10 Tips For Parents When Having "The Talk"...

Earlier this week, I encouraged parents of pre-teens and teenagers to be sure they are talking with their kids about sex, dating, and relationships. Because here's the truth: No matter how sheltered or protected you think your child is, they are being exposed to messages about sex. Our culture is sex-saturated and your son or daughter is hearing tons of messages about sex. Why not let them hear the truth from the people who should love them the most? So I thought I'd use my blog to help spur on those conversations and help those of you who are parents with some guidelines about having "the talk" with your teen. I'm kicking that off today with 10 things parents should remember when talking to their kid about sex. Here we go:

10 Tips For Parents When Having "The Talk":
  1. Just because your child may ask questions about sex doesn't mean they are sexually active. - The teen years are full of confusion and chaos on this subject. If you're teen is initiating the conversation, don't freak out and assume it's because they're sexually active already. Be thankful they trust you enough to come to you with their questions instead of going somewhere else for answers.
  2. In today's society, talking to your teen or pre-teen about sex, MUST include talking to them about pornography and the dangers of it. - If current statistics hold up, your middle school or high school child not only has a close friend who is involved in watching pornography, but they most likely have a close friend who is already considered addicted to pornography. Some statistics even show that the average age a child is exposed to pornography for the first time is 7 years old. You MUST address this topic parents!
  3. Know that your kid wants to hear the truth about this from you...and not from their friends in the locker room. - Teen polls consistently show that the #1 influence on teens is their parents. And it's head-and-shoulders above any other influence in their life.
  4. Be sure you cover the basics of sex with your teen or pre-teen, but also spend some time talking about body image & self-worth. - When a teen makes poor decisions in the area of sex & dating, the majority of the time it is out of a longing for love, value, & worth. Make sure they know they're loved and valued by you and by God.
  5. Talk about consequences of pre-marital or casual sex. - Consequences are real and teens need to be aware of them.
  6. Be ready to talk about difficult issues. - Most teens have more questions than simply "What is sexual intercourse?" Be sure you're teen knows that your door is always open no matter how difficult or uncomfortable their questions may be. And then don't act shocked when they come to you with those questions.
  7. Be prepared. - Having "the talk" is difficult. No one argues that. But being prepared and having a game plan will do wonders in eliminating that uncomfortable feeling.
  8. Be honest. - Teenagers can ALWAYS smell a fake. You don't have to share every single mistake you've ever made in this area, but be honest with your teen and don't be afraid to share what you've learned from experience.
  9. Listen. - A big part of having "the talk" involves listening - to your child's questions, struggles, and concerns. The more you listen, the more likely they are to keep talking and come to you with their questions.
  10. Don't be afraid to ask for help. - If you're struggling with how to engage in these conversations with your son or daughter, don't be afraid to ask for help. Talk to a parent of with older children who's been down this road, speak with your local pastor or youth pastor, or find a family friend who can offer some advice in this area.

Check back tomorrow for ways to bring up the topic of sex with your teen or pre-teen!

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