In today’s society teenagers are becoming more and more involved in sexual relationships, and intercourse. Many parents do not know how to talk to their children about sexual matters, but the problem is that it needs to be said, and teenagers need to learn about the true consequences of a sexual relationship.
A parent may feel that they are too embarassed to talk to thier children or teenagers about sex. But the truth is that children will listen, if you will only talk. Today, more than anything, teenagers need to have a parent to talk to, and come to, when they need help, or need to talk.
Teenagers are becoming pregnant at a young age, and many are having abortions. Teen pregnancy is a big thing today, but some of it can be prevented if parents are more involved in thier children's activities and lifestyle.
A good time to talk to a child is around the age that they first become sexually active, or you can see them getting to that point. Explain what can happen, and teach them methods of birth control. Never be afraid to talk to your teenager about the proper birth control methods. If you have to, buy them a condom, and show them how it works. They will listen and learn. Never be afraid to ask your teen-aged daughter if she would like to go on the birth control pill, or another birth control method. Take to her doctor on a regular basis, and discuss future options with her.
The truth is that many children learn about pregnancy, sexual intercourse, and STD’s in high school, but by this point some are already active in sexual relationships. Teenagers need to be taught about this before high school: prepare them.
Never be afraid to talk to your child. A parent and a child should never be afraid to communicate. Talk about any other topics, such as drugs, and so on, that might have a large effect on your child's life.
If you are afraid or too embarassed to talk to your children, go to a hospital or a free clinic, and ask one of them to talk to your child. They may even have sample packets for this specific purpose. These types of bags typically include pamphlets, condoms, and important information that every child needs to know.
The most important thing to remember is that your children are counting on you. They at times may feel uncomfortable talking to you about sex, but it needs to be said and needs to be talked about. Think of what you could change or prevent: pregnancy, the acquiring of a sexually transmitted disease, and so on.
Children, again, will listen when talked to. Do your part as a parent: raise them with the proper information that could save a life, or make a healthier life further down the road. Never be afriad to talk to your child about sex.
Sex education basics may be covered in health class, but your teen might not hear — or understand — everything he or she needs to know to make tough choices about sex. That's where you come in. Awkward as it may be, sex education is a parent's responsibility. By reinforcing and supplementing what your teen learns in school, you can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy sexuality.
Breaking the ice
Sex is a staple of news, entertainment and advertising. It's often hard to avoid this ever-present topic. But when parents and teens need to talk, it's not always so easy. If you wait for the perfect moment, you might miss the best opportunities. Instead, think of sex education as an ongoing conversation. Here are some ideas to help you get started — and keep the discussion going.
- Seize the moment. When a TV program or music video raises issues about responsible sexual behavior, use it as a springboard for discussion. Remember that everyday moments — such as riding in the car or putting away groceries — sometimes offer the best opportunities to talk.
- Be honest. If you're uncomfortable, say so — but explain that it's important to keep talking. If you don't know how to answer your teen's questions, offer to find the answers or look them up together.
- Be direct. Clearly state your feelings about specific issues, such as oral sex and intercourse. Present the risks objectively, including emotional pain, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Explain that oral sex isn't a risk-free alternative to intercourse.
- Consider your teen's point of view. Don't lecture your teen or rely on scare tactics to discourage sexual activity. Instead, listen carefully. Understand your teen's pressures, challenges and concerns.
- Move beyond the facts. Your teen needs accurate information about sex — but it's just as important to talk about feelings, attitudes and values. Examine questions of ethics and responsibility in the context of your personal or religious beliefs.
- Invite more discussion. Let your teen know that it's OK to talk with you about sex whenever he or she has questions or concerns. Reward questions by saying, "I'm glad you came to me."
Addressing tough topics
Sex education for teens includes abstinence, date rape, homosexuality and other tough topics. Be prepared for questions like these:
- How will I know I'm ready for sex? Various factors — peer pressure, curiosity and loneliness, to name a few — steer some teenagers into early sexual activity. But there's no rush. Remind your teen that it's OK to wait. Sex is an adult behavior. In the meantime, there are many other ways to express affection — intimate talks, long walks, holding hands, listening to music, dancing, kissing, touching and hugging.
- What if my boyfriend or girlfriend wants to have sex, but I don't? Explain that no one should have sex out of a sense of obligation or fear. Any form of forced sex is rape, whether the perpetrator is a stranger or someone your teen has been dating. Impress upon your teen that no always means no. Emphasize that alcohol and drugs impair judgment and reduce inhibitions, leading to situations in which date rape is more likely to occur.
- What if I think I'm gay? Many teens wonder at some point whether they're gay or bisexual. Help your teen understand that he or she is just beginning to explore sexual attraction. These feelings may change as time goes on. Above all, however, let your teen know that you love him or her unconditionally. Praise your teen for sharing his or her feelings.
Responding to behavior
If your teen becomes sexually active — whether you think he or she is ready or not — it may be more important than ever to keep the conversation going. State your feelings openly and honestly. Remind your teen that you expect him or her to take sex and the associated responsibilities seriously.
Stress the importance of safe sex, and make sure your teen understands how to get and use contraception. You might talk about keeping a sexual relationship exclusive, not only as a matter of trust and respect but also to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Also set and enforce reasonable boundaries, such as curfews and rules about visits from friends of the opposite sex.
Your teen's doctor can help, too. A routine checkup can give your teen the opportunity to address sexual activity and other behaviors in a supportive, confidential atmosphere — as well as learn about contraception and safe sex. For girls, the doctor may also stress the importance of routine human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to help prevent genital warts and cervical cancer.
With your support, your teen can emerge into a sexually responsible adult. Be honest and speak from the heart. If your teen doesn't seem interested in what you have to say about sex, say it anyway. He or she is probably listening.
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