Top 10 Tips for Talking to Your Teens About Sex


  1. Talking about sex with your teen isn’t a one-time thing. It should be an ongoing conversation. Look for chances to ask questions and talk to your teen about sex. TVs, movies and advertisements that you see together can be great conversation starters. While it is best to begin the conversation when your child is younger, it is never too late to start!
  2. Talk with your teen instead of at him or her. Remember to “share” and not give a speech or preach! This is too important to just say “Don’t do it!” or “You’re too young!” or “Be Safe!”. It doesn’t work.
  3. Keep conversations short and simple. Don’t overload him or her with too much information at once. Talks don’t have to be overwhelming for either of you. Talk while doing another activity together. Use a little humor.
  4. Be sympathetic. Let your teen know that you remember that it can be hard to be a teenager. Explain that you understand the social pressures and obligations teens can feel.
  5. Be positive. For example, talk about the great future your teen can have, instead of using “scare tactics.”
  6. Talk about health, trust and relationships – not just sex. Help your teen understand how these things are important and related.
  7. Stress safety. Regardless of your views on how old your teen should be before having sex, safety is an important part of the message from parents. Make sure your teen knows that safer sex requires a condom every single time to prevents STDs. Stress the importance of using birth control and make sure your teen knows that all birth control methods do not provide protection against STDs.
  8. Ask questions to find out what your teen knows and believes about sex, babies, STDs and relationships. Don’t assume what your teen knows or doesn’t know.
  9. Give teens honest information. You don’t have to have all the answers, though. Say so when you’re not sure how to answer a question and offer to do some research to find out the answer. Even better, research the question together as a learning opportunity. Do your homework so you have as much information as possible.
  10. Try to stay cool, calm and collected. Becoming angry or overreacting to a question or mistake can upset your teen and make him or her avoid talking to you at all. It’s okay to be a little nervous! Remember though, that what you say and how you say it matters.

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