One-on-one: Let’s Talk!

By: Candice

“Jesse had condoms at school today and gave me one.”

 “Jordan’s mom let them  have a boyfriend. Why can’t I have a boyfriend yet? It’s not like we would just jump to sex.”

*cue tires squealing/dish dropping/whiplash sequence*

It’s finally here. The “birds and the bees”, “the facts of life”, THE TALK!

Your teen has started asking questions about sexuality and is looking to you for answers. Maybe you think that you should’ve just invested in that puberty book that you saw on display at the bookstore. Or by some stroke of luck, the health teacher at school will tackle it for you. The  good news is that you are not alone! Every day, parents and caregivers handle questions about these topics and sometimes it feels difficult to handle.  However, studies show that parental conversation and support of youth strongly correlates to low-risk behavior and building of autonomy1. Let’s take a look at a few of the different ways we can get a conversation going:

“I’m sure you have questions about what the condom is used for. What did Jesse have to say about them?”

This gives them a chance to ponder on the purpose of protection as well as hearing the perspectives of their peers.

It’s no secret that young people often get information about sex from their peers. Unfortunately, that information is usually a mixed bag of myths, facts, horror stories, and urban legends. By asking  youth questions about what they’ve heard from people their own age, it not only gives you a chance to find out what information (correct or incorrect) is circulating, but also it gives you a chance to have a discussion with your child rather than just lecturing, which nobody likes.

“Maybe we should sit down and talk about this. Perhaps Jordan and their mom have discussed boundaries for dating. We should probably discuss this, too.”

Since they felt like they could tell you about their worries, you could share yours as well.  Sometimes teens assume that parents never want them to have any fun, but that’s not true! Parents just want their teens to be safe and careful in relationships, whether that’s with friends, trusted adults or potential partners.

Take a moment to find a comfortable spot and discuss these types of situations with your teen. Having these conversations takes practice. Discuss your family’s values while also keeping an open ear. By affirming their questions and learning together, we can increase awareness and understanding for all.

1Rodgers, Kathleen Boyce. “Parenting Processes Related to Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors of Adolescent Males and Females.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 1999., 99, JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost. Web. 26 Oct 2015

1Rodgers, Kathleen Boyce. “Parenting Processes Related to Sexual Risk-Taking Behaviors of Adolescent Males and Females.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 1999., 99, JSTOR Journals, EBSCOhost. Web. 26 Oct 2015

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