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Talk to Your Teens

by Aurora

A generation or two ago, the only facts many toddlers had were about their snacks, stories, toys and bedtime. Today, more parents are having “the talk” earlier than ever, armed with a shelf full of books geared toward kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. The conversation still makes many parents squeamish, but it is perhaps more necessary than ever…read more.

first_kiss.jpgI don’t have kids…yet. So, there’s a lot that I can’t understand about parenting, especially parenting teens. But what I do know is that too many parents aren’t talking to their kids about sex. There’s an overall sense of “it doesn’t really matter” among kids as young as ten. Sex is no big deal.

But sex is a big deal. What goes on between the sheets with your kids is your business, and with a world that is increasingly focused on pleasures of the flesh, kids do need certain amounts of protection. Sheltering your kids won’t work, though. You need to sit down and talk about it. After all, some schools are giving junior high kids contraceptives. They need to. Doesn’t that scare anyone? Because it scares me.

Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. However, if you don’t make sex a big deal from the start, it won’t be a big deal ever for your kids. Once adults, it’s ok to make decisions about when and how to have sex. Children can’t make that decision though. Talk to your kids about sex and talk about love. Talk about how to deal with the pressure to have sex felt from peers and how to do with the urges to have sex coming from their own bodies. That’s right, I’m telling you to talk about masturbation. At the appropriate age, of course.

Maybe I do have some benefits of being young and not having kids yet - I can still relate to junior high and high school kids, perhaps better than most parents. So here’s my advice, based on my experience as a kid and my relationship with younger relatives:

1. Don’t underestimate your kids and what they’re talking about on the playground. I first started wondering about babies when I was in about 2nd grade, we played truth and dare (which included kissing) in 4th grade, and we told dirty jokes (many of which we didn’t understand) in 5th grade. And I come from a conservative family and a conservative town. Start talking to your kids from the time they are toddlers.

2. No one believes the “stork” lie. Kids are smart, so take advantage of that to slowly feed them information instead of lying to cover up sex. As a toddler, talking about sex can be as simple as making sure your child understands the difference between boys and girls and the concept that it takes two people who love each other to have a baby.

3. Have a simple sex talk by the time your child is about seven. I know that may seem way too early, but it’s better they hear it from you than other people. Again, you don’t have to teach your daughter how to give a blow job, but you can talk about the simplest way sex works. You don’t even have to get into cum and ovaries, and whatnot. Just sit down and talk about how a husband and wife have a baby when they are in love. Make sure you child understand that holding hands and kissing doesn’t cause pregnancy (lots of youngsters think that!), but that holding hands and kissing is how you show someone that you want to have a baby with them someday. So, they should only do those things when they are old enough and in love with someone.

4. Talk to your child often about how not everyone knows about sex because different parents explain things at different times. Make sure that they tell you about any of their friends that have questions instead of trying to answer the questions themselves. These are private talks that should be kept private.

5. Have the real sex talk by the time your child enters junior high/middle school. For girls, it’s a good time to talk to them because they’ll soon get their period and probably be very confused. Give them a run-down version about how the body works, how it takes sperm and an egg to make a baby, what oral sex is, what STDs are, how to have safe sex, what condoms CAN’T do, and even what an orgasm is. There’s no reason to keep all of this a secret. They’ll find out at school, even if you think your kid has great friends. Or, even worse, kids tease one another when they don’t understand sexual information.

6. Tell your kids you trust them. And then trust them. Don’t be naive, but don’t try to overprotect your children either. Instead of making them stay home, meet their friends. Or, host gatherings at your own house. If your child is going to hang out in co-ed situations, wouldn’t you rather be in the next room?

7. Admit your own mistakes. If you had a one-night stand back in your 20s, tell you child about it and how you feel about it now. Talk about self-respect and what you’ve learned. Talk to them about what you hope they’ll never experience. You don’t have to tell you son or daughter about the regretful memories about the time you let an ex-boyfriend tie you to the bed and whip you (or hey, maybe you don’t regret it). Just admit that you weren’t…and aren’t…perfect. Mistakes are OK, as long as they come to you for help.

8. Set rules about dating, boys/girls, and curfews.
If you’re too strict, your child WILL sneak out, have sex, drink, smoke, etc. However, if you don’t have rules and try to be the “cool” parent, the same thing will happen. Instead, find the happy medium. One way to keep your kid sexually safe is to get him or her involved with school activities, like sports, business clubs, band or choir, religious clubs, and so forth. Continue to host small parties at your own house - you’ll be the best place if you always have lots of food and make yourself scarce so they have their own privacy.

9. Don’t make sex a taboo subject. Your kids should be able to come to you with questions and problems. And realize that your high school student is most likely having sex. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. Talk about sex often, talk about the necessity to use protection and RESPECT, and take your daughter to the gyno annually.

For more parenting tips and information, check out Mom is Teacher’s interesting post about the dangers of sexual socialization at too young of an age.

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3 Responses to “Talk to Your Teens”

  1. tanyetta Says:

    perfect perfect post. i am here by way of love shak baby! i am all for talking to and following up with our kids.

    the best part–making sure our kids know that the communication door is always open!

  2. Between the Sheets » Blog Archive » Talk to Your Preschooler about Sex Says:

    […] to Your Preschooler about Sex by Aurora A few weeks ago, I wrote a post called “Talk to Your Teens” (and it probably should have been titled “Talk to your Children”). It was about the […]

  3. 12 is not 16. Says:

    […] every NEED TO TALK TO THEIR KIDS ABOUT SEX. 12 is too young. Hell, in my opinion, 17 is too young. Talk to your kids about it. You don’t need to be overprotective to make a difference. All you need to do is […]

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