One of the hardest conversations for a parent to have with their teen is one about sex. Its famously awkward nickname of “the conversation” and the sheer fact that most teens don’t want to talk to their parents about sex can make this even harder. However, in spite of how difficult it can be, it is also a very important conversation to have. Choosing not to have it can impact your teen’s life forever.
Teens whose parents are open about sexuality are less likely to engage in premarital sex and end up involved in teen pregnancies. If you aren’t comfortable talking about STDs and birth control, try talking to your doctor about it first and ask his or her advice on how to have this conversation with your teen. Being open about sex from a young age like early adolescence is best, as it will make it easier to talk about sex again later.
The crucial thing to remember when having the conversation is to never lie. Your teen will likely see through the lie or find out about it later, and consequently lose trust in and respect for you. If you’re not comfortable discussing it, tell them this, and give them only accurate information, adding to it as you become more comfortable.
When talking with your teen, don’t make heterosexist assumptions. Your teen very well might be discovering a sexual attraction to their own gender, and if you neglect to mention safe sex options and issues for non-heterosexual couples, it will confuse your teen more. They may end up engaging in risky sex, and studies have even shown a significantly higher rate of depression and suicide for LGBT teens. You can help prevent this by being open-minded and accepting your teen’s choices without forcing your opinions on them.
The biological aspects of sex including pregnancy, disease, and birth control are not the only thing important to discuss, however. Teens are more likely to struggle with the emotional aspects of sex, and many wonder when the right time to have it is, whether and how he or she should say “no” to a boyfriend or girlfriend who wants it, and how accurate their social groups’ information on it is.
Regardless of your opinion on actually making birth control available to teenagers, make sure they know about it. Teens who have been given no information about sex, prevented from obtaining birth control, and have supposedly been sheltered from sexuality are often more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. You can still make it clear to them that you don’t want them to have sex at a young age, but if they have access to birth control, they can at least make the choice between safe sex and unsafe sex that could end up in STDs, HIV, pregnancy, and other undesirable results!
However awkward and difficult the conversation, by having it, you can foster communication with your teen about important issues that can seriously affect them for the rest of their lives.
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Tags: Teen Sexuality Talks