Tips on How to Talk to Your Internet-Savy Kids About Sex

It is very important to gain children's trust when talking with them about sex so they feel comfortable approaching you about decisions and questions. Answer questions age-appropriately. Pre-teens and younger adolescents may need simpler, more concrete answers. The ability to handle more information and more sophisticated information increases with age, but if they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to understand the facts.

Additional Tips on Talking About Sex

It is also important to tell children or teens about your values and beliefs and to understand theirs. You might say to a teen, "I don't believe anyone is allowed to pressure or force anyone else to have sex, even in a relationship. Do you agree with that?"

Step 4: Ask your child if they understand the answer.

After answering the question, ask, "Does that answer your question?" Ask them to tell you what they heard. You may even want to bring up issues you already talked about to find out how much your child understood during the previous conversation.

Try to be open and available when a child wants to talk.

Some common fears that many parents have include:

Looking dumb. Many of us weren't taught about sex and sexuality, yet we may feel that we should know all the answers. But if our children ask us about something we don't know, we can simply say, "I don't know. Let's find out together."

Feeling embarrassed. It's very common for parents or children to feel embarrassed when talking about sex and sexuality. The best way to handle it is to admit how we're feeling — we can simply say, "I might get a little tense or uncomfortable during this conversation, and you might, too. That's OK for both of us — it's totally normal."

Encouraging sexual experimentation. There is a myth that information about sex is harmful to children and that it will lead to sexual experimentation. The fact is that our children won't be more likely to have sex if we talk about it. In reality, kids who talk with their parents about sex are more likely to postpone having sex.

Feeling as though talking won't make a difference. Children look to their parents to teach them about sexuality. Most young people prefer to hear about it from their parents than from other people. In fact, young adolescents place parents at the top of their list of influences when it comes to their sexual attitudes and behaviors.

Relate Lessons to Life

Start conversations with "teachable moments."

Spend a week or so noticing how topics you'd like to discuss come up in your family's everyday life. Think about what you might ask your child about them to get conversations going. And think about your own opinions and values about these topics, and how you can express them clearly to your child. After you've thought about what you want to say on a subject, use the next teachable moment that comes up.

For more information on talking to your children about sex, check out the links below:

How to Talk With Your Children About Sex
How to Answer Questions About Sex
Tips for Talking With Your Children

Source: Planned Parenthood

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