Keeping the Parent-Teen Sex Ed Talk Going

The sex talk is one of the most needed for teens and the most feared for parents. The teen years are rough for everyone. Coping is not easy for adolescents or their parents. Told from teenager’s viewpoint, “Spring Awakening” relates to a most emotionally important time of family life. No generation is immune to this timeless issue, and the play attempts to ease hesitations for both sides. It keeps young adults entertained and focused with original, emotional rock song messages. It does the same for parents with insightful, witty, and heart breaking dialogue.

Who Should Teach Sex Education to Teens?

Sex ed has been such a difficult topic for parents that it has long been left to the schools. Fortunate or not, schools are limited in the scope of which they are allowed to teach on the topic. The mechanics, anatomy, diseases, and protective choices may seem like a lot of sex education. An article by Robert Predit of Health Day, published also in the National Health Institute, says parents believe the internet and media influence their children’s sexual choices. It also says an interview of over 1600 parents of Minnesota school children, finding 98 percent said their children’s sex ed should be parent responsibility, but less than 25 percent believed they actually were the main source of their children’s sexual education.

In general, society takes the easy way out by teaching only sex education basics. But it is just as important to teach and clearly express the emotional side, maturity issues, consequences of misunderstanding, actions, and lack of education. Parents, teens and school lesson plans find dealing with all this is the hardest part of getting through adolescence. “It takes a village to raise a child” is a timeless African quote that comes to mind as this writer sat in this play’s audience.

How does “Spring Awakening” Help Open The Talk?

The play addresses these toughest of adolescent and parent challenges, giving potential for open, sensitive conversation later. Nothing is taboo including suicide, abortion, sexuality confusion, incest, pressure of failure, masturbation, homosexuality, rape, and more. The after-the-play talk may become one of many personal moments of insight for both teens and parents.

Teens may be more tempted see this play, when they find out it was often banned, and if shown at all, was severely censored throughout much of its history. It was originally titled “The Awakening of Spring” and written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind. This alternative rock version was adapted by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater. The playwrights made sure the message rings as true today as it did over a century ago in the original play.

The teen years are a serious struggle and joy for both generations. This writer sees this play as an opportunity find it a reminder to keep honest, open communication between parents and the adolescents in their lives. After seeing the play, I discovered a 1914 quote by Emma Goldman in “Social Significance of Modern Drama,” from her synopsis of the play, shared at the Theater DataBase website. Ms. Goldman speaks volumes in these few words: ” . . . this extraordinary play speaks powerfully for itself . . . of sex in the education of the child . . . (while) the moral fixity still clamor for the good old methods, the message of Wedekind is making itself felt throughout the world, breaking down barriers. “


Spring Awakening on Tour
The Morning Blend archives, Broadway in Tucson, Arizona
Parents Say They Want to Teach Sex Ed…, National Health Institute
Lynn Pritchett, Yahoo Contributing Writer, 2011 attendance at Tucson performance