Teenagers: Time to have “the talk”

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The thought of having “the talk” with pre-teens or teenagers might be scary for some parents but let one of our experts give you some tips to help you feel prepared and not the slighted bit embarrassed when it comes time to discuss “the birds and the bees.”

 

By Brittany Dyer

 

Who wants to talk about sex? With their children? Yikes! But we, as parents, need to be the ones doing this! Yes, it is uncomfortable, but it is better for us to educate them rather than their friends educating them. The benefits of talking to our children about sex far outweigh the momentary embarrassment you both may feel while having the conversation.

Here are some tips to help you ease some of the pressure:

To start, always use the appropriate terms when discussing “private parts”. For example, “penis” and “vagina” would be appropriate. Go ahead and say them. No, really, say them out loud. Practice if it’s difficult for you to say them. They are not going to hurt you; they are just words! It can be difficult to use these terms if you are not used to using them, but they are the appropriate terms to use when discussing this topic.

Prepare ahead of time. Read up on the subject of sex and educate yourself. It may be a good idea to look into the new lingo kids these days are using to be able to answer questions your children may have about things they have heard from friends or at school. If you have questions about sex yourself, find answers to your own questions, so you will be able to adequately answer them if they arise in the conversation with your child. Practice with another adult before having the conversation with your son or daughter. Have your spouse or another friend ask questions they think your son or daughter might ask you. Practicing should lessen some of the awkwardness that might arise when talking to your child because you will be prepared for the conversation.

Always be honest with your children, even when it comes to sex. If you are uncomfortable talking about it, let your teen know. This will help them become less uncomfortable knowing you are just as uneasy as they are.

Allow for questions. Another big side to this talk is listening. Allow your child’s side to be heard too!

Figure out a balance. There has to be trust in relationships with teens, and that trust goes both ways. Lay out the boundaries and the expectations about sex with your teen. Let them know you trust them and express to them how they can keep that trust as well as the ways they can lose your trust in regards to sex. Even if your teen is unwilling to participate in the conversation with you, lay out your expectations and state that you expect them to abide by the guidelines given. Ask your child what their expectations of you should be in relation to you trusting them regarding this topic. You are the parent, so feel free to correct, compromise, or negate any suggestions brought up by your child.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you can’t talk to your child about sex or if they just won’t listen to you, ask your child’s doctor or a close friend to talk to your child. Books may also help ease the conversation too. However, it’s important that your child receives the correct information about sex, and the best way a child can get accurate information about sex is from their parents.

Talking about sex does not make your child want to go out and try what they have learned. Teens are already curious about sex. On the contrary, research shows that teens who have a parent who talks with them about sex are actually more responsible with sex than those who do not have parents talking with them about it.

So get talking!

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