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Modern Love: Talking to Your Teen About Sex & Relationships

No Shame, No Blame

Parents have all kinds of reasons for not talking with their kids. Here are five common ones -- and the real story.

  1. Kids are getting so much information from their friends and the media, they won't listen to us. Yes, they will. They want to hear from you. And the information you give them is more likely to reflect your values.
  2. They get what they need at school. A few hours a week in health class can't -- and shouldn't -- substitute for talks with parents about complex topics like relationships, intimacy, and sex.
  3. If I talk about sex with my teens, they'll think it's okay to have it. No, actually, the exact opposite is true. The research shows that teens who talk with their parents are more likely to wait.
  4. If kids don't ask, they must already know enough or not be interested. All kids have curiosity, questions, and concerns. Don't wait for them to break the silence. Be parental and take the lead.
  5. I'll have to talk about my own sex life. Kids don't want to know that you even have a sex life. They just want guidance for their own lives.

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Originally published in the April 1, 2009, issue of Family Circle magazine.