From the moment you realize that you are a parent, you dread this conversation: “The Talk”. This is one conversation most people do not remember fondly, nor do they enjoy having it. However, that does not negate the importance of this particular exchange. The thing to remember is if your child is smart enough to ask questions then they are smart enough to find the answers one way or another. You want to be the first option in your teen’s life for those answers especially in this situation, because the alternative is probably the internet. Everyone knows what you get about sex on the internet. If you start by being open and honest with your child when they are young, they will keep coming back to you for information not the internet.
The hardest part of this whole thing may happen before you even talk to your teen because you are afraid of this conversation. This topic, sex, makes you nervous. The truth is that you will get through this. Your open honesty will be appreciated; if you do not have all the answers, say that you can find them together. Open up the conversation by telling your teen that it makes you uncomfortable, and it may make them uncomfortable too. Do not underestimate the intelligence of your teen by “dumbing” this down because you are afraid. That is the biggest disservice you could do them in this stage of life.
This point could not be said more often: Honesty is key with your teenager. If they cannot trust in you and the things you tell them, whom will they trust? This means answering all of their questions honestly. Do they want to know about you when you were their age? Tell them, obviously leave out the gory details, but be honest about how you navigated these waters. Point out the pros and cons of your choices. Learning from your experience is much healthier than going out and bumbling around on their own.
As the parent in their life, you are the difference between a healthy teenager and an unhealthy teenager. Your choices directly affect their lives. Do your teen a favor and talk to them about sex before they start having it. Do you think they might already? It is never too late to open that communication line. Just make it clear that talking with you is a safe and normal thing to do. You want to be their biggest source of information and safety, not their friends and, definitely, not the internet. This means educating them on sex, the merits of waiting and, of course, safe sexual practices. The fact is all you can do is educate them; they will make their own decisions. It is up to you how informed those decisions will be.
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