“Mom, we’re teenagers in love! Why can’t we be together?” What do you say when your teen proclaims their heartfelt love for another? Most parents and adults dismiss adolescent love as trivial, transient and not worth taking seriously. This attitude about the love your son or daughter feels is a serious mistake. These feelings are anything but trivial to your teen. Let’s look at what’s going on here, physically, not what your kid is doing with their body, but what is going on inside their body.
Girls’ bodies usually develop before same aged boys are experiencing a chemical upheaval as their bodies prepare for pregnancy and childbirth. Boys have their own chemical explosion as testosterone levels increase. Your teen’s body is going through natural biological and chemical changes that eventually thrust them out of your house and into each others arms.
Your teen may know that you strongly disapprove of sexual relations at their age, but their body doesn’t. You may not like it, but their body is preparing for giving birth. It’s nature’s way of making sure that there are plenty of people in the world. Like we need more people, but the body doesn’t know that either.
It’s really important that you prepare yourself and be available to talk about sex, sexual development and sexual relationships with your teenager. You don’t need to be an expert but you need to get the basic facts down which can be viewed online at: www.4parents.gov/index.html.
In addition to this site there is another wonderful website from the UK whose approach is a wonderful slant on a very serious topic. It is hilarious and thought provoking. After all, adolescent sexual development and behavior is too important to take too seriously. Check their site out at: http://sexperienceuk.channel4.com/sex-education/programme-6
Many parents tap dance around sexual issues. Yes, it is important to be grounded in factual information but it is equally as important to know how to respond to your teens questions about sex, sexual development or intimate relationships. Make sure that you are proactive and bring this subject up.
Start (before middle school) early to educate your children about sex and sexual development. Be a resource for them and do not wait for them to come to you. Approach them first and they learn that you are open to talking about sex. Start early and they will bring their questions and concerns to you. You must remain vigilant and on the lookout for signs that your teen or preteen has sex on their mind.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when talking with your teen about sex.
- Remain calm and do NOT jump to conclusions! Do not assume that your son or daughter is having unprotected sex with everyone they can. They are not. Even though the age of first sexual intercourse has dropped over the past two decades it does not mean that all teenagers are out there sexing it up. Most of them are not sexually active even if they say their friends are. So, take a few deep breaths and say “Please, tell me more.”
- Listen carefully and make sure you understand what the issue is for your teen. They are nervous about talking with you about their sexual concerns and may not be direct. Be aware of body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. These will tell you how your teen is feeling. Reframe their concern as a way to make sure you understand.
- Acknowledge their feelings as legitimate. Many teenagers expect adults to minimize their feelings related to love and sex. They don’t trust adults and parents in particular to be honest with them about love, relationships and sex. Adolescence is when your teen discovers all the lies adults told them, perhaps even some lies of your own.
- Stress with your teen that you do not support sexual activity at their age, but also want them to be informed because this decision. Be clear that sexual behavior with another person needs to be part of an intimate relationship. Verify that your teen understands that unprotected sex has serious consequences such as sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy. They may already know this, but what they may not know is that sex can ruin an otherwise wonderful friendship.
- Love, affirm and accept your teen for who they are at the moment. You may not like their thinking or their behavior, but these factors are not who they are. See beyond the emotional, impulsive and sometimes immature person they may be at times and see them as competent and capable. Your confidence in them will carry significant weight in the decisions they make when you are not there.
Talking about sex and sexual development has never been a parental forte, but your efforts to listen without judgment will pay off in ways much greater than getting out of high school without making a baby. There is evidence that the longer teenagers go without procreating, the better their lives will be. I know this is true and so do you. There is only one thing to remember when talking with your teen about sex.
Listen more than you talk.
Here’s a tune I remember from when I was a teenager in love. Please comment and “Like” this post.