Tween and Teenagers
Talking Sex To Your Teen
For most mothers of young children, talking to their future teens about sex seems like a disturbing thought.
“I don’t look forward to that at all!” is what most moms of young kids say to me as they shudder at the thought.
And I can’t say I blame them. There’s this hard transition we go through when realizing that our babies are becoming men and women, and that even before that happens they are thinking and talking about sex.
My husband and I have talked about sex to our teen son more times than he would like, I am sure. The discomfort on his face makes it clear these are not fun conversations to have. I can’t say they are any more pleasant for us, but they are not as bad as we imagined they would be.
For me, talking about sex to my teen is my way of trying to give him the best information that I can to keep him from making the worst decisions that he can make. Kids have so much access to information, through friends, online, in movies and so many others places, a lot of which is very one-sided or untruthful.
I am very clear with my son about sex, one of my favorite lines to use – and one that makes him want to get swallowed up by earth every time is:
“I’m not going to lie to you. Sex is great. I love having sex. Me and your father have sex all the time, BUT we also have three kids because of it and are prepared enough to handle the responsibilities brought on by our actions.”
He wants to die each time, I know it, but I say it over and over because I want him to have a real example of what sex is: something beautiful that can happen between two people who truly love each other, something pleasurable that happens between two people who are attracted to each other, and something which can lead to having a bunch of kids (just to name one possibility).
And we talk about the safety of sex, the health concerns, the emotional concerns, the responsibility of it all.
I remind my boy that for him, at 14, sex would be more of a burden than it would be fun because it would lead him to have to sneak around and lie to us, break our trust and affect our relationship. But I also inform him of ways to protect himself.
That balance is the hardest, because you don’t want to encourage or confuse. For us, we focus our message on two things: trust and responsibility. We advise him to make his choices, for almost every aspect of his life, based on those two principals. Is anything he does worth the risk of breaking our trust? Is he able and willing to deal with the responsibility and consequences of his actions?
My only tip for moms and dads not knowing how to talk to their teens about sex is to do it in a way that is honest and truthful. Telling kids that sex is bad, or simply saying you are too young is not enough. Kids are learning and picking up things outside from what you have to say. Everything out there is indicating that it is fun and good and worth risking everything for. Our responsibility is to balance that out and give them the whole picture, the part the friends and media leave out, without denying the truth of what sex can be.
There is no guarantee that my teen will follow our advice, heed our words of caution, but repetition is key and talks are helpful. I don’t want my son to feel it is a bad thing, as much as I want him to understand the responsibility that it comes with and the many risks involved, especially in unprotected sex, no matter how good he keeps hearing everyone tell him it is.
It’s not fun for us at all, but less fun would be for us to have to deal with the consequences. And that alone makes it a conversation worth having over and over till he gets it.