Sex education is important! For this reason, you should talk to your teens about sex. Sex education is offered in many schools today, but as a parent, you should not count on the classroom learning and instructions alone. Sex education must continue at home, too. This will greatly help your teen learn more about sex.
The fundamentals of sex education are generally covered in health class. However, your teen may not hear or understand it all. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your child learns more about it to make tough choices about sex. This is where you come in.
It perhaps is awkward, but sex education is a parent’s prime responsibility. By supplementing and reinforcing what your teen learns about sex in school, you can set a stage for a lifetime of healthy sexuality.
- Parents tend to be the most crucial sexuality educators for their teens.
- Parents need not be an expert on sexuality to have meaningful discussions with their children. Parents can share their values, morals about relationships, sexuality, and respect for partners.
- Teens with high self-esteem tend to make better and responsible decisions about sex.
- Some parents believe that talking about sex will provoke their teens to have sex. As a matter of fact, research shows that teens who have discussions with their parents about sex are more likely to postpone sex and use contraception as they begin.
- Peer pressure makes teens to have sex.
- Teenagers generally overestimate the percentage of their peers who are sexually experienced
- The United States has one of the highest teen birth rate in the world among the more developed countries.
Topics You Should Talk About
There are some crucial topics related to sex and sexuality you should be talking about. Though your teen may already have an idea about these topics due to school, friends, media, etc., it is still imperative that you discuss these topics with them in-person. You may find that your teen has been severely misinformed regarding these – you just cannot presume that your child is already well-educated in this regard.
- Sexual intercourse
- Male and female reproductive systems
- Abstinence/postponing sex
- How to show affection without having sex
- Safe sex
- Birth control
- Sexual orientation
- HIV and other STDs
- Emotional consequences of sex – sexual abuse, date rape, sexual assault, etc.
- How the use of drugs and alcohol affect decisions
Make Efforts and Break the Ice
Sex is a staple subject of advertising, entertainment, and news. It is usually tough to overlook this ever-present topic. However, when it is time for parents and teens to talk about it, it certainly is not easy. Being a parent, if you want to find the perfect moment to talk about it, you perhaps will miss the best opportunities.
Instead, consider sex education as an ongoing discussion. Below are some of the vital ideas that can help you get started and keep the conversation going.
- Catch up with a moment – When a music video or TV program highlight issues related to responsible sexual behavior, consider using it as a springboard to generate a conversation. Take into account everyday moments like riding the car, an evening walk, putting away the groceries – these times offer the best opportunities to discuss important matters like sex.
- Be Honest – If you find it all uncomfortable, mention it – however, it is imperative that you explain it to your child that it is something important to discuss and keep talking. If you are not able to answer any of your teen’s questions, offer to find appropriate answers or look them up together.
- Be Direct – You must share your feelings about certain issues, such as intercourse and oral sex. Present the risks involved objectively, including sexually transmitted diseases, emotional pain, and unplanned pregnancy. It is important that you explain to your teen that oral sex is not a risk-free alternative to vaginal or anal sex.
- Consider Your Teen’s Viewpoint – Do not lecture your child or rely on scare approach to discourage sexual activity. Instead, you must listen to their point of view. Understand your child’s concerns, challenges, and pressures.
- Go Beyond the Facts – Your child would need you to provide accurate details about sex – but it is just as crucial to talk about values, attitudes, and feelings. Examine questions of responsibility and ethics in the context of religious and personal beliefs.
- Be Open to more discussions - Let your child know that it is okay for them to talk to you about sex whenever they have concerns or questions. Reward their queries by saying, ‘I appreciate you came to me about this.’
Talking About Some Tough Topics
Sex educations for teens generally include topics like date rape, abstinence, homosexuality along with other complicated topics. Being a parent, you should be well-prepared for questions like:
How do I know that I am ready for sex? It involves several different factors – loneliness, curiosity, and peer pressure, to name a few – generally steer teenagers into early sexual practices. However, it is imperative that you make your teenager understand that there is no rush at all. Remind them that it is okay for them to wait. Sex happens to be adult behavior. Meanwhile, there are several other means that can make them express affection, which includes long walks, intimate talks, listening to favorite music, holding hands, kissing, dancing, hugging and touching.
What if my girlfriend/boyfriend wants to have sex, but I do not? Explain it to them that no one should indulge in sexual activity out of a sense of fear or obligation. Any form of forced sex is rape, whether the perpetrator is a stranger or someone you have been dating.
Make your teen learn the fact that no always means no. Emphasize that drugs and alcohol abuse impair judgments and reduce inhibitions, eventually leading to situations where date rape is very likely to occur.
Am I gay? Many teens, at some point, wonder if they are bisexual or gay. This is where you should be helping your teen understand that they are just exploring sexual attraction. These feelings change with the passage of time. And in case they do not, that is perfectly fine.
A negative response to your teen’s assertions or questions that they are homosexual can lead to negative consequences. Gay, lesbians, transgender, and bisexual youth generally lack family acceptance are at an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, depression, substance abuse, and attempted suicide. Acceptance from the family can greatly help protect against such risks.
Above all, ensure to let your teen know that you love them unconditionally. Praise your child for sharing their feelings with you. Allow them to speak more, listen to them carefully.
Make Teens Learn About Healthy And Unhealthy Relationships
Teens and adults are generally unaware of how regularly date rape occurs, so it is imperative to get the fact and share it with them. Parents should also be alert to warning signs that their teen perhaps is a victim of date rape, such as:
- Drug or alcohol use
- Avoiding social events and friends
- Fearfulness when around the dating partner
- Excusing the behavior of dating partner
- Less or no interest in enjoyable activities and even in school
- Suspicious scratches, bruises or other injuries
Teens who have been in an abusive relationship are at increased risk of facing long-term consequences such as poor academic performance, drug and alcohol abuse, and even suicide attempts. The emotional impact of unhealthy relationship may also be long-lasting, which increases the likelihood of future violent, unhappy relationships.
The lessons teens learn today about healthy relationships, respect, and what is right and wrong is something they will carry along over into their future relationships. It is imperative to talk to your teen now about what does and does not constitute a healthy relationship.
Respond To Their Behavior
If you find your teen being sexually active, whether you think they are ready for it or not, it is imperative than ever to keep the discussion going. Ensure to express your feelings honestly and directly. Remind them that you expect them to take sex along with the associated responsibilities very seriously.
Emphasize on the importance of safe sex, and ensure your teen completely understand how to get and make use of contraception. You may also talk to them about keeping their sexual relationship private, not only as a matter of respect and trust but to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, enforce and set reasonable boundaries, such as rules and curfews about visiting friends of the opposite sex.
Your teen’s physician can be of great assistance, too. A routine checkup can provide your teen with better opportunities to address sexual activity and other related behaviors in a confidential, supportive atmosphere – along with making them learn more about safe sex and contraception.
The physician may also accentuate the importance of routine HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination, both for boys and girls, that not only help put off genital warts, as well as, cancers of mouth, throat, anus, cervix, and penis.
With your love and support, your teen can turn out to be a sexually responsible adult. Always be open and honest. If your teen does not seem interested in what you have to say about sex, say it anyway. They are probably listening and will surely keep that in mind while they are practicing it.