How to Talk with Your Teen

Yes, we know that talking with your teens about sex can be uncomfortable.  But let's face it - they are already getting lots of information from other sources like their peers and the media. Surveys have shown that teens really do want to hear what their parents think about these issues. They are trying to sort out their feelings and their values and parents have the opportunity to help them with some difficult decisions.
Let's face it, teens probably already know about the "plumbing" - how their bodies work and that sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy.  What they really want help with are questions about relationships, love, values and how to handle the decisions they will have to make about sexual activity. Here are some tips to help start the conversation.
  • Choose a quiet calm time when you won't be interrupted.
  • Take advantage of "teachable moments" such as movie and TV scenarios. Ask questions such as "What did you think about that? "
  • It's okay to admit that you are uncomfortable or don't have all the answers.
  • Listen, don't lecture. The quickest way to shut down a conversation is to do all the talking.
  • Be respectful of your teen's feelings and opinions.
  • Be clear about your family values and expectations. Your teen is not a mind reader. You need to be specific about how you feel.
  • Don't use a double standard.  Both boys and girls need to know how to make good decisions about sex.
  • This shouldn't be a one time conversation. Make sure your teen knows that he or she can talk with you at any time.
In general be open and approachable and don't assume that your teen is sexually active just because he or she has questions.

If you would like more information on how to talk with your teen, contact: tammy.miller@ppsfl.org.