It is not always easy for parents to discuss sexual issues with their children. Today, with the serious consequences of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is more important than ever to have these talks.
Teens have many questions and need the facts. They also need your advice on family values. You can lay down the law, but you cannot control your teen's every waking moment. The best you can do is give information and let teens know that you are there to listen and support them.
It is a good idea to start talking about sex with children before girls get their first menstrual period or boys have their first wet dream, so they will know that these events are normal. It is also important to tell them that sex should involve commitment, trust, self-esteem, and love. It's OK to feel nervous about this topic. Here are some tips for setting the stage:
Many parents find it helpful to give their teen a book on human sexuality and say, “Take a look at this book and then let’s talk about it.”
It often helps to have a specific question to get the conversation started. Here are a few to try:
There are many fine resources to turn to. There are many books at stores and libraries that can help you learn how to talk with your child about sex. Ask your child's healthcare provider to recommend one for you.