One of the hardest tasks of parenthood, but also one of the most important and rewarding, is teaching a child about sexuality. What do I say? When do I start? We live in a sexually open society where movies, songs, and conversations often include references to sex. In today’s society teenagers are becoming more and more involved in sexual relationships, and intercourse. Many parents do not know how to talk to their children about sexual matters, but the problem is that it needs to be said, and teenagers need to learn about the true consequences of a sexual relationship.
A parent might feel that they are too embarrassed to talk to their children or teenagers about sex. But the truth is that children will listen, if you will only talk. Today, more than anything, teenagers need to have a parent to talk to, and come to, when they need help, or need to talk. Advertising sells products with sex, and radio and TV programs use sexual situations to entertain us. You can begin to help your daughter understand that many of these depictions or illustrations of sex are shallow. Commercialized sex is misleading because it shows sex only as glamorous and trouble-free. By helping your daughter understand the special significance of our sexuality, you can begin to develop conversations with her about sex as well as help her to make positive sexual choices.
Girls need to understand that changes are normal and happen at different rates for different girls. The awkwardness will not last. They also need to know what to expect in terms of a growth spurt, hair growth, and menstruation. Parents should also familiarize themselves with, and teach their daughters, the following terms: fallopian tubes, ovaries, menstruation, uterus, urethra, clitoris, labia majora, labia minora, vulva, hymen, vagina, anus, rectum, and cervix. There are many resources for parents and teens about these changes and terms listed at the end of this brochure. Girls wonder exactly what it is, how it feels, and when it is okay to have intercourse.
In addition, they also need to know the place of intercourse within a loving relationship. Explain that intercourse occurs when a man places his erect penis inside a woman’s vagina, and that this can lead to pregnancy. Teens also need to understand that it is never okay to have intercourse unless both partners understand the consequences and willingly agree.
Teach your daughter to say “No” in a “N.I.C.E.” way
Â· N – Say “No,” not “Maybe” or “Later.” Help your pre-teen or teen know what she can and cannot do and teach her to be decisive. Help your son or daughter make a decision early to not have sex. That will make it easier for your son or daughter to say “No” when pressure comes.
Â· I – Follow with an “I” statement: “I’m not going to have sex until I marry,” or “Sex isn’t part of my game plan right now.” Similar statements can be used for drinking or other unhealthy behaviors.
Â· C – If pressure continues, “Change.” Teach your child to change the topic – “Did you see the contest on TV last night?” Or change who they are talking to – “Mary is over there; I need to ask her something.” Or change the location – “I’m going back to my place.”
Â· E – If these things don’t help, your child needs an “Exit” plan and they should leave the situation right away. If they don’t have a way home, they will need you or some other adult that they trust to pick them up and it is a good idea to have a pre-formatted code phrase like, “Is there power cut?” that means, “Come and pick me up. And hurry!”