Raising a teenager can be tough, especially when it comes to talking about important life lessons. Your teen might be experiencing their first party or having their first relationship. As a parent you hope that your teen is being smart and won’t ever have to go down a controversial path. When it comes to having the birds and bees discussion, things can be awkward and uncomfortable for both of you. While it may be difficult, it is important not to miss out on having the birds and bees discussion. Without it, your teen would be uneducated on how to protect themselves from rape, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and peer pressure.
Gender and Sexuality
While having the birds and bees discussion is essential for your teens well being, it’s just as important to be there to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity. Rates of suicide among young people is a serious problem. “Young people who are or who are questioning sexual orientation or gender identity are 4 times more likely to commit suicide.” Teens struggling with gender identity can be scared and confused. Including these topics in your birds and bees discussion could provide the guidance and support your teen needs.
6 conversation starters about sex and gender.
A recent article by Psychology Today discusses six different ways to start the birds and bees discussion with your teen on sex and gender.
- Use the openings they provide. Take opportunities where your teen opens up about different events going on in their life to ask questions. This allows you to learn more on what they already know.
- Ask questions about their friends and their friends families. It’s important to be active in knowing who’s in their life. It’s okay to ask questions like “Do you have any friends that are questioning their sexuality?” “How many folks at your school do you think are having sex?”
- Use current events. Use current events that are going on within society. Ask your teen how they feel about the gay/lesbian character on their favorite TV show. It’s okay to share your own feelings as well, as long as they are open and supportive.
- Use your own experiences. Try to remember what you were experiencing at their age. Tell them if you ever questioned your sexuality or if you were having sex before marriage. Explain how differently the world viewed sex and gender and how your parents handled having “The Talk” with you.
- Pay attention to your language and what you are saying. Pay attention to how you are wording questions. When asking about relationships, don’t include gender in the question. “Do you have a crush on someone?” It’s important to let them know you don’t have any set gender expectations.
- Directly say it. Be direct. Tell your teen that even if you hate what they need to say to you, even if it confuses or scares you, that you love them and will support them throughout their life.
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