The teen years are very formative ones as many teens are still learning who they are and who they love.
Visit these resources below if you think your teen may be questioning their sexuality or identity:
- Sex is everywhere and it is often very girl-on-guy oriented! Remind your teen that everyone develops at their own rate and that it’s okay to take time to figure stuff out.
- Teens feel a lot of pressure to be different things: macho bro, prissy princess, jock, fashionista– and a lot of those personas have sexual connotations. Help your child feel comfortable in their own skin and with their own personality. Being yourself is awesome.
- Make sure your teen has access to a lot of different resources – so whether they’re LGBTQ+ or not, they’ll know how to get the info they need.
- Ask them to use a condom every time and show them how to use one properly on something like a banana. Remind them that the “dual method” of using a condom plus birth control like an implant or the pill will help prevent both pregnancy and STDs! Double bonus!
- Teens hear a lot of myths, so remind them that pre-ejaculate can lead to pregnancy, the pull-out method isn’t the most effective, and a teen can still get pregnant while they have their period.
- Emphasize communication! Both people have a responsibility to prevent pregnancy. Encourage them to talk openly about using condoms and another method of birth control like the pill or an IUD.
- Reinforce the importance of having a birth control plan before having sex for the first time. Teens can get pregnant the first time they have intercourse.
- Get an appointment for them to talk to a doctor. Try one of these teen-friendly clinics.
- Tell them that no birth control is 100% effective – other than complete abstinence. Help them learn how to be safe with sexual health.
- Remind them that you are always here to address their questions, worries, or concerns. Offer them the option to text you if that makes them feel more comfortable.
- Condoms are the best bet for preventing STDs. Using a dental dam can help prevent oral STDs.Get both items and show them how to use them during your conversation. Even if there’s no chance of pregnancy in their relationship, STDs are still a risk with any amount of sexual contact.
- Ask them to read about the different types of STDs and how to prevent them. Here is a teen-friendly guide to share.
- Remind your teen that you are always here to address their questions, worries, or concerns. Offer them the option to text you if that makes them feel more comfortable.
- Share with them how important they are and that they should expect respect in relationships.
- Talk to your child about how you knew that a person was a good choice for a partner. Talk about the qualities that make a good partner – someone who is respectful, honest, kind, funny, makes you feel good about yourself, shares your values, etc.
- Help your child know how important it is to understand that when a partner says “No,” it means to stop the sexual activity immediately. Even if a partner has said yes in the past, “No” means to stop the activity immediately.
- Tell your child that they should speak up for themselves and say “No” when they are uncomfortable, no matter how much pressure they are under.
- Understand that sexual assault is a reality for lots of teens. Teens’ responses vary widely, but your support makes a big difference. Here are some resources for you as a parent.
- Remind your child that having sex isn’t a goal or a badge of honor. They should be ready to have sex when they are ready, not because they feel like they should or they have to.
- Share this resource with your child so they can read more about healthy relationships.
- Refer your child to this article about how to be smart at parties and gatherings to protect themselves and friends.
- Give your teen an out and explain that you are always there to pick them up – no questions asked – from a bad situation. Consider using “Plan X” in your family.
- Remind your child that you are always here to address their questions, worries, or concerns. Offer them the option to text you if that makes them feel more comfortable.