Once your child reaches the teenage years, or may even a few years before this happens, you may realize that it is time to have “the talk”. Many parents dread talking to their children about sex and don’t think for one moment that your child does not also dread it. Talking about sex to a teenager or pre-teen can be uncomfortable and awkward but protecting your child is important. You may actually be surprised at what your child thinks about sex.
Studies have shown that out of every 1,000 pre-teens or tweens (children ages 11 to 14), nearly a third have had a boyfriend or girlfriend and one in every four have stated that they believe having sex is part of any relationship. The topic of sex is such a delicate one that many parents put it off until they think that their child is ready. If your child is over the age of 11, he or she is likely ready. Having the sex talk with them now rather than later can help you to avoid certain issues that you would rather not face when your child is still underage.
When it comes time to speak with your child about sex, find a good moment to do so. You want to be certain that you have your child’s full attention but let the subject come naturally. Try not to force the conversation. Be very upfront about your feelings. Of course, you want your daughter to be finished with high school and college before she ever considers getting pregnant, but you have to be realistic. Let your child know what you do and do not approve of regarding relationships. If you feel that your son should date several girls at once (in an effort to keep him from getting too serious about one girl), then tell him so. You want to be perfectly honest about how you feel regarding their sexual experiences.
Do not expect your child to just open up and tell you everything all at once. Expect a few brick walls that you will need to get around. He or she may simply nod their heads or shrug in answer. Ask questions that are open-ended or give them a few examples of how someone may feel when faced with a certain sexual situation. Be a very good listener when your child is speaking. Try not to pass judgment or lecture your child. This is not the time for that. Now is a time to speak openly and honestly and really listen to what your child is saying.
You can point out the pros and cons of making certain sexual choices and try not to make sex sound like a dirty deed. Your child should acquaint sex with love and respect for themselves as well as their sexual partner. Don’t be surprised if your child is under pressure to have sex. Most teenagers today feel some pressure to become sexually active. Help your child to discover ways to handle this pressure without doing something that they are not ready to do. Be open and don’t be afraid to be specific. If you are concerned about the amount of time that your child is spending with his or her significant other or you are concerned that they are not using condoms, say so. Although this may be one of the most difficult and awkward conversations you will ever have with your child, it will give you peace of mind and help your child to prepare for their own sexuality.
Most of all, don’t consider this a one-time conversation. Make sure that your son or daughter knows that they can come to you at any time to discuss sex. Having an ongoing conversation will help you to protect your child from a number of sexual regrets. If you are still having problems in bringing up the subject or you simply do not know what to specifically say, you can find many online support groups that will help you to deal with this touchy subject.