If you have a teenage daughter, you understand exactly how scary talking about sex can be. Even if your daughter has already gone through sexual education at school, it’s up to you to make sure she understands the important facts about sex. This includes more than just biology. As a parent, you need to talk about the emotional side of sex, as well. Maybe your daughter is already having sex and you want to discuss birth control with her or maybe your daughter isn’t even considering being intimate with someone. No matter what your daughter is going through, it’s important for you to be someone she can talk with openly.
When you talk with your daughter about sex, she might share some personal information. Try to avoid freaking out. If your daughter confesses that she’s thinking about having sex or that she’s already been intimate with someone, your instinct may be to yell or become upset. If you react poorly, understand that your daughter will feel like you’re judging her. As a result, she may be hesitant to share any personal information with you in the future. If you want your daughter to be open and honest with you about sex, you need to be someone she can trust and confide in. Part of trust means you won’t judge her if she shares information you aren’t happy about.
Discussing sex can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. If you’re feeling nervous or uncomfortable, you might be tempted to use slang terms when talking about sex. Try to avoid this. While there’s nothing wrong with using slang in everyday life, it’s important to be factual when you talk about sex. Your daughter likely gets a lot of information on sex each day. This information could come from friends, teachers, family members or the Internet. Unfortunately, not all of the information she receives will be accurate or correct. As a parent, make sure you give your daughter real, tangible information she can use. Never use scare tactics to try to convince your daughter not to have sex. Instead, give her all the facts so she can make informed decisions.
While your daughter probably views you as her protector, she might not view you as someone who understands. When you talk about sex, try to share personal stories from your own teenage years. You don’t have to share intimate details, of course, but don’t be afraid to be realistic with your child. Let her know that you were young once, too, and that you understand what it’s like to deal with raging hormones and difficult choices. Even if you feel regretful about your teenage choices, share some of these memories with your daughter. It will bring you closer, but it will also remind her that making mistakes is part of growing up.
Keep the Discussion Open
Talking about sex isn’t something you should only do once. Your daughter will be surrounded by sex and sexual issues on a regular basis, so try to keep the discussion open. This doesn’t mean that you hound your child about sex. Don’t corner her daily and try to get her to talk to you. Instead, let her know that you’re available to talk whenever she needs you. You can also bring up issues while you’re doing the dishes, driving in the car or going shopping together. Talking about sex doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it shouldn’t! The more you broach the subject with your daughter, the more receptive she’ll be.
Remember that while talking with your daughter about sex can be embarrassing for you, it’s uncomfortable for her, as well. This makes it even more important to broach the topic of sex with your child. The more you discuss hard issues, the more likely your daughter will be to come to you when she has questions, concerns or problems.