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The simple trick to make your teen more cautious about sex

Posted at 10:28 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 16:26:33-05

If you want your teen to stay away from sex before marriage, make sure to set rules against it.

That's according to a new report that found teens will be more cautious and have less risky sexual behavior when their parents keep tabs on their child's relationships and sex lives, and when they set guidelines and rules against having sex, according to HealthDay.

"Parents really matter, and they're influential," the report's co-author Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, co-director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University's Silver School of Social Work, told HealthDay.

Researchers analyzed more than 30 studies from around the world done from 1984 to 2014 and looked at how parental activities — like knowing about their child's relationships or setting rules about sex — affect a teen's sexual habits, according to HealthDay. The study found children whose parents set guidelines about sex were more likely to wait to have sex until later in life.

The research highlighted three important tips for parents to help their teens avoid sexual activity: demonstrate good behavior with their own actions, talk to their children about sex and "keep an eye on them," according to HealthDay.

Parents, though, may want to be cautious about how much they're keeping track of their child's sex life, since it may come off as too controlling and could actually inspire teens to embrace sex from an early age.

Teens already feel pressure to have sex before marriage from their peers, who will share stories about their sexual behaviors that influence teens to also engage in the intimate activity, Lois Collins wrote for Deseret News National.

At the same time, peer influence has helped teens shy away from sexual behavior, especially when another teen is a positive influence in their peer's life, Collins reported.

"Positive peer influence and better decisions are among the key factors in why fewer teens are giving birth, having abortions or getting pregnant in the first place," Collins wrote in 2013.

Aside from positive peer influence, teens have also stepped away from sex because of the Internet. The Washington Post reported back in July that teens learn about the negative effects of having sex at an early age, too, through the Internet, which has made them less interested in having sex, The Post reported.

"They're looking on the Web," Dr. Brooke Bokor, an adolescent medicine specialist at the Children's National Health System, told The Post. "They're looking for guidance from parents, guardians and physicians. They can and will make positive decisions for their own health, both sexual and otherwise. We really need to be prepared to treat our youth and young adults as educated consumers."