Would You Allow Your Teen to Have Sex at Home?
One of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of expat life is discovering and considering new traditions and ideas about life that are perhaps different from what you’re used to. Expats get to expand their way of thinking, challenging the norms of their home countries.
When you decide to raise children in a culture other than the one in which you were raised, this can be complex. They experience holidays and customs and a language that is new to you but absolutely “normal” to them.
One thing I’ve been impressed by in the Netherlands is how open teenagers are with their parents. I’m making a generalization, but it was confirmed for me recently when I met with Rutgers WPF, an organization based in Utrecht that publishes sex education materials for primary and secondary schools across the country.
Ineke van der Vlugt, program coordinator for Rutgers WPF, told me the goal of most schools and parents is for children to be able to discuss sex as they would any other topic, and that this relaxed approach—and easy access to many forms of birth control here, including over-the-counter day after pills—enables children to be educated and safe.
I was surprised to learn also that the majority of Dutch parents are open to allowing their older teens to have co-ed sleepovers at home, provided they are in serious relationships.
My children are still toddlers, so this is a choice I won’t have to make for a while. But it made me wonder how other expats (and Dutch) parents feel about this. Although the idea of knowingly permitting my children to have sex at home initially seemed impossible, the statistics—including very low teen pregnancy rates and instances of homosexual bullying here—make me think this open attitude is a pretty good thing.
Read more here, and let us know what you think.