g., confronting harassment, choosing abstinence, or adequate protection).

8. Instruct the parents to assist the child in listing a full range of actions and feelings that influence sexual attitudes including physical attraction to another person, dating, holding hands, kissing, intimate touching; differentiate from sexual intercourse.

9. Assign the parents to encourage their preteen child to read a book (e.g., Changing Bodies, Changing Lives by Bell) or view a video (e.g., Dear Diary) about puberty and intimate relationships.

10. Teach the parents how to help their child differentiate between love (e.g., caring, empathy, respect) and sexual desire by listing examples and the long-term effects of each.

11. Ask the parents to review some common statements about sexuality with their child and identify whether the statement is fact or myth (e.g., "All teens are having sex these days" [myth]; "HIV can be contracted by both heterosexuals and homosexuals." [fact]).

12. Assign the parents to view with the child the video Sex Myths and Facts and follow up with a discussion of typical myths that create confusion for adolescents.

6. Participate in and/or support ongoing sexuality education classes or an information series for youth offered by the school, a faith-based organization, or a community agency. (14, 15)

7. Set clear expectations for adolescents in areas of curfew deadline, dress code, dating guidelines, substance abuse, and sexual activity. (16, 17, 18)

13. Direct the parents to seek information about sexuality education for youth by contacting local agencies, school, or Web sites (e.g., Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, [SIECUS]; Whole, /aboutteensnow).

14. Assign the parents to contact their child's school to learn about sexuality education being offered for students.

15. Encourage the parents to advocate for effective sexuality education in the school, faith-based organization, and local youth agencies that meet research-based criteria for effectiveness (see Effective Curricula and Their Common Characteristics by Kirby at /effectiveprograms.

16. Instruct the parents to view the video Everyone Is Not Doing It: Parts I, II and III with their child and discuss reasonable limits in the areas of substance abuse, curfew, and abstaining from sexual activity.

17. Teach the parents that close parental supervision of their child decreases sexual activity in younger adolescents and is a major deterrent to teen pregnancies.

18. Instruct the parents to remain firm yet compassionate when

Verbalize abstinence as a viable option for avoiding the physical and emotional dangers of adolescent sex. (19, 20, 21)

9. Assist the child in writing a personal sexuality responsibility code and a behavior plan for its implementation. (22, 23)

resistance from the child occurs by combining empathy with the rule or limit.

19. Assign the parents to brainstorm with the child the reasons for choosing abstinence as the preferred method of avoiding the pitfalls of adolescent sexual intercourse (e.g., avoiding STDs, avoiding the emotional trauma of adolescent sex and pregnancy, remaining faithful to religious values).

20. Council the parents to brainstorm with the child the primary indicators of not being ready for a sexual relationship (e.g., not ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, not sure about the relationship with partner, fear of the emotional reaction to having had sex, desire to postpone sex until marriage).

21. Assign the parents to rehearse with the child strategies for maintaining abstinence (e.g., avoid alcohol and drugs; say, "No, I've made a commitment to wait.").

22. Instruct the parents to complete the "My Personal Sexual Responsibility Code" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner (Knapp) with the child to encourage the development of positive intentions in the areas of sexuality.

23. Assign the parents to brainstorm with the child loving ways to relate to dating partners without

10. Encourage the child to communicate personal views about sexual responsibility and appropriate sexual behaviors to dating partners and peers. (24, 25)

11. Practice refusal skills for undesired sexual behavior with the child. (26, 27)

12. List the life-altering and life-threatening dangers of sexual risk-taking. (28, 29)

breaking the commitment to abstinence (e.g., hugging, sending flowers, taking walks) (see Sexual Integrity for Teens by Hansen).

24. Assign the parents to role play with the child several strategies for communicating their ideas about sexual responsibility to their peers.

25. Instruct the parents to encourage the child to communicate personal standards with their dating partner, friends, and peer group, and to share the outcome during a parent/child discussion.

26. Assign the parents to teach effective refusal skills to the child (e.g., say, "No, I'm committed to abstinence until marriage.") and to seek information about refusal skills from programs offered by the school, faith-based, or community organizations.

27. Assign the parents to brainstorm with the child several anticipated situations that call for sexual refusal skills; develop a role play with the parents that addresses each circumstance.

28. Assign the parents and their child to watch the video Teens at Risk: Breaking the Immortality Myth; discuss the consequences of sexual risk-taking.

29. Instruct the parents to assist the child in listing personal goals for the future in the areas of marriage, family, education, and career; then identify how risky sexual behavior can potentially

13. Collaborate with the child to develop a sexual action plan to prevent the negative consequences of engaging in unprotected sexual relations. (30, 31)

14. Verbalize the belief that abstinence continues to remain as an option even after the child has been sexually active. (32, 33)

15. Encourage the child to enroll in a class focusing on adolescent sexuality offered by the school, a community impact the achievement of these goals.

30. Assign the parents to help their child identify the several options for preventing the unwanted results of unprotected sexual intercourse (e.g., abstinence, condoms, birth control pills, morning after pill); list the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

31. Council the parents to advice their sexually active child about community resources where information about birth control and protection from STDs can be acquired (e.g., Planned Parenthood, Health Department, physicians, hospital-sponsored clinics).

32. Council the parents to teach the child that abstinence is a choice that can be made at any time even after a period of sexual activity.

33. Inform the parents that many adolescents do not have sex again for months or years after their first sexual experience (see Adolescent Sexuality and Childbearing by Mercer); encourage them to review with the child reasons why abstinence may be chosen after an initial sexual encounter (e.g., feelings of guilt or fear, reputation concerns, didn't meet expectations).

34. Refer the parents and the child to a class on adolescent sexuality (e.g., Sexual Integrity for Teens by Hansen:

16. Teach the child to confront sexual harassment by naming it and asking the offender to terminate the behavior. (36, 37)

17. Assist the child in terminating a potentially violent dating relationship. (38, 39, 40) /adolsex/fact/) to clarify sexual values and gather relevant information on sexual development.

35. Instruct the parents to enroll the child in a class offered by the school, a faith-based organization, or youth center that focus on topics of concern to adolescents (e.g., teen dating, physical maturation, sexuality).

36. Teach the parents to define sexual harassment for the child (i.e., unwanted verbal or physical sexual behavior that interferes with school or work performance or creates an environment that is intimidating); identify examples (e.g., sexual jokes or remarks, unwelcome touching, pressure to engage in sex). (See Sexual Integrity for Teens by Hansen.)

37. Assign the parents to review the school policy on sexual harassment with the child and discuss the process of reporting any incidents of concern.

38. Instruct the parents to refer the child to counseling to explore the underlying psychology of abuse and to gain an understanding of the causes, violent tendencies, and prevention of victimization in dating relationships.

39. Assign the parents and the child to view the video Matter of Choice: A Program Confronting Teenage Sexual Abuse to gain an understanding of adolescent abuse.

40. Instruct the parents to encourage the child to adopt a personal zero tolerance policy for dating violence by writing a personal pledge and signing it.

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