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Talking to Teens about Sex

By: Michael S. Broder Ph.D.

Have you ever wondered why many parents have so much difficulty talking to their children about sex? I’m referring particularly to teenagers and adolescents where the knowledge about areas such as sex, sexual values, contraceptives, and the dangers of contracting sexually transmittable diseases are so crucial to communicate.

Many parents are frankly embarrassed about the topic of sex. They often feel that by talking to their children about it, that they are either going to encourage promiscuity, or stir up something that they will be sorry for later.

While adolescents are often fond of acting as though they know it all, are independent and without concern about these things; most actually wish that they could talk to their parents about sex. But sometimes, they might also feel as though they’ll be railroaded into some value system that’s not their own or ultimately in their best interest.

IF you are a parent struggling with this dilemma, you may want to share with your adolescent some of the ambivalences you felt when you were in their shoes. With a little bit of appropriate self-disclosure, you can possibly open up that dialogue with your adolescent that you may have never before imagined possible. Once that happens, no topic will again feel taboo.