Being a teen is perhaps one of the most thrilling, exciting, and nervous times we might face prior to adulthood. After all, this is where we get to learn more about ourselves while undergoing various changes in our minds, emotions, and body. Part of these changes is our discovery of our sexuality, and sometimes we can't help but be curious about exploring our sexuality in different ways.
Unfortunately, this “exploration” has its caveats as recklessly engaging in sexual acts out of curiosity can have unprecedented effects in our minds, bodies, and emotions. If we're parents of a teenager, or if we know a teen, who seems to be conflicted when it comes to matters of sexuality, we may need to know how to encourage talking about sex education to a teen.
After all, given the right introduction, we can encourage talking about sex education to a teen in a manner that is not threatening or aggressive, but rather in a manner that is educational and informative. This will allow us to be able to introduce a teen to the right kind of material and right kind of education, especially on matters of sexuality, the act of sex, and protecting themselves from things about sex such as sexual abuse, cybercrime, or even sexually-transmitted diseases. Our advice could be a good start to a healthier, more informed teen – especially when it comes to sex education.
According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, parents are perhaps the most important teachers of sexual education towards children. Sometimes, parents can get a bit self-conscious as to whether or not what they're saying is something that can help their children, and you may feel the same way towards your teens. However, it's important to remember that parents don't need to be experts on sexuality to be able to have meaningful conversations with their teens. If you're a bit stuck with what you should do, here are a few things to help you out:
Establish Values, Facts, Beliefs
Before you talk to your teen about sex education, try to first remember your beliefs and values towards sex. This is important as your religious beliefs, or certain aspects of your morality, can influence the way you picture the act of sex and sexuality, and this can affect how you present information to your teens. However, remember that while beliefs are important, it's also important to be able to differentiate your beliefs from facts. This should start with you.
- When talking to your teens about sex education, remind them that factual information can affect the way you believe things and vice versa. This gives you a good opportunity to explain that the community has different views on sexuality, and sometimes what you believe in can conflict with theirs.
- However, also remind them that these disagreements should be respected, especially if it's a matter of belief. However, also remind them that the views they believe in must be based on nonviolence, equality, justice, responsibility, and ethics.
Practice But Don't Preach
When you talk to your teen about something, it's also important to establish the values attached to them. The same goes for the sexual act as sometimes teens can find it confusing when parents talk to them about a value related to sex education but don't act in accordance with those values. Remember that values associated with sexuality include responsibility, equality, and honesty.
- With these in mind, remember that you're also a role model to your teens. This means you should be careful about how your actions appear to them, especially if it's about sex education.
- However, don't push your beliefs on your children. Make the talk a conversation, and ask them how they feel about relationships and their sexuality. This will allow both sides to be able to engage in a meaningful conversation.
Keep The Conversation Going, Express Pride
When your teen opens up to you about sex education, don't discourage the topic and instead encourage questions so you could share insight into them. Let them know that you're expressing interest in how they perceive a topic, especially sexuality. However, this should also apply to other aspects of their personality as well.
- When they say misinformation, try to correct them gently and remind them of things they have to do without pushing your values too hard.
- Given that sexuality is a part of everyone's life, it's important to establish that your “talk” is a conversation, and your teens are allowed to ask you whatever they need to ask, especially if they're curious about something.
- However, don't be too serious when it comes to sex education. The topic is already a sensitive thing to talk about, so it's not so bad to add a bit of humor to the mix.
Sex education is not something that is easily discussed, especially when you want to make sure a teen is well-informed about various aspects of sex. Sometimes, we wonder just what can be talked about, and what should be saved up for later. However, encouraging positive talk about sex education to a teen can greatly help increase their understanding the nature of their sexuality and the sexual act. We may encourage them to take sex education courses or inquire from proper professional help in order to have a professional explain to them the nature of sex they may have to learn about.
Do remember, however, that the tips above aren't the be-all, end-all solution to encourage talking about sex education to a teen. If you think you're having a bit of trouble opening the subject, it's not bad to seek professional help.
About the Author: Angela Hall – Angie is a health enthusiast who specialises in spreading STD education across the country. She enjoys what she does and loves to travel to different areas. She loves to write for websites and is a family girl at heart.