Your teenage daughter may be receiving a lot of mixed signals about sex and sexuality from society and her classmates. And while you cannot control what she is hearing and perceiving outside the home, you can still do your part to keep her safe and well-informed.
Ensure That Your Daughter Receives a Proper Sexual Education
If your daughter is homeschooled or if her school does not offer a sex-ed curriculum, it is your responsibility to educate her by providing her with professional resources and by discussing the subject with her in a safe place. And even if your daughter’s school has a sexual education program, you should still check in with her and ensure that she is learning everything she needs to know.
It is especially important to make sure that she learns the proper vocabulary for genitalia and other sexual terms, and not just slang.
Use Positive and Neutral Language When Talking About Sex
Though it may be tempting to tell your kid to just say no to sex, research suggests that it will do little to deter her from engaging in it if she so chooses. In fact, making sex a forbidden or negative topic inside the household will only increase your teen’s curiosity. And she might find ways of sating that curiosity that are not in her best interest.
Even discussions concerning the consequences of unsafe sex, such as unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, should not be carried out with the intent to frighten her into abstaining from sexual activity. The language you use when you talk about sex should empower her and help her feel confident in her ability to make the right decisions for herself.
Encourage Open and Honest Communication
It may be hard to mention the subject at all, especially the first time, but doing so is crucial to your daughter’s mental and physical health. Keeping the conversation light and informal during these dialogues will make things easier for you and your kid. However, if your daughter is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the topic, don’t force her to participate. Simply bring it up another time.
If your teen is responsive and has any questions, answer them candidly and with an appropriate level of detail. Being frank with your daughter will encourage her to be transparent with you in return. Establishing mutual trust is not easy, but it is entirely worth the effort.
If you do not know the answer to a question, research the answer and get back to your child at a later time. Or you can suggest doing the research together. Remember, it’s okay not to have all the answers, but it is never okay to make things up.
Have Multiple Discussions About Sex
Though dialogues surrounding sex are often referred to as “the talk,” you should have them more than once. It’s already awkward enough for your teen to hear you talk about sex, and she might assume that having one big conversation means that you are not open to future communication, even if you assure her that is not the case.
Teenage years are a time of personal growth. Ensuring that your daughter has the right mindset when it comes to sex will help her along the road to maturity.