As a follow-up to our other post on talking to your teen about sex, we wanted to offer some advice to parents about how to talk with their teen who already is sexually active or is contemplating becoming sexually active in the near future.
So many teens are sexually active – 7 out of 10 teens have had sexual intercourse by the age of 19. If you concerned that your teen is sexually active and not sure what to say, Planned Parenthood has really outdone themselves with their video series around talking to your teens about sex; this clip will help guide you on where to begin.
Three main points to remember when talking to your teen:
1. Reassure your teen that YOU love them NO matter what. That is what this is really all about, right? You love them and are concerned for them. Make sure that above all else, they know you love them. That means you actually have to say the words “ I love you.” You can even add in “ I love you no matter what.”
2. Listen to them. Really listen. Do not try to change what they are saying to fit more into with how you believe they need to feel. Listen to the message they are trying to convey and try to show them that you understand what they are feeling. One way to do this is by sharing back with they what you hear them saying. For instance:
- Teen: “I just really love him and he loves me and we want to be having sex together, why don’t you get that?”
- You: “It sounds like you are wanting me to know how important he is to you, and you are concerned that I don’t understand and that maybe I am upset with you.”
- To learn more about how to listen and communicate effectively, I highly recommend investing in Marshall and Rosenberg’s book on Nonviolent Communication.
3. Encourage your teen to use birth control and condoms. Destigmatize the shame around the use of condoms and birth control is incredibly important. Reports have found that while teenagers are likely to use a condom the first time they have sex, their behavior becomes inconsistent after that. Another recent study released by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada found that nearly 50 percent of sexually active college students aren’t using condoms. Instill with your teen that you care about their health and safety.
Read more about why teens aren’t having safer sex in this Time article.
Thumbnail image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at Free Digital Photos