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The Role Sexuality and Vocation Play in Adolescence


Sigmund Freud once called adolescence a "temporary mental illness." We can laugh, but we still have to be good parents to those kids.

Before long, they'll be full-grown adults and if we want to continue a friendship with them, we'd better start making some changes to our parenting approach. That means starting to treat them as equals and helping them move toward independence.

That independence involves two very important aspects: their sexuality and their future occupation. Mom, you can play a key role in both.

The way you have treated your daughter and the model you have been for your son will be powerful in their minds as they enter dating and, Lord willing, marriage.

Beyond your example, you need to talk about it-everyone else is. Teens see all kinds of ideas about sex, from a variety of good and bad sources. You can't impose your view on your children, but you can surely have a view, communicate it and live by it consistently.

They need to know about sexually transmitted diseases, and the risks of pregnancy, though they'll probably learn about all that in school. What you can add are the moral and emotional factors, the most important aspects of healthy sexuality. And, mom, be transparent with them. They want to know: Did you struggle? How did you handle it? Your transparency will communicate your sincere desire for your children to live responsible, chaste lives.

Another important part we play as mothers is guiding our teenager's vocational future. I've identified five simple steps: 

  1. Keep in touch with their studies to see what they excel in.
  2. Notice what they enjoy and help them brainstorm about suitable careers.
  3. Help make their first job a positive experience by helping them focus on character, quality and skills, not on the job itself.
  4. Encourage wise use of the fruits of their labor-money.
  5. Take your kids with you to work so they can witness first-hand your commitment to integrity as an employee.


With or without you, your kids will learn about sexuality and occupational choices. Mom, consider it a privilege to be the one leading them into adulthood.

Taken with permission from Ken Canfield.

© 2007 iMom. All rights reserved.

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