Communicating with Youth: Themes for Parents to Remember
Rights And Responsibilities
- As parent, establish your right and responsibility to be your child's primary sexuality educator.
- Children WILL get information about sex/sexuality from the culture around them.
- When parents are proactive, they have the opportunity to have a positive impact on their child's sexuality and experiences.
- The child has a right to receive information from their parent and has a responsibility to understand that every decision about sexuality carries with it choices and consequences.
- Think about and gain clarification around your attitudes, beliefs and values and be willing to share them with your child.
- Ask yourself: Where do my attitudes, beliefs and values come from? Universal? (e.g. We all agree that children have a right to be safe.) Personal? (e.g. We may differ on our beliefs about when people should begin sexual activity)
- Honest communication between parents and children is important.
- Even disagreeing about values is beneficial to both parent and child. It allows the child to hear what the parents think and it allows the parents to hear what the child thinks.
- Challenging and examining values can be a powerful influence on a child's developing sexuality.
Feelings and Self-Esteem
- Explore your feelings around issues related to sexuality.
- Share your feelings with your child.
- Allow and encourage your child to share his/her feelings.
- Practice listening carefully without judgment or criticism in order to foster an environment where they feel comfortable in approaching you.
- Affirm and validate them. This will help them feel good about themselves and will help promote healthy self-esteem and decision-making.
Facts and Knowledge
- Gather information and resources so that you can help to assure that your child gets accurate and healthy information about sexuality.
- Admit if you don't know the answer to a question and make sure to get back to your teen with the answer (or investigate the answer together!)
- Stay connected by discussing information in an ongoing open dialogue.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts Parent Education 2014
Click on the links below for some additional helpful tips for talking with your kids and other young people about sex and sexuality.
- Do Kids Want to Hear from their Parents?
- The Importance of Parents as Primary Educators
- Suggestions for Talking with Youth
- Conversation Starters
- Typical Questions from Youth