What If My Teen Doesn’t Want To Talk About Sex?

"What If My Teen Doesn’t Want To Talk About Sex?"

"Eeeeek! No Mum, I don’t want to talk about sex!" "Argh, do you have to talk about that?" Are these some of the responses you face when you try to talk about sex at home? Here are some ways you can weave SexEd naturally into conversations with your tweens and teens.

By Focus on the Family Singapore | 1 December 2021

The Tween Years (Ages 10-12)

Talking about sex is much easier when you start the conversation early. At this stage, your kids are likely to still see parents as the main authority figure in their lives.

If you adopt an open, measured and level-headed approach to talking about sex, they could also then see you as the "subject expert" they can approach with related questions.

Every child matures at different pace and as the parent, you know best what they are ready to know. SexEd at this stage can be talking about biological differences between males and females, body autonomy, what to do if someone trespasses on their personal space, or when they can have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Look out for teachable moments – Whether it’s an embracing couple on an advertisement or a kissing scene on a TV show or even words like “sexy” or “sex” in media, you can springboard off these to ask questions like: “What do you think they are doing?” “Do you know what that means?” “Why do you think the advertisement wants to show the models that way?”

This can also help you explain the acceptable behaviour for public and private and with the latter, to talk about how there are areas of our body that should not be shown to others.

The Teen Years (Ages 13-15)
The Emerging Years (Ages 16-19)

During the teen years, don’t shrink back from the teachable moments. In fact, you can – and should – talk about more topics now.

Instead of talking about sex with the purpose to lay down rules, approach it from the angle of both understanding what they think and also helping them to understand more about it.

If your teens cringe when you bring up sex, you can gently explain that you love them and want to make sure they are not left to themselves in this area just because it’s uncomfortable to talk about.

Be honest with your kids that you know they can get information they want from Google but also stress with them that there’s information online that is inaccurate and also written from people with different values and motives.

Always be a safe person for them to approach. This means that when they do approach you and admit to seeing something they shouldn’t have, you have to keep your composure and not lose your cool.

When you are able do that, your teen will see that you are consistent in what you say and what you do. That provides a foundation of love and security.

More than ever, your teen needs to know the "why behind the what". Take time to explain your opinions on pre-marital sex, sexting, sleepovers and any other topic that comes up.

Value connection more than correction. You don't need to have the last say. None of us like having conversations with people who have to prove they are right.

If they disagree, explain your opinion without disrespecting theirs, for instance, “This is why I think what I do but I do hear what you said. We can keep discussing this to help each other understand our opinions more.”

(If their differing opinions include an action that may endanger them, of course, parent them and tell them not to do it.)

Some teens may think that being in love means having sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend. Help your teens process and articulate their definition of love and sexual boundaries within relationships.

Be your kid’s friend. Learn about their social circles and check in often about what’s going on in their world. Talk about their favourite entertainment and hobbies. Make time to connect with the budding adults they are becoming.

When you are connected to each other, sex can be just another topic you talk to each other about, as opposed to a strained or functional relationship, then it will be awkward to talk about sex.

SexEd at home is not a one-off talk, it’s a lifestyle of intentional, mostly unscheduled talks and modelled values.

© 2021 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.


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