Parenting is a difficult job. It becomes tougher when your children grow up to be teenagers and you’ve to convey information to them about sex and relationships. As a parent, you should have “The Talk” with your teens but the question is when and how? Here are some ideas about when and how you should have the talk about sex and relationships with your teens and what you could talk about to have a meaningful conversation. ~ Ed.
For most parents, watching their kids grow up is filled with a range of emotions that change every hour of the day.
While the toddler stage can be challenging, nothing can quite prepare a mother or father for the difficulties of the teenage years.
Sex, in particular, is a subject that most parents dread taking on. However, having “the talk” is still important and something that you shouldn’t skip. While schools do help with sex education, having an open dialogue with your teen daughter or son can ensure they’re comfortable coming to you with questions and concerns.
An Overview of Contents
When to Have the Talk
Research has shown that having continuous conversations about sex can improve communication between parent and child. Getting started is often the most difficult step.
If you’re fighting with when you should have the talk, consider doing it when one of your family friends or family members announces a pregnancy. You can also bring up the subject during a television show or movie when sex or dating is the subject.
Another great time to start talking about sex is when your child is going through sex education and is already learning about the basics.
Questions to Ask
One of the best ways to dive right into this subject is by asking questions. These don’t have to be pushy or even embarrassing, which will give your teen a chance to open up.
There are a lot of different questions you can ask, including the following:
– Have your friends started their periods? Do they talk about it?
– Did you have any questions from sex ed that you felt uncomfortable asking in class?
– When do you think someone should start having sex?
– Have you learned how pregnancy works?
– Do you have any questions about your body changing?
– Do you know what “safe” sex means?
– Have your friends talked about sex?
– Do you know what a healthy relationship is?
– Are any of your friends in relationships?
Of course, the questions that you ask will vary based on your teen daughter or son and their individual personality. Ask a question that relates to what they may be experiencing, whether that’s with friends that are going through puberty or they’re taking sex education in class.
Remember, the question is simply the starting point to a larger conversation. If they don’t want to answer they or seem uncomfortable, you can merely tell them you’d like to discuss sex while they listen. Chances are, they will engage with you at some point.
Subjects to Include in Your Conversation
There are a lot of different subjects to cover when having “the talk”. However, you don’t want this to last hours (neither does your teen), so you should stick with the most important points.
If you miss anything, tackle that during your next talk, as this should be something that happens on a regular basis. A few subjects and notes to keep in mind can be found below.
What is a Healthy Relationship
Explain to your teen that a healthy relationship is one where both people feel valued, respected, and listened to.
It’s also one where both people enjoy spending time together but still keep their own independence. Additionally, a healthy relationship should include mutually followed boundaries and respect.
What is an Abusive Relationship
It’s important that teens understand what abusive relationships are, as they have become more prevalent today. While they may think this means it’s a relationship where someone is being physically abused (it is), it’s also much more than that.
It can mean having a partner that is mentally abusive, controlling, jealous, disrespectful, and mean. You should also note that forced physical contact or rape can be parts of an abusive relationship.
How to Show Respect
Teens can have a hard time showing respect. Even with this challenge, it’s important to explain what respect means within a relationship.
They should know this includes listening, not being forceful, allowing independence, and accepting differences.
Why Balance is Important
When most young adults have a relationship for the first time, it can become their top priority. Although your teen may want to spend all their time with a boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s important that they stay balanced.
Explain that it’s still important for them to maintain relationships with friends and family so that their partner doesn’t become the only person in their life.
Why Communication is Important
For teens, communication with parents can seem like it’s nearly impossible. While they may be open to talking with their friends, they might try to avoid most conversation with you. To overcome this, you must be persistent.
Remind them that communication with parents is important because they’re a constant person in their life who won’t judge them. It’s also important to tell them how important communication is in a relationship, as leaving emotions bottled up can be detrimental to their mental health.
Beginning an Intimate Relationship
While you may be uncomfortable at first, teenagers need to know the basics of intimacy. It’s important to explain that this word isn’t only related to sex. It can also be discussing feelings, holding hands, and laying together watching a movie.
When intimacy moves to the next level and becomes physical, it can mean touching, exploring, and ultimately having sex.
During your talk, you may want to discuss what the mechanics of sex are and what feelings they might have through the different stages. You can also talk about how to put a condom on and what different types of protection can include.
It’s also critical to discuss STDs and all of the details that come with those. This is one part of sex you can’t skip, as it’s incredibly important for teens to know the risks.
Wrapping Up – Creating a Safe Space for Sex Talk
Talking to your teen about sex is a mountain you’ll have to climb whether you’re ready or not. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as difficult or scary as you may think.
By breaking it down into questions and categories, you can truly have a meaningful conversation. This can bring you closer and help ensure your teen has someone to turn to when they need information.
Over to You –
Have you ever had “The Talk” with your teens? What and how did you talk to help them with issues related to sex and relationships? Share in the comments.
Photo credit: sirtravelalot
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