How to Talk to Your Teenage Kids
About Sex and Sexual Health
As a parent, talking to your teenage kids about sex and sexual health might be one of the most difficult things you do. However, following these steps will help make it easier. Plus, it will surely be a fruitful conversation.
Get Comfortable with Your Kids
Talking about sex and sexual health with your kids is not weird at all. However, your teenage kids might not see it that way. Teenagers are more likely to get weirded out than accept it right away when you start talking about sex. So, your first job is to make them feel comfortable and let them trust you.
Since they’re in their teens, they’ve likely come across some of the terms and practices involved in sex. For you to begin the conversation, never let them talk first. They might not reveal everything they know.
One way to go about this is by speaking to them about the importance of such conversations. Then, slowly integrate topics from sex education classes into the conversation. Start with the basics first, like general sex ed and reproductive health. Then, move towards topics like sexual health, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual orientation, staying sexually active, etc.
You must remember that a single session or conversation surrounding these topics will never suffice. You have to sit with them multiple times regarding this and keep the conversation going.
Let Them Know That Sex is More Than Just Biology
Middle and high school students often see sex as a biological process. To them, it’s nothing more than the act of procreating and maintaining the continuity of a species. They are somewhat right regarding this, but not entirely.
Sex is biological, but it can also be a pleasurable recreational activity. People have sex not just to produce kids but also for other reasons. For some, they engage in sex because they are happy. Some engage in sex because they might be sad or lonely. You’ll also find people having sex simply because they feel bored.
Talk About Consent and Boundaries
Teach your kids about consent, digital consent, and boundaries. Make sure they know that no means no. Trying to pursue someone to have sex with them makes it forceful. Doing so means they are no longer respecting the boundaries.
Highlight the ways your kids can respect someone else’s boundaries and preserve their own. Tell them that consent and respect are the pillars of all relationships. A healthy relationship will cease to exist the moment any one of these pillars falls.
Communicate and Listen
Let the conversations go both ways. That means don’t just tell your kids what they should and shouldn’t do. Let them have their say as well. Listen to what they say and reply accordingly. They might be wrong about something, which is highly likely. However, don’t simply tell them they are wrong and be done with it. Instead, tell them why it’s wrong, where the misinformation might have come from, how it should be, etc.
Always let them speak from their hearts. Otherwise, they’ll end up suppressing many things they might have wanted to say. That won’t do you any good and might get your kids into trouble at one point.
Inform Them about Sexual Health
So far into the conversations, you’ve covered plenty of ground. Now it’s time you introduce your kids to the other side of the story.
Start by talking about safe sex and how one can protect themselves. Talk about the precautions to take before engaging in sexual activities. Afterward, move over to what can happen if one fails to adhere to these safe practices.
When talking about STDs, don’t hesitate to talk about the causes, symptoms, and remedies. Explain to them the role of practicing safe sex in preventing these diseases and their spread.
Talk about Sexual Orientations
Sexual orientations vary, and the sooner your kids are aware of that, the better. It will also help them realize their sexuality, what they like and dislike, and how to go about it.
While having this conversation, you must talk them through the discrimination many have to face because of having different sexual orientations. Tell your kids why such discrimination is wrong and that it’s a basic human right to practice sex as per one’s sexual orientation.
Now that you know what to say, it’s time you talk with your teenagers regarding sex and sexual health.
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