Talking About Sex, Relationships, And Birth Control

There is no doubt that talking about sex with our teens can be difficult. It’s easy to worry about saying the wrong thing or not having the right information. Don’t stay silent – it’s not too late to talk! Believe it or not, parents and supportive adults do have a strong influence over teens when we talk with them in an open and non-judgmental way. Teens look to us for support and guidance, even if they don’t say it. You have an opportunity to guide them as they seek out appropriate care for their sexual health, have conversations about relationships, attraction, respect for themselves and others, and make decisions that can keep them safe and healthy for a lifetime.

Keep talking to your teen…

Why can’t it be just one “sex” talk? Because ongoing conversations allow you to become the trusted adult they want to keep talking to. Hopefully you would never just talk to your child about how to swim and then let them jump into the deep end of the pool. Yet, there is often only one talk about sex as teens navigate their way through adolescence. Teens will make mistakes, but being the “askable” trusted adult allows them to make little mistakes and learn from them. 

Use the tips below from The National Campaign’s Ten Things Teens Want Parents to Know About Teen Pregnancy as conversation starters to help build a strong relationship with your teen.

  1. Pay attention to what we do, where we are, and who we are with.
  2. Shows us what healthy, caring relationships look like.
  3. Don’t wait for us to ask questions.
  4. Talk to us honestly about love and sexuality. “No” is not enough!
  5. Don’t assume we are “doing it.”
  6. Listen to our worries. Don’t brush off our intense feelings.
  7. Hug us even if it seems we don’t want you to.
  8. Set limits for us. It means you love us.
  9. Tell us your point of view and why you feel that way.
  10. Respect and protect us.

The Rights, Responsibilities & Resources tab has a lot more information to help you start a conversation and find medically accurate answers on sexual health for teens.