Sexuality and U
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Parents

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Discussing sex with your teen

 

Any parent can find it difficult to start a discussion about sexuality with a teenager. Be prepared for rolled eyes and protests of “I know that already”. Remember, even if you’re really uncomfortable talking about sex and sexuality, there’s a pretty good chance that your teen will feel even more uncomfortable at first. Try inviting your teen to share their own observations and ideas with you. Remember, this should be a discussion, not a lecture. For example:

  • “Are most of the kids in your class talking about sex? Are some of them doing it?”
  • “Do you think there are any advantages to having sex earlier? Later?”
  • “Have you ever thought about when you might be ready to have sex? What do you think makes a person ready?”
  • “Has anyone in your school become pregnant? Do you think you lose anything by becoming pregnant so early in life?
  • “Do you think some people have sex just to impress their friends or to keep up with the crowd? Can you see any risks in such behaviour?”

Respecting your teenager’s ideas doesn’t mean you can’t state your own views. If you disapprove of teen sex, for example, you can certainly tell your teen why you feel the way you do. Your teen is becoming an adult, and they’re going to want to make their own decisions. “Because I said so” is not an argument that teens typically respond to. For this reason, you might have better luck explaining your to your child why you feel the way you do, rather than just telling them what to do.

Don’t expect to cover every aspect of teen sex in one conversation. Again, remember that the most important thing is that you’re opening the lines of communication. It can take several conversations before you and your teen overcome your mutual discomfort. As your teenager matures, you can talk about more difficult issues. You can also invite a trusted relative or friend to talk about sex with your teen, or suggest places where they can find more information.

Finally, prepare yourself for a few groans and rolled eyes when you bring up sex with your teen. Sometimes, despite your best intentions, your teen may simply want to end the discussion and move on to something else.