What Fathers Can Do

Learn ways fathers can help their teen avoid sexual risk behaviors

This fact sheet provides information and guidance for fathers on how to help their teen avoid sexual risk behaviors.

Image of father and son

Teens sometimes engage in behaviors that increase their risks of illness, injury, and early death. Engaging in sexual risk behaviors—such as having sex at an early age, having more than one sex partner, and not using condoms or other contraceptives—can lead to unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV infection.

Teens are influenced by their parents’ values, beliefs, and expectations of appropriate behavior.

Research has largely focused on mothers. However, recent findings suggest that fathers may parent in ways that differ from mothers, and therefore represent an additional opportunity to support the health and well-being of their teens—separate from the influence of mothers.

Parental monitoring includes:
  • the expectations parents have for their teen’s behavior;
  • the actions parents take to keep track of their teen; and
  • the ways parents respond when their teen breaks the rules.
What can you do to help your teen avoid sexual risk behaviors?

As the father of a teen, you can—

Adolescence is a time for development and discovery, which can be both positive and challenging. As teens try to find their own identity, they make choices that affect their health, both now and in the future. By following these key practices, you can build a quality relationship with your teen and be a positive influence in helping your son or daughter make healthy decisions and avoid sexual risk behaviors.

This fact sheet is based on the following publication: Guilamo-Ramos, V., Bouris, A., Lee, J., McCarthy, K., Michael, S. L., Pitt-Barnes, S., & Dittus, P., (2012). Paternal influences on adolescent sexual risk behaviors — A structured literature review. Pediatrics, 130, 1313–1325.