Teens struggle with so many things - a changing body, changing peer relations, increased responsibility, trying to determine future goals.... the list goes on and on. I think one thing that we often forget about with teens is how fragile their self-esteem can be. Teens often feel that they need to be sexually active to "fit in with the crowd" and to feel better about themselves.
I remember Sherri telling me that a patient of hers, a 14 year old girl, told her that she wanted to have sex to "get it over with." What a shocking thought! But I think that this girl may see having sex as something she should be doing in order to feel good about herself and to feel that she is as good as all her peers.
Helping teens to see that their value is not related to doing what all their peers are doing can overall improve teens self-esteem. Although behaviors can contribute to feelings we have about ourselves , for example, making good grades can make a teen begin to believe he is intelligent, behaviors do not make the person. The person shows who he is through his behaviors. The sooner we can help our teens see this, the sooner we can help them understand their value. And I think that any teen who truly values him/herself will wait until he is more ready to be in a sexual relationship.