When I get teens talking about situations to avoid, one of the ideas they come up with is “Don’t be home alone.” Indeed, this is a WISE idea. One study of urban teens showed that “Among the respondents who had had intercourse, 91% said that the last time had been in a home setting.” More often it was at the boy’s house. So teens on a Saturday night date making out in the back seat of the car may NOT be the most common impetus to sex. Instead, it’s an overabundance of unsupervised time…after school…during the summer…when parents are at work. “The likelihood of intercourse, the number of partners for intercourse, and substance use increased as the amount of unsupervised time increased.”
This is not surprising, of course. But what the researchers pondered about this bears thinking about. It might not JUST be a lack of opportunity that keeps some kids from having sex. It could be that parents whose children have less unsupervised time consequently have more time relating to their parents and siblings. They may be pursuing clubs, sports or other activities that give them a sense of purpose and self-esteem…and keep them occupied. Two teens, with hormones, and too many hours with nothing fun to do might just be bored. And that’s a recipe for a pregnancy or an STD. If the summer is stretching on, help your teen keep out of trouble by helping him or her come up with some plans to do something fun and productive.