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  • Narda Skov

Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex & Sexuality


More tips for talking with teens about sensitive and important topics! This is a second in a series of tips for parents - no matter how comfortable you feel talking to your tweens or teens, we can always use some helpful tips to make the conversation go more smoothly. Remember, they are listening and want to hear your values, thoughts and guidance about entering into romantic relationships, now or in the future.


Talking About Sex & Sexuality


Tip 1: 'The Talk' involves talking.

Teens may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable bringing up questions about sexual health and sexuality and they might not know where to go for good information. Parents, educators, and caregivers know their own experiences! Sharing personal stories or a friend's story can help a youth in need of support. It helps to normalize a teen's experience and lets them know that they aren't as abnormal as they might feel.


Talking about difficult subjects like sex, consent, and safety are not a "one-and-done" conversation. These are complex issues. Teens are interested in different aspects of sex and sexuality at different times, so asking what they would like to know instead of assuming is more helpful.


Tip 2: Talking is collaborative.

There's a lot of pressure to know everything there is to know and be ready to answer any possible questions that come up. It's okay not to know everything and it's okay to admit that to teens.


This is a chance to say, "You know what? I don't know the answer to that. Let's look it up together." This can also be a great opportunity to help a young person find another trusted adult or science-backed resource who can help with answers or offer support.


Tip 3: Talking involves listening.

Talking about sex can also be a space for talking about self-esteem. Some young people gain confidence during dating practices. But some young people may become insecure if they begin to mature and experience things at a different rate than their peers.


To keep the conversation open and moving, adults need to listen to find out what's going on with the teen in their life. When adults practice listening to teens, they'll be more prepared to let them know, "I Understand where you're coming from, and I take your concerns seriously." Active listening can make young people feel more comfortable sharing their concerns. This is a foundation adults can build on to support youth they're connected to.

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