Talking about the “birds and the bees” with your young child isn’t so difficult. These first talks are the most basic lessons that typically discuss “good touching,” “bad touching,” not to talk to strangers, and the like. You don’t think twice as a parent to have this conversation because it’s your job to protect them from predators by giving them specific guidance and knowledge. However, talking to teens about sex seems much more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
Surely, sex conversations with a teen involves topics that are more complex because the predators they face are much larger such as pregnancy, birth control, intimacy, sexually transmitted diseases, and so much more. Don’t be intimidated, but do be aware of how to make a sound approach.
Approaching the “Sex Talk” with Teens
Don’t be fooled – the topic of sex is probably (and has been) on your teen’s mind, and they likely have talks with their friends about it regularly. Your goal as a parent is letting your teen know that they can talk with you about sex, too. The best approach is to open up the dialogue early and often. This often makes teens feel more comfortable in coming to you in the future with questions and other discussions.
Also consider that parents are often inadvertently guilty of talking “at” their kids instead of “to” them. This is a surefire way to have a one-sided conversation with any teen who will shut down quickly. Teens want to be heard and listened to, so when mom or dad comes to them with all the answers, it doesn’t leave any room open for a true and meaningful conversation.
Keeping the Line of Communication Open is Key
So, there really is no one-size-fits-all sex talk. In reality, there should be several sex talks over the years as your little one blossoms into adulthood. Things will come up frequently during their teenage years, and here are some tips to keep the lines of communiqué open for greater success.
1. Be Available – As long as your teen knows that you will be there anytime they are in need, they will ultimately come to you. There may or may not be any warning when your teen decides to approach you. Drop whatever you’re doing and seize the opportunity.
2. Tackle Issues Right Away – Don’t avoid the tough subjects like “What is gay?” and “When was your first time?” Most parents eventually must discuss these normal and natural questions with teens. Tackle their questions and don’t avoid issues, or they might lose their trust in you.
3. Be Direct and Open – Teens respond best (particularly males) to a direct, straight, and clear answer. Today’s ever-astute teenagers will quickly notice your attempt to skirt around the issues.
4. Go Easy on Questions – Sometimes teens just want to be heard when it comes to some topics like the pressure to have sex, all their friends are “doing it” and the like. Lay off on giving unsolicited advice or asking many questions. You’ll likely discover that your teen will be more open with you overall when you don’t bombard them with the “how, when, why, and where” scenario every time they approach you.
Be confident in your ability to have these tough talks and know that they get easier with every conversation. The surer you are of yourself, the more positive your teen will be about the validity of your discussions about sex.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Professionally, Tracey actively writes about activities and bed and breakfasts in the Highland Lakes of Central Texas. However, in her personal life, she might as well be a pro-advice columnist, dishing out tips on subjects like the potentially awkward teen sex talk, pulling from sound advice she received and recalling what it was like to be a teen herself.