When it comes to talking to youngsters about sex, most parents resort to educational books, videos or resources in the classroom. Few parents will actually sit down with their junior high school or high school student and have a one-on-one conversation about this sensitive subject. Yet that is the best approach. It ensures that your teen is clear on the subject, has no lingering questions, and feels comfortable talking to his or her parents about the issue.
When kids are limited to their school’s sexual education program or literature that explains sexuality, they don’t have anyone to pose questions to. Make it clear to your children at the outset of your conversation that you are always going to be there if they have any questions about sex, regardless of how awkward the questions may feel. If your children say that they feel uncomfortable speaking with mom and dad about sex, allow them to pose questions to a trusted aunt or uncle or another adult that you know well. However, this should be a last resort. Explain to your children that they need to overcome awkward feelings when speaking about sex with mom and dad. Even if they don’t ask questions right away, the mere fact that you suggested that they ask you questions might be enough to persuade them to do so in the future.
When you broach the topic of sex, do everything that you can to prevent your children from feeling awkward. Ask them to take your words seriously. One of the most important things that you can explain to your child is that the media portrays sex as a lustful act. Remind your child that the act of unprotected sex can lead to a baby. You should explain that sex should be respected as something that two people, who are in love, share together.
Instead of asking your children what they know about sex, STDs and condoms, go ahead and cover those topics yourself. You don’t have to give an hour long speech on each. Be brief but thorough enough to hold your children’s attention while still being informative. Make it clear that you want your children to interrupt you whenever they have any semblance of a question or confusion. The key is to establish an ongoing dialogue so that your children never feel like they can’t speak to you about sex. If you keep reinforcing the fact that mom and dad will always be available to answer sensitive questions, your kids will be more inclined to speak up.
Abstinence and Premarital Sex
While abstinence might not be a realistic option for some teens, others will be determined to avoid the intimacy of sex until they’ve committed to their life partner. Regardless of your child’s outlook, you should explain the danger of STDs. Tell your children that you understand that they might have premarital sex. However, stress the importance of using protection when having sex. Delve into male and female condoms. Explain how they are applied, how they function and the chance that they will malfunction. If necessary, refer to YouTube videos for demonstrations of how to put on condoms. Be sure to queue up specific YouTube videos that you have prescreened. This way, you won’t be surprised by some unexpected content that pops up in certain online videos.
While YouTube is a great educational resource, it provides information through a monologue. Your child needs a parent to ask questions of. So don’t put your child in a room with merely a playlist of YouTube sexual education videos. Reinforce the importance of an ongoing dialogue so that your child is never left confused or uninformed on this important subject.