Although sexuality is an important part of adolescent development, no parent wants a teenager to have to face consequences that come with early sex experiences.

The problems of teenage girls having sex are widespread. And, the problem is now on the rise again. According to U.S. News and World Report [May 27, 2009], pregnant adolescents are showing up at a higher rate than in previous years. 42 out of 1000 births in the United States were from adolescent mothers under the age of 16.

Rising Rates of Sexual Activity Linked to a Number of Factors

This news has sent an alarm after the United States had been enjoying a drop in teen pregnancy. Changes in the focus on the issue within the family may be a problem and the condition may even be a result of the economic factors facing the nation.

With less money available for typical dating activities such as movies, dining out and other costly occasions, teens may be turning to lower cost activities which provide for the opportunity for more intimate moments.

Awareness Key in Keeping Teenage Girls from Having Sex

Regardless of the situation, one word seems to be the key to keeping female teens from engaging in a sex - awareness. Parents need to continue to focus on teenagers location and free time. Continuous, committed monitoring of teenage girls needs to be a top priority.

Researcher Kathleen Rodgers notes in Parenting Processes Related to Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors of Adolescent Males and Females [Journal of Marriage and Family, 1999] notes two important factors in reducing female teens from engaging in sex. First and foremost, consistent monitoring of the teen is important. Secondly, the article suggests avoiding psychological efforts such as instilling guilt or shame.

Effective monitoring of a teenager is difficult but necessary. It is up the parents to consider the needs of the teenager and balance freedom with responsibility. Depending upon the level of the parents' trust and the teenager's past behavior, monitoring can take the form of some of the following ideas.

A contract for abstinence between the adolescent and the parent good for a specific period of time should be agreed upon both parent and teen.
A contract for check in frequency by the teenager and availability of the parent. Consequences for failing to check-in should be spelled out clearly.
GPS devices can be placed in teenager's vehicles, backpacks or, even in extreme circumstances, on a bracelet or belt.

In addition to monitoring girls, parents should be prepared to have open lines of communication regarding sexual activity. However, the Rodgers showed that attempting psychological manipulation on adolescents is ineffective in preventing teen girls from having sex. Rather, parents should be a supportive source of accurate information for the teenager.

In addition, parents should supplement community efforts with information on problems of teen pregnancy, the reality of having a child too early and other educational information helpful to the teen to understand the risk of having sex too soon.

Teen sexual activity is a natural part of development. However, fewer actions than sex have bigger impacts on teenage girls life. If activity happens too early, teen girls face everything from a problematic pregnancy to the increased likelihood of a host of other emotional problems. Parents owe teenagers the protection offered through being aware of where teenagers are and what teens are doing. This awareness seems to be the most effective tool in reducing teenage girls from engaging in sexual activity too early and for the wrong reasons.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Reece W. Manley, DD, M.Ed., MPM