The teenage years are some of the most confusing and life-altering years of most people’s lives. So, it’s no surprise that our own teenage children may feel confused and unsure about themselves, their bodies, and their relationships.
In the age of technology, even celebrities are speaking out about the harms of social media. That’s why it’s so important to tell your children and teens about relationships, love, and sex before they learn about it online from various sources. It’s your responsibility to ensure the information they access is accurate and healthy.
Here are some ways to have “the chat” with your teenager about relationships and sex.
Try to Open Up to Their Schedule
Teens don’t like to be bombarded out of nowhere with conversations about their bodies and relationships. Having a talk with your teen about this subject may be difficult for you both, and it’s a serious topic.
Let your teen know that you’re planning to talk to them about these things and that you want to have an open conversation. Give them the chance to choose the date of the conversation and prepare questions to talk about. Before conversing, it might be a good idea to give them some reading material, so they can have time to process the information.
If your teenager continues to put it off, let them know that eventually, you’ll come up to them about it, but you’d prefer that they initiate the conversation when they’re ready. This puts the ball in their court and gives them some control.
Promote Healthy Relationship Examples
When you talk to your adolescent about relationships and sex, it’s crucial to give healthy examples from your own life and in ways that they can understand. Showing unhealthy examples, such as educating them on domestic abuse, can also help but shouldn’t be the focus.
Some examples of topics you can cover include:
- Consent in relationships
- What constitutes emotional abuse
- Healthy communication styles
- Attachment styles
- Mental health in relationships
- Saying “no”
- Setting boundaries in general
You’ll want to let your child know that their boundaries are important and that their partners should always respect them. Consent is one of the most significant pieces of a healthy relationship, which should be talked about more than once with your child.
Offer Access to Resources
Your teen may come to you with some questions when you have the conversation. It’s a good idea to come prepared with learning materials and resources to help them further.
Give your teen information on exactly who to go to if something such as abuse or assault happened to them at any point. These resources could be a school therapist, assault resources in your area, people they can call if they’re in an emergency situation, and more.
You can also offer them brochures or short non-fiction reads about these more important topics, so they have something to read through even after the conversation.
Teenagers love to educate themselves and learn on their own, which is why social media is such a huge influence. Having a peer-supported resource is also a great way to get them to hear you on the topic.
Allow Them to Explore More On Their Own
Overall, it’s essential to give your teen space to process the information you talk to them about. Always be 100% honest and speak from your own experience while also using the resources that come from psychologists, teachers, and communities that have more experience in deeper topics.
Don’t push your kid into reading something if they’re not ready. They might not talk to you about the resource materials you offer, but it doesn’t mean they don’t look at it on their own time.
The most you can do as a parent is to be available and offer support to your child. Even if they don’t utilize it, it’s better than them not knowing what’s available and ending up getting information from the wrong places.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.