Many parents feel embarrassing when teaching their teens about sex. How can you talk not to make them run for cover? Below are 10 tips can help you and your teens.
1. Don’t Preach
Do not start your talk with “Don’t”. If you start giving orders and admonitions about sex, the whole conversation will be lumped into a mental category reserved for your rants — the one titled “disregard.”
2. Encourage Openness
Avoid preaching to your teens, try opening the conversation with questions which are safe enough to establish trust and banter:
- Have your friends had “the conversation” with their parents yet?
- What did your friends say about it?
- What do you and your friends think about the sex-ed classes at school?
3. Talk to Them Early
The late preadolescent years are a fine time to talk about sex for the first time. Your preadolescent child will be receptive to what you’re saying, and not embarrassed — or at least not too much. Try small talks about sex advance the conversation over time, but not so often your teen wants to melt into the ground and disappear every time you enter the room.
4. Be “Askable”
Do not delay answering your teens’ questions about sex with saying “We’ll talk about that when you’re older” too often. Always attempt to answer your kids’ questions to the best of your ability (making concessions for age and maturity), so that they’ll keep asking those questions as they grow older.
5. Let Them Know They’re Sexually Normal
Don’t treat your teens’ questions or accidentally discovered behaviors as shocking or immoral — they can’t help themselves.
6. Be Comfortable with the Subject
If you feel embarrassed when you’re talking about sex, your teens will be embarrassed, too. Because if you act or behave as if you’re uncomfortable talking to your teen about sex, your teen’s going to end the ordeal just to help end your own embarrassment. Read up on the subject so your own questions are answered before talking with your teen. And also learn what they’ve been taught in sex-ed classes at school so you’re not trumped during your conversation, losing authority on the subject forever.
7. Don’t Focus Just on STDs and Pregnancy
Don’t make the risks of STDs and unwanted pregnancies the sole focus of the conversation although they are your main concerns regarding your teen and sex. Present these topics well into your discussion about sex, as natural conversational topics that stem out of the subject as a whole. Let them know that ultimately they will be responsible for their own decisions about sex.
8. Not the Spanish Inquisition
Do not lead the conversation with an aggressive line of questioning. If you do that, you’ll get lies, silence or outright hostility. Your job is to provide realistic information that helps them make the best decisions, and it’s their job to stonewall you as soon as you use an accusatory tone.
9. Make Sure It Isn’t a One-way Conversation
Sometimes, when you are talking, and your teen appears to be listening but actually, the only thing your teen’s paying attention to is an attempt to wind this conversation up as quickly as possible without learning too much in the process. Pay attention to their murmurings or mutterings, because they may provide you with the opportunity to get their actual thoughts on the matter.
10. Provide Educational Resources
Have small talks educationally by searching out solid sources of information before talking to your teens about sex, and make these available to them. Start off with a talk, and afterward, provide them with (age-appropriate) written information about sexuality. Later, discuss the materials and content with them.