Don’t assume that your teen knows about safe sex, STIs, and how to prevent teen pregnancy. Nowadays, sex education is rarely taught in public schools, and if it is taught, it’s a brief topic in class. Unfortunately, some teens believe that oral sex is not sex, and that if they only engage in oral sex, they can still remain a virgin and not suffer any of the negative consequences that having sex can bring. This is not true. STIs can still be transmitted during oral sex… and oral sex IS sex. When talking with your teen, be sure to dispel any myths that they might have about what is considered sex and what isn’t, and make sure that they know the real deal. Think about it: Wouldn’t you rather them hear the real facts about sex from you, rather than from that cute boy or girl trying to persuade them?
4. Teach them to guard their reputation.
Tell your teen that despite what is constantly being displayed on TV, on social media, and in music, everyone is NOT doing it. Encourage your teen to not feel pressured by the sexual images and messages that the see and hear throughout the day. Instead, encourage them to focus on their own character, morals and values. When having conversations with your teen about sex, also discuss their thoughts, belief systems and actions, and how those actions represent them. Let them know that it’s time to start thinking about how they want to show up in the world, and how they want to be perceived. Then, discuss potential actions such as posting provocative pictures and anonymously participating in racy conversations on a social media site, while challenging the teen to think about what those actions say about their character and values.
5. Don’t just talk about it, be about it.
Take action. Be proactive. If you don’t want your teen to be able to access pornographic sites online, install software that blocks these sites from your home. If you don’t want your teen to access certain social media sites, have conversations with them and ban them from those sites. If they still continue to visit them, then contact your cellular provider to block certain sites and apps from your teen’s phone. Also, initiate a technology curfew, meaning that all electronics must be shut down at a certain time every night, and I strongly suggest that parents have their teens store the electronics on the charger in the parent’s room to take away the temptation to be online all night. Finally, be sure to conduct frequent phone checks on your teen’s phone to monitor the messages that they are receiving, sending, and viewing.
The bottom line: it is on US to prepare our kids (especially girls, let’s be honest. They’re the ones being asked to send nudey pics) for the unique sexual pressure they will certainly face as young teens in the digital age. Shying away from these conversations is pretty much the WORST thing we can do for our children.
You can do hard things, Parents. And you MUST do this one.