Using Teachable Moments To Talk With Teens About Sex

Do you remember how your parents talked with you about sex when you were growing up? Did they have “The Talk” with you once and try to answer all your questions at once? Or did your parents keep it more informal and talk about topics as they presented themselves? Some parents like to guide the conversation while others sit back and let their kids ask the questions. Whatever your discussions were like with your own parents, now is the perfect opportunity for you to create a healthy dialogue with your own children about safe sex and healthy relationships.

If you’re nervous about when or how to broach the topic of sexuality with your teens, looking for teachable moments can be a good way to ease into the conversation. Teachable moments are unplanned events that happen throughout the day that can make excellent conversation starters. They also allow parents to make sex an open, ongoing discussion with teens. It opens the doors to healthy communication, rather than a one shot deal with “The Talk.”

Teachable moments can involve things you see when you’re out driving or shopping, or depictions of love and sex on television. Shows geared towards young adults often depict sexual situations and can be interesting to discuss. Even dating stories or events happening in their friends lives can work.

When the moment presents itself, ask gentle questions to see what your teen thinks or feels. It can help you see how accurate the information they have is, and what their attitude towards sex is. Offer your own opinions and correct information on birth control and STDs as needed. Don’t try to force your opinion or conflicting information on them, but let them know what you think and that you respect their opinion as well. Often, asking probing questions that help your teen think about the situation differently can work well and get them thinking even after your talk.

Remember, don’t give up on your teen even if conversations about sex don’t go well every time! They’ll know you care and that you’re willing to talk with them if they need it, and teens are always listening, so your message will get through! If you’ve found a good way to talk to your teens about sex, or have experienced a good “teachable moment” please share it in the comments.