Doing Life Together

beautiful-1274056_1920Let’s just admit it, talking about sex with a teen is necessary but uncomfortable for most people. Yet, these important conversations can impact a teen’s life. So let’s look at 4 myths that usual get in the way of helpful conversation around issues of sexuality.

Myth #1: Talking about sex will make it more likely to happen.

The opposite is true. When a parent talks about sex, he or she can communicate their own values on sexuality, can better understand their teens perspective and can tailor shared information based on their teenager’s stage of development, life experience, personality, and knowledge level.

Parents should begin having conversations about sexual behavior as early as the later years of elementary school. Talking should include information about the body, menstruation, and puberty. In middle school address sexual messages sent by the culture, strategies to resist sexual temptation, flee a situation and avoid tempting situations. By high school it’s all about open communication and listening. That said, it is never too late to begin conversations about sexual behavior.

You can begin a sexual conversations like this…

“It is my job as a parent to make sure you understand and know how to handle all kinds of pressures you face, and that includes sexual ones.”

Fathers and mothers need to be on the same page as to what they are communicating. It may be easier to have these conversations when you are walking, driving or doing an activity together.

Myth #2:  My child knows more than I do.

Honestly, probably not true especially on topics like oral sex. Just because a teen knows vocabulary doesn’t mean he or she knows what those terms actually mean. And there is a lot of misinformation that kids hear, read and see. So don’t assume that because they say something, they actually understand it fully. Even when they do understand a term, they may not know how to handle situations. So, discuss details and reality. You can  go over several common scenarios and discuss what could be done in each case. For example, your teen finds herself alone in her boyfriend’s car and he makes a move, what could she do?

Myth #3: Certain forms of contraception will protect youno contraception is 100% effective. Yet, commercials and ads make it sound like using a condom or birth control is effective protection. Furthermore, there is really no such thing as, “casual’ or “safe” sex. This means talking about the realities of the consequences of sexual behavior–whether those are emotional, relational or physical. Openly discuss messages from media (music, TV, movies) and contrast them to the biblical viewpoint. How do these messages impact our thinking? Pay attention to your child’s romantic relationships and don’t assume he or she is not sexually active because of his or her faith.

Myth #4: I can have the Big Talk and then my work is done.

Talking about sexual struggles in today’s world is an on-going conversation. You can’t cover everything at once. And you need to react to events in the culture in order to provide a biblical perspective. We live in a sexually saturated society in which are kids are exposed to sexual content on a daily basis. They need a lens from which to see and interpret the exposure–that is you. You don’t need to be condemning and judgmental. Rather, talk about the what is behind the behavior, the messages being sent and how the behavior lines up with a biblical perspective. In other words, get your kids to think about what they see, not simply accept it as normal. Don’t moralize, but communicate your values and why we believe what we believe. Finally, encourage any question or concern to be brought up.

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