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Awkward and Uncomfortable: Discussing Sex with Your Kids

Have you ever talked to your teenage kids about sex? Or like in many other families, sex is something you don’t talk about in the household?

The topic might be a little awkward to discuss between parents and kids. You might find finding the right words difficult or feel like it will not do any good if you talk about it.

But what if your kids are only waiting for you to speak up?

Sex Talk: Between Parents and Kids

In a 2017 survey, 52 percent of teenagers ages 12 to 15 rely on their parents for sex matters. Meanwhile, only 32 percent of teens aged 16 to 19 look to their parents for answers. This data shows how the younger teens still look up to their parents to discuss a topic as sensitive as sex. They’d rather hear it from their moms and dads than discuss it with their peers or schools.

But not all parents are ready to talk about it. Here are a few reasons:

Sex Is a Taboo in Most Households

This point can be due to religious or cultural influences. But in most households, sex is a forbidden topic. Others find it disrespectful or malicious to discuss anything related to sexual intercourse. Meanwhile, kids never attempt to ask questions for fear that their parents might scold them. They refuse to ask questions even if they have a lot in mind.

Parents Fear Their Children Will Lose Their Innocence

Some parents are afraid that they might give the wrong impression that they’re allowing their children to experiment. They fear that this can lead to unwanted pregnancies at a young age. They also fear that their kids might misunderstand it as normal and okay to do it any time of the day.

Parents Fear They Might Say the Wrong Thing

Sex education is not as easy as ABC. It is a very sensitive topic that needs guidance and caution before discussing with younger people. Parents should educate themselves as well before they educate their kids. Sex education also requires a different approach of communication to allow your children speak up.

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Preparation Is Key

You don’t just storm into their rooms and get them into talking about something as touchy as sex. You need to plan carefully and prepare for whatever will happen or whatever they will ask. You need to be able to understand your kids as well. Know their needs and issues, so you’ll know how to explain sex.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are what you should be aware of when communicating with your kids:

  • The concept at hand (what is said)
  • Manner (how it is said)
  • Frequency (how often it is said)
  • Understanding (how both sides understand and care for each other)

Here’s how you can prepare before the talk:

  • Educate Yourself First. Read about current relationship trends and how teenagers view sex these days. Understand HIV and STD and teach them how they can protect themselves from this disease. If they imply their sexual activity, you can list centers where they can get walk-in STD testing or HIV testing. You have to know and understand what you are saying, so you’ll be ready when they ask questions. Read as many books, articles, magazines that you can share with your kids for extra reading.
  • Study How Your Child Responds to the Conversation. You know your kids well enough. You see them every day. You hear their stories. By now, you know what topics they are uncomfortable with and what will engage them in conversation. You have to open the talk in such a way that they will not be shy or awkward. Will they be comfortable when you talk to them alone? Or will they speak up more if they are with the other siblings? Will they be comfortable doing it in the living room? In the bedroom? Or in the car? You have the find the perfect way and the perfect timing to get them to speak up. And if they are not yet ready, don’t force them.
  • Listen More. Open the conversation but allow them to speak. Listen to their thoughts and don’t interrupt. Try to answer their questions one by one. Do not impose but let them understand the consequences. You’d want them to decide for themselves without having to impose on them.

The goal is to make them understand the possible consequences of their actions. By then, they will learn to be responsible. Talking with them about sex doesn’t mean you forbid them from having sex. It’s their life and choices after all. As parents, you can only guide as much. So start them young.

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