Love for your child is your strongest asset and most effective tool in aiding your discussion. Love them and be there for them no matter what; make sure they know how much you love them and care for them and will always be there for them.
Be a friend and a parent. Your child most likely wants someone to talk to, so be open, and don't fear "the talk".
Set aside a time, plan what you are going to say, then do something together, like go out to dinner and talk in the car. Try to talk with them on their terms.
Treat them like an adult; no cheesy diagrams, Barbies, or other "helps" are needed for talking with your child. Just be yourself, and be honest. Let your child know about the dangers of unsafe sex.
Don't try to act cool and use alternate lingo. Use the actual words and actual things you are talking about. Your kid knows you, and if you are fake, they won't trust anything you say. Confusion is not good, and it also makes them feel awkward and less like an adult, conversely making them want to go out and do "things".
You do not need to tell how babies are born, most teens are already aware; what you need to address is what you will/will not be pleased with if your child does things, how you will react to what your child does, and the possible consequences of your child's actions. Ex: Tell them that if they choose to have sex that it's their choice and you'll be greatly disappointed in them.
Make sure they understand this is only to help them and if they don't want to or they feel awkward, tell them, "Tough it's a part of life..." (Would you rather have them learn from you or some other freak you might not trust or like.)
Start out with asking questions (don't make assumptions). Don't start with, "What's this I've been hearing?" (basically, on the wrong foot). Find out what we already think and feel and go from there.
Remember it's a conversation. Let them ask questions too.
Don't harass them, and don't preach. Be firm, yet understanding. Do let them know you're there to talk to.
Disappointment is more effective than anger;
even if it seems that your child hates you, he/she still really does love you, and he/she will not want to let you down. Don't yell, scream, threaten, or negatively enforce; a child will turn off if you begin to say, "If you ever, I swear I will" Try not to say the words don't or never.
Don't judge. Try and relate; think about how you felt at your child's age. Remember, you were this ignorant and impulsive once, and no one is perfect people do make mistakes.
Tell them the truth about your childhood and pressures you went through. Even though here are new things teens have to deal with and there are stronger pressures present everywhere, most likely things will be along the same lines. Just always tell them the truth. Ex: Tell them when you first had sex.
How you act and what you say and do truly do influence the way your child thinks. If your child has been raised thinking that sex is joke, then he/she will treat it like one. If he/she has been taught that sex is fun, it will be treated as so. But if he/she has learned that it's a serious subject, then that is what will show from him/her.
Don't just think one conversation is a blanketed blessing. They need to be talked to more then once about sex. Not like dinner conversation, but don't let your child feel uninformed. The second he/she feels ignorant is the second he/she will go out and find out for himself/herself.
Don't ever give up; even if you must disregard all of the above tips, talking will be better than the possible consequences.
(based off of the teenadvice.about.com website)
Suggested ways on how to have the sex talk with your child
Duration: As long as it takes, but don't force a lengthy discussion
- Set aside a time when it is just you and your child, no distractions.
- Prepare for a conversation, not a lecture.
- Sit down with your child, and don't be awkward; this is just like any other discussion.
- Know what you want to accomplish through your talk.
- Allow your child to ask questions and give input; you may not have all the answers, and that's okay, just be open to talked to.
- Do not yell, or scream, or threaten. Just talk, plain and simple.
- Don't expect one talk to be a blanketed covering for the rest of the future; you will have to maintain communication with your child.
- Don't try and say everything in this one talk, there will be more time for others.
- Listen to what your child is saying, and respond to that. ¾ of a conversation should be listening, not only talking.
- Make sure your child knows how much you love him/her, and that you will love him/her no matter what.
- Don't use graphs, charts, or other corny helps. Be yourself, and be a help.
Parental attitudes and the attitudes of adults (coach, teacher, etc.) are significant to the preteen, tween, or teen are positive predictors of the child's comfortable attitudes about premarital sex. The adults' attitudes about adolescent sexual intercourse and father-child communication have been shown to be extremely important factors. Adult discussion of sexual values is a significant predictor of teen sexual attitudes and behaviors.
Whether you discuss sexuality directly or not with your child, your values, unspoken attitudes, gawking and talking all have impact. For example, your self-esteem and your emphasis on the self-esteem of the child is positively related to deliberate delayed onset of sexual experimentation and to satisfaction with their decision when they do deliberately choose to become sexually active. On the other hand sexual behavior that contradicted personal values and the values of significant adults is associated with lower self-esteem and emotional distress. We adults do play a significant role in kids' sexual attitude development and future behavior.
Recently YM magazine discovered tween and teen reasons for waiting to have sex. After the old standby's of fear of pregnancy and of catching a dread disease, the kids mentioned anxiety about their reputation with peers and adults and a desire to avoid trouble with parents. Kids are concerned about what parents and significant adults think and don't generally want to deliberately displease them.
One of the most comprehensive studies of teens found that the more parents and other adults talk to kids about sex and its consequences, the less likely they are to engage in it prematurely and casually.
Study after study has shown that it is ignorance, not knowledge, about sex that creates problems. Kids crave information about relationships, becoming sexually active, and avoiding pregnancy and STD's. The basic birds and bees is not enough.
A recent survey by Roper Starch for SIECUS shows that more than half the teens who are sexually active wish they had waited longer to start. At the same time, it is proven that kids whose parents and significant adults talk to them about sex are less likely to have sex early.
Sex can lead to many unfortunate consequences. It's simply too important a topic to ignore.
From Denise Witmer,
Your Guide to Parenting of Adolescents.
5 Ways People With Strong Moral Fiber Act
A few days ago I was talking with some moms about a popular children's book. I found it strange that even though the group of parents I was talking to made reference to certain values that were not being taught by this book, they didn't really have a handle on what values truly are and how they work. They really weren't sure how to get their children to do the 'right thing' by teaching a value.
We seem to be too worried about 'the rules' and enforcing them, that as parents we aren't looking at the big picture of our children's lives. It's in the big picture where positive values and morals are seen. It's not whether your teen got an 'A' on his science project, it's if he values what an education is going to do for him. Which is a catch-22, because if he values the education, he'll strive for the 'A'.
Values are the desirable principles in someone's character that society considers worthwhile. Friendliness and courage are values. Morals work with the judgment of values as they emerge in actions. Promptness is a value; therefore, it is morally wrong to be late to work.
Your teen needs you to teach him/her values so they can create their own strong moral fiber. People who have good moral fiber:
- are successful in their relationships with other people. They know how to treat another person with respect and know how to earn respect from other people. They are the type of people who you find you want to be friends with.
- contribute positively to society by reaching beyond themselves out into their community. They get involved and help where they can.
- take responsibility for their actions. They try to fix any mistakes they make. They are capable of feeling a sense of accomplishment when they finish a task. People who do not have base values aren't even able to feel good about doing something right.
- are capable of learning and growing both socially and emotionally.
- are generally happier. They grab on to the best of what life has to offer them. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel when life gets tough.
Success in life is picked up in bits and pieces along our journey. When you give your teenager values and help him/her build a strong moral fiber, you're giving him/her the ability to pick and choose which bits and pieces are a worthy part of their journey to success.
Parent / Child CommunicationMost Families Do Not Communicate Regularly
Benefits of Positive Parent-Child Communication
- From fifth to eighth grade, the amount of time children spend with their families is cut in half (Hair et al., 2001).
- Parents are more likely to consider talks about sex, alcohol, drugs, and violence as happening regularly. Their children, on the other hand, remember having these discussions "a couple of times" (Nickelodeon and Kaiser Family Foundation, 2001).
- While 42% of parents say they have talked to their teens about risky sexual behaviors, less than half (49%) of those teens remember the conversation (Nickelodeon and Talking With Kids, 2001).
- Sixty percent of 8-11 year olds and 56% of 12-15 year olds say they learn a lot from their mothers about issues like sex, alcohol, drugs and violence. Most youth turn to their mothers before their teachers and classes, fathers, the media, and friends (Nickelodeon and Talking With Kids, 2001).
- Only one in five teens (21%) under 15 years old have ever received advice or information about sex from their parents (Kaiser Family Foundation, 1998).
- Kids want to know more. Most children (62%) and teens (57%) wish they had more information about guns in school. Youth also want to know more about discrimination, puberty, homosexuality, and alcohol or drugs (Nickelodeon and Talking With Kids, 2001).
- Parents need to initiate difficult conversations. Most (77%) of teenagers don't talk to their parents about sexual health because they don't know how to bring it up (seventeen and Kaiser Family Foundation, 2002).
Consequences of Lack of Communication
- Positive parent-child communication includes the following characteristics: being supportive, listening to the other person, tolerating differences, being understanding, and not pressuring the other to agree. (Smetana et al., 2000).
- Teens with authoritative parents (warm, firm, and accepting of their teens' needs for psychological independence) are more successful in school, less anxious and depressed, and have higher self-esteem than teens without authoritative parents (Steinberg, 2001).
- Children with positive father-child relationships have higher self-esteem and show better school and social adjustment than children without these relationships (Brotherson et al., 2003).
- When parents and children openly talk about drugs and sex, children have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions these risky behaviors (Wills et al., 2003).
- Students who talk frequently with their parents are more likely to use contraception. One in five teens (19%) would rather receive information from their parents than from other sources, such as health centers or classes (Hacker et al., 2000).
- Children who do not feel warmth or caring from their parents are more likely to have lower self-esteem, academic problems, and emotional troubles. They are also more likely to use drugs and participate in risky sexual behaviors (Brotherson et al., 2003; Resnick, 1997; Steinberg, 2001).
- When teens do not discuss sexuality issues with their parents, they are more likely to follow the crowd. This is especially dangerous if peers do not encourage responsible sexual behavior (Whitaker et al.).
Source: http://www.nmha.org/pbedu/backtoschool/fastFacts.cfmAll parents want to have open and positive communications with their kids. It doesn't take an expert to know that good family communication is essential for kids to grow up as healthy individuals. But with all the stress and strains of busy lives, parents sometimes forget to make the special effort necessary to have good communication. Here are some simple communication tips to help make talking to your kids more enjoyable and more effective:
Relax. Effective communication can't happen if everyone is tired and tense.
Choose the right time and place. Talk to your kids when you're not in a hurry and don't seem distracted and rushed. Set aside enough time to really connect.
Listen. Effective listening is more than just "not talking." Make eye contact. Acknowledge what they're saying and show that you understand, even if you don't agree. If you don't understand, ask your child to clarify what he or she is trying to say.
Enhance self-esteem. Praise your child for as many positive things as you can find. Try to point out at least one positive thing in your child's life or behavior to praise each time you talk.
Don't lecture. You shouldn't be doing all the talking. Let your child have equal time.
Don't make up your mind ahead of time. If you are only interested in getting your point across, you will never hear your child's side of things.
Don't criticize your child, criticize the behavior. Make sure your child knows you're unhappy with their actions or behavior, not with them as a person. Let them know that, although you might not always like what they do, you always love them.Chris is 14 years old. His mother is doing his laundry when she finds a condom in the pocket of his jeans. She frantically confronts Chris about what she's found.Mom:
I found this in your pocket! Don't you know that you're too young to have sex. You're still a baby yourself.Chris
: Take it easy, Mom. It's no big deal.Mom:
No big deal! Are you stupid? Do you know what could happen? I expect more from you.Chris:
I don't care what you say. You have no idea what's going on.Later, Chris's Dad talks with Chris about what his Mom found.Dad:
Chris, your Mom and I are concerned you're getting involved in things you're not ready for. But we'd like to hear your side of the story. Do you want to talk about it? Chris:
One of my friends had the condom, Dad. He just gave it to me as a joke.Dad:
Thanks for telling me. But remember, sex and birth control are no joke. Let's sit down and talk about it and see if you have any questions you want to ask me. Chris:
That would be cool, Dad.What Worked:
When Chris's Dad showed interest in Chris's side of the story and was willing to listen, Chris told him about the condom. Their honest conversation became a good way for Chris's Dad to suggest a more in-depth conversation about sex that Chris felt comfortable about.What Didn't Work:
When Chris's Mom became angry about the condom and jumped to conclusions, Chris wasn't willing to talk with her. She made the mistake of criticizing Chris and making him feel defensive without having all the information.