• how to talk to teens about sex: 5 tips

  • how to talk to teens about sexMost parents know that they should, but avoid having any sex talk with their teenager because they don’t know how to talk to teens about sex. Parents worry about feeling uncomfortable or making their teenager feel uncomfortable. I know it isn’t an easy topic for either party, but it is an important topic to continually discuss. When parents provide information on sex, contraception and discuss their values, teens are more likely to adopt their parents’ views and are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior (Jaccard, Dodge & Dittus, 2003). Since it is an important topic to discuss and few parents know how to address it, here are some tips to make it a more successful experience for you and your teen:

    1. Encourage open communication: Let your teenager know that you can answer questions that they have. Be honest with your answers and give them the correct information. Be trustworthy.
    2. Use the correct terms for body parts: This shows your teenager that you aren’t uncomfortable talking about sex and it doesn’t have to be made into a big deal.
    3. Use effective discussion techniques: Listen and ask open ended questions. Be supportive and do not lecture them! This will cause teens to shut down.
    4. Reflect before responding: With your responses to questions, try not to judge them and be careful not to dictate the way you think your child should behave. It will only make them less likely to come to you with questions again. If you disagree with what they are saying, be clear that you do not think less of them as a person.
    5. Keep the conversation flowing: Don’t think it’s over with one “talk”. Your teenager will benefit more from many smaller conversations so keep the communication open for them to come to you with questions in the future.

    Don’t be afraid that having these conversations are going to encourage them to have sex. Chances are, they are already receiving information from other sources. Parents can make sure that the information they receive is accurate.  Having open communication with your child will help your child make more thoughtful and informed decisions in the future related to sex. Hope this helps some parents feel less afraid to approach this sensitive topic!