How to talk to your teenager about sex, love and romance? Read more in this contributed post.
Parents everywhere know exactly what it means to dread their kids growing into teenagers. Firstly, they remember what it was like for them to be teenagers. They remember the angst, the insecurity and the desperate need to fit in with the crowd. They know that their teenagers have all this to come and today, it’s so different compared to a few years ago. The world has changed so much when it comes to sex and relationships and this is not a bad thing. More complicated, perhaps, but not a bad thing.
Same sex relationships two decades ago were not as openly spoken about compared to today. Romance and sex wasn’t splashed across social media for all to see. The ‘selfie’ in the smartphone era had not yet been invented for people to critique and roast online. Life and love and relationships are entirely different now. Asking a girl or boy to go out to the school disco is easy to discuss for some parents, whilst trying to advise on a chat with gay guys may be a little harder to do. It’s not ignorance; it’s just not the same as it was before. However, we now live in a time where parents are swotting up on how things work for teenagers today and not basing how they talk about sex, love and romance on wooing each other back in the Eighties. Times have changed, but talking about healthy relationships and self-respect hasn’t.
Teenagers now are still full of angst and uncertainty and it’s important that they know that you are going to be open, non-judgemental and there for them when they need you. Broaching the subject? That’s not the easy part, because teenagers don’t want to talk about themselves directly. However, as a parent you can figure out their favourite series or film and discuss the dynamics of those relationships instead and talk about the red flags to watch for in terms of gaslighting and abuse, which are very much talked about today. Teenagers need to hear that they are worthy of themselves as they are, that they don’t need to be pressured into sex when they know that they can pace themselves until they are ready. They also need to hear that their feelings are valid and valued, and that those friends who don’t listen to those feelings aren’t friends to be worrying about.
Sex and love are both a normal part of life, and the more you broach this subject with your teenagers, the easier it will be to get it through to them that they are in charge of their own bodies and feelings. It’s okay to love whoever they want to love, have sex when they feel ready and not pushed - and SAFELY - and you will be there for them no matter what. Teenagers will make their mistakes: we all have, and as long as they know that you are going to be a shoulder to cry on, a non-judgemental ear to talk to and a safe haven, you can be confident that they will do their best to make good choices.
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