Learn to listen.
All children need to feel that their ideas or
concerns about sex are worth listening to.
Look for natural opportunities to talk.
You don’t have to wait until your child comes to you
with suggestions or comments about
sex. He or
she may be too embarrassed to ask you first. Take advantage of natural
openings to talk about sex.
Listen carefully for hidden feelings.
Many times children have trouble saying exactly what
they mean, especially when it
comes to sex. Remember that your child may be afraid to talk about certain things.
Let your child know you will not get mad or upset
about anything he or she brings
Try to avoid judging your child.
Making harsh judgements or criticizing children’s
attitudes about sex will most
often cut off communication. Children will open up more quickly with
are willing to listen in an understanding manner.
Let your child express his or her feelings freely.
Many young people have values or opinions about sex
that are different from their
parents. Remember, these may not be firmly held ideas or values, but only part of
the sorting-out process young people go though. First, listen to what your child has
to say. If
you agree with what your child says, say so. If you disagree, then clearly
state your own viewpoint, and why you feel that way.
Don’t cut off communication.
Parent sometimes lose the chance to help young people
think and talk about sex,
because they begin to nag, preach or moralize. This type of communication is
usually destructive. The young person needs to know that talking about sex is two
Avoid over-or under-answering questions
Answer questions directly. Don’t assume that a simple question about sex
answer far beyond what was asked! If you don’t know the answer to a question,
offer to find out.
Possible Ways to Start the Conversation...
- I have a concern I’d like to share with you…
- After seeing that (T.V. show, magazine article, movie),
I’ve been thinking about…
- What do you think about…
- How do you feel about…
- I’m not sure I understand you. Will you try to say it another way?
- Let me check this out with you… Are you saying that…?
- What we’re talking about makes me feel pretty
uncomfortable (embarrassed, angry, concerned), but I’d like to continue anyway.
- I’d be really interested in hearing what you think
about… (or feel about…)
- Tell me some more about how you feel about…
- Can you say anything more about…?
- You know, I haven’t given that much thought lately. Give me a few minutes to think about it.
- There’s something important to me that I’d like to
share with you.
- Go on…
- I don’t know the answer to that one. But let’s (go to
the library, think about it, look it up, talk with someone who might know, find
out about it) and talk again tomorrow on our way to the game (set a specific
time to get back to it).
- It would be really helpful to me if you’d share with me
how you feel about…
- I’ve been thinking about our conversation last night
(last week, last month) about…and there’s some more I’d like to say.
- I have a different feeling about that.
- Thank you…for sharing with me, for talking with me, for
listening…for being patient, for giving me time.