Promoting Healthy Sexuality - Teens
Talking with your teen about sex can be challenging for even the most easygoing parents.
Some prefer to stay silent and assume their teens will pick up what they need to know from school and the media. Others parents believe that talking to teens about sex will encourage sexual experimentation.
The truth is that your teenager needs to be informed and have the necessary skills and information to act responsibly and safely. As your children grow into teenagers, you’ll keep the lines of communication open when you recognize, respect, encourage, show and guide.
- Recognize when your teens need clear rules and supervision. When they demonstrate good judgement they’re ready for greater independence.
- Respect your teens' need for privacy and their space.
- Be encouraging. Help your teens to feel good about themselves, their changing bodies and their emotions.
- Be a good role model. Show your interest by being ready to listen without prying for personal details.
- Guide your teens as they develop their own personal value systems.
Some of your teen’s values will be different from yours. Expect them to test you; otherwise they wouldn't be thinking for themselves. They need to know you won’t over-react when they share their thoughts and feelings.
Examples of values related to sexuality include:
- Choice, respect, commitment and love.
- Taking time for a relationship to grow and deepen before having sex.
- Choosing abstinence.
- Being open to sexual orientation.
A teen who is struggling alone with sexual orientation and identity is at high risk for depression and suicide. If you’re uncomfortable with homosexuality or bisexuality, get knowledgeable support for yourself and your teen.
Tips for Talking With Teens
Help Your Teen Handle Sexual Issues and Situations
Always remember that you - not television, celebrities or friends - are the most important role model for your teen.
Teens need to know not only their sexual rights and responsibilities, but also how to protect themselves against bullying, drink spiking, date rape and sexual harassment.
You can promote healthy sexuality in your teen by helping him or her: