Blog Post

Breaking the ICE: THE TALK about Sexuality with your Teens

Do you find it challenging to bring up the talk about sexuality with your teens? Many parents find it extremely difficult to bring up this topic. Where do you begin? Are you prepared for difficult questions? How can you prepare yourself for THE TALK?

You may feel inadequate and anxious about how to navigate this topic and we at Nurturing Connections Counseling want you to know that you are not alone! The thought of having this type of talk with your ‘still developing’ young one at home may bring up fear, anxiety, self-doubt, and discomfort. If you can relate to these questions, this blog is for you.

The Importance about Sexuality

Even though parents do not look forward to having this talk with their teens, we wanted to outline the importance of this talk during your teen development, especially when you notice that they are turning away from you and moving closer to their peers.

Research studies have recently shown that puberty starts at an earlier age, yes that’s right earlier! This can feel frightening, especially if you have been putting off this talk and thought that you had plenty of time. The earlier onset for puberty in females is identified as early as the age of nine (9) and for males as early as ten (10). Engaging in a conversation about sexuality early on is essential for their overall well-being and development.

Risks of Putting off the Sex Talk

Puberty starts earlier…Stop here for a second and think about what this means to you and your teens, or maybe we should really be saying tweens (years prior to turning the official teenage of thirteen (13)). This can be a real concern because it places young individuals at risk of pregnancy much earlier.

There are other issues about early puberty. Developing earlier for boys can mean that they develop a strong sense of their self-esteem, however, may be harmful for girls since they are perceived older. They may be pressured to hang out with older peers that they are not emotionally ready.

Strategies of Navigating Conversations about Sex

  • Start Early: As previously mentioned, your child is growing up quickly and are being exposed by their peers regarding sex. They are developing earlier and are expected to act and respond in a specific way. When bringing up the topic, provide facts and watch for your reactions to their questions or responses. Be gentle and encourage questions and curiosity. Create a space for them to feel comfortable, accepted, and trusted.
  • Age-Appropriate Language: Use language that your child will understand and keep it simple. Avoid using overly technical or graphic terminology that might overwhelm or confuse them. Using various forms of art may be helpful. Be prepared to answer their questions, even if it creates a level of discomfort.
  • Safe Space for Conversation: Regardless of your young teen’s comments, facial expressions, misunderstandings, or inquiries, provide a safe space that they can be authentic. Relate to their expressions to help them feel ‘normal’ and remind them that you are a safe and trusted adult they can turn towards when they are faced with a challenge in regard to their sexuality.
  • Honesty and Openness: If you don’t know an answer to a question, be honest and let them know that you will do some research and come back to them with the answer. Avoid vague responses and this can lead to frustration and misunderstandings.
  • Listen and Validate: It is most important to listen to them with an open mind and heart. Validate their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, even if they do not align with your own. Express empathy and understanding letting them know that you are here to unconditionally support them.

 

Talking to your teen, or as we strongly recommend earlier, so your tween, can be challenging and scary. However, it is best for your child to hear it from their parent(s). You may feel uncertain what is being discussed between your child and their peers, therefore this is a great opportunity for you to lay the foundation with sexuality. Avoid shaming or guilting your child of experiences that you do not approve. They are looking for guidance, love, and support.

Nurturing Connections Counseling’s skilled therapists that are ready to assist you and/or your child feel supported, understood, and heard. We guide families towards effective strategies that will assist you all. Please reach out if you feel additional professional support and guidance would help cultivate a stronger relationship. We can schedule an appointment without any wait time.

Please contact our office at 714-617-5955 or schedule an appointment directly through our website.

Counseling for couples and individuals. Serving Tustin, Irvine, Orange, And Across California.

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