Most teens say the idea of talking about sex, love and relationships with their parents isn’t something they want to do. Some teens say they’re afraid to do it. But the fact is, most teens do talk to a parent, guardian or another trusted adult about sex and sexuality. You can, too! Here are some reasons why you should and a few tips to help you have an open and ongoing conversation:
Most parents want to talk with their teens about sex. Talking about sex – especially with their kids – can make adults nervous, too. If you haven’t ever talked with your mom, dad or guardian about sex – or haven’t talked about it in a long time, it might be because they feel funny about bringing it up.
Adults can give you some pretty good advice. Your parents – and all adults – were once teens. Sure, their teen experiences weren’t exactly the same as yours, but they may not be as different as you think.
Your parents really do know a lot more than your friends. Most people are shocked to find out, when they get older, how smart their parents really are!
When you talk about topics like puberty, dating and sex with your parents, you might learn some things to help you understand why they feel the way they feel, like what your family’s moral beliefs and values are about these topics and behaviors. You may even hear a funny or embarrassing story about their teen years.
Maybe you don’t think your parents know very much about the right way to act in a relationship. You may feel like any advice they give you sounds like they’re saying “do as I say, not as I do.” That’s okay. Don’t judge. They just want for you to make smart choices – and sometimes those may be smarter choices than they made for themselves.
By starting a conversation about important topics like sex and relationships, you’ll help your parents understand that you’re growing up and being mature.
If you tell your parents that you are using – or want to get – condoms or birth control, they may be upset or unhappy that you’re thinking about or already having sex, but they’ll be happy that you want to keep yourself safe. They know prevention is smart, even if they don’t admit it.
You don’t have to tell your parents every little detail about what’s going on in your life. If you’d rather keep some details private, that is up to you!
Every conversation doesn’t have to be a big deal and it doesn’t have to be a long talk. In fact, it is better to leave the door open for another conversation later so you can keep it going.
Refusing to talk, hiding things or lying about what’s going on with you might make your parents suspicious about what you’re doing. Talking to them can give them reasons to trust you and give you the privacy and space you want.
Some parents just aren’t willing or able to talk about sex openly with their kids or to even be there when their teens need them. If you are in this situation, find another trusted adult that you can talk to. It may be a grandparent, a favorite aunt or a teacher. Some adults (like some doctors, healthcare providers and counselors) are actually experts about relationships, sexuality and teens.
The important thing is to have a reliable and trusted adult that you can talk to when you need to talk about sex.