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Bossy parents drive teens to more sex

entertainment Updated: Jul 24, 2008 23:51 IST
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Keeping a close eye on your teenage kid’s every move will actually encourage him or her to have more sex, according to a new study which provides a link between rigid parenting and increased sexual activity in older teens.

While it is not yet confirmed if controlling mothers and fathers cause kids to have more sex, Rebekah Levine Coley, lead author of the study, said that it is wise to give children freedom.

“Warm, more democratic relationships — in which parents do not use negative and psychologically controlling behaviours — could help parents to communicate values, increase adolescents’ identification with their parents, help youth to develop healthy decision-making skills and also keep youth away from negative peer influences,” said Coley. The study of nearly 5,000 US teenagers indicated more than two of every three American teens has sexual intercourse before age 19. Coley said the findings were “suggestive but not definitive” and did not reveal which techniques work the best. In this study, researchers examined the results of an annual survey of American teens born between 1980 and 1984. The researchers looked at the survey results for 4,980 teens to try to pinpoint the effects of various parenting styles.

Regular family activities — “things like eating dinner together as a family or engaging in fun activities or religious activities together” — seemed to make sexual activity less likely, said Coley.

While recent research has focussed on how the media and peers affect the sex lives of adolescents,

Don Operario, an Oxford University professor said, this study “reminds us of the foundational role of parents in determining whether their teens engage in risky sexual behaviours.”