As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I spend a lot of times with teenagers – often with their parents out of the room. I hear a lot of things about the world that teens live in… And I often can’t share it with the parents due to confidentiality rules.
One of the topics which comes up a lot is: Sex.
There are two major issues which comes up around this topic:
- Teens ARE sexually active
- They often have questions – and often don’t feel that they can ask anyone…
And most parents aren’t aware of what is really going on with their teens, and they often can’t talk to them about sex.
How does this relate to ADD/ADHD?
Research has clearly shown that teens with ADD and ADHD are much more likely to engage in sexual activity – and risky sexual activity at that.
Research has also shown that:
- Teens with ADD/ADHD have first sexual intercourse earlier
- Teens with ADD/ADHD are more likely to have teen pregnancies
- Teens with ADD/ADHD are more likely to need an HIV test (i.e. they have had sex without protection)
A new study was just released which reveals the sexual practices of teenagers. The research was published in the January issue of Pediatrics and Child Health. The study found that 27% of teens were sexually active at a mean age of 15 years. The last time that they had sex, 76% had used a condom, according to the study.
Another conclusion of this study was that teens don’t know enough about common STIs – i.e. sexually transmitted infections/diseases. While most teens know about HIV and its risks, this study finds that most do not know about common STIs like chlamydia.
This study documents that by age 17, 45% of the teens surveyed were sexually active.
What should a parent of a child or teen with ADD or ADHD do about this?
You need to realize that:
- Your ADD/ADHD child is at risk of early sexual intercourse.
- Your ADD/ADHD child is at higher risk of teenage pregnancy.
- Your ADD/ADHD child is at higher risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections.
It is also very important for you to remember that many parents of kids/teens with ADD and ADHD struggle to maintain good communication lines with their child or teen.
Because often there are issues with day to day life which create arguments, frustration and anger.
So when there is an important issue to discuss, there is little rapport for a safe, open and non-judgmental discussion.
I encourage parents to let go of day to day ‘little issues’ (which create a lot of fights and arguments) so that they can have the discussions about issues which are very important (and can be dangerous) – like sex, as well as drugs and alcohol.
How do you create such a relationship with your ADD/ADHD child or teen?
- Learn a lot about ADD and ADHD.
- Focus on your child’s strengths.
- Work with your doctors and therapists.
- Use great resources which are out there for you – like Secrets to ADHD Success.
The bottom line:
Although the issue of talking to kids and teens about sex can be controversial, and you may agree or disagree with my opinions, the truth is that kids and teens with ADD and ADHD are at higher risk of sexual issues than non-ADHD kids and teens.
It is best to equip yourself with the right knowledge and work proactively (i.e. educate your child early on) rather than working reactively – and dealing with crises after the fact.
Please share your thoughts, comments and experiences by posting a comment on this blog post below.
p.s. To get your hands on the breakthrough system which can help you to communicate better with your child or teen with ADD/ADHD, visit: Secrets to ADHD Success.
[tags]ADD, ADHD, Teens, Sex, Parenting[/tags]