As parents, we can make a difference when we talk with our kids. In fact, teens often name their parents as the biggest influence in their decisions about sex. Teens who report having conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners, and use condoms and other contraceptives when they do have sex.
If you have not started talking to your children already, now is the time to start. It is never too late. We all remember our first time and what it was like, and no matter what, we want more for our children. It is common for parents to want their children to wait for marriage. But times have changed, and teens aren’t waiting to have sex.
It is important to teach our teens about love. When you love someone, sex can be wonderful. Knowing someone for a week, a month, or two months isn’t enough. You have to know your partner and his or her history before consenting to having sex.
It is important to ask your teen:
- What is her definition of love?
- What is her idea of affection, both physical and emotional?
- What does she already known about sex?
- How does she feel about relationships in general?
- Who are her role models? Why?
Besides the physical considerations, there are also emotional considerations. Your teen could feel regret, shame, anger, or guilt after a sexual encounter.
You need to ask:
- Have you thought about waiting to have sex until you’re an adult?
- Do you know if any of your friends have had sex? Don’t ask for names. This will give you a general idea if they talk about it.
- Do you know about contraception, and are you prepared to use it?
- How will you get contraception?
- What if you had sex when you felt you weren’t ready, but the other person pressured you, and it turned out to be an unhappy experience?
- What if you become pregnant? What will you do?
- Do you know what human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is? What if you contracted HIV and developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)? Are you ready to deal with a heavy-duty sickness that could possibly end your life?
- Do you know what a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is?
- What would you do if you contracted an STD?
- What if you passed it on to another person? How would you feel?
- Would you say no if you felt the time and place weren’t right?
Again, it is not an easy discussion to have, and you don’t have to talk about it all at once. Make it a part of your everyday life when those teachable moments arise. A local news program can lead to discussions about sex. For example, the announcer states: “Coming next: pregnant teen abandons baby,” and you have an excellent starter!