There’s a window of receptiveness during preteen years where you can talk openly with your children about their sexuality. It’s important to do so.
But no two situations are equal when parents discover their daughter is sexually active. Consider the following key differences:
1. Be Prepared
If your teen decides to have sex, they’ll need to know that their choice will have real consequences. This can include unintended pregnancies or STDs. But, your kids will also need to understand that they can choose to remain virgins for life. You can help them to make that decision by educating them with age-appropriate information, says Silverberg. Leave age-appropriate books on teenage sexuality around your home, and be prepared to answer their questions as they arise.
Avoid focusing solely on sex and its risks, which can embarrass them. Rather, talk about them as part of a conversation about sex as a whole. You may need to explain why you think it’s important for teens to remain virgins until marriage or to abstain from sex altogether.
Don’t be afraid to share your own sexual bumbles and mistakes with her. Being honest builds trust and creates a bond of authenticity that allows her to seek your guidance. But, be careful to avoid freakouts, which can push her away. Instead, offer encouragement and support. If necessary, you can also encourage her to seek professional counseling if she’s struggling with volatile emotions and trauma from her sexual activity.
2. Be Patient
Even though this is a sensitive subject, you can’t rush into these talks. It’s best to approach them based on your daughter’s emotions, spiritual maturity and mental state. Freakouts only push her away from you.
Also, if you jump to conclusions about her sexual activity without knowing the facts first, she will feel defensive and you will lose her trust. It’s important that you choose a time of day free from distractions, when you can sit down and talk with her.
If you discover your teenage daughter is sexually active, you must be patient and kind. You need to listen to her point of view and understand the pressures, challenges and risks she faces. This is particularly true when dealing with situations involving homosexual activity. Focus on the Family offers helpful resources for these difficult conversations. Ultimately, your goal is to give her realistic information that helps her make healthy decisions. Not to control or scare her into making the right choice.
3. Be Honest
Even though the sex talk will most likely embarrass your teenager, it’s important for you to be honest. Your honesty will show her that you are willing to have the conversation regardless of how awkward it may be. She’ll be more likely to share information with you in the future if she knows that you are not embarrassed.
It’s also important to be honest about the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. However, don’t make them the sole focus of the discussion. Instead, present these topics well into the sex talk, and use them as natural conversational points that stem from discussing sex as a whole.
If your daughter does choose to have sex, be sure she understands that God designed sex for one man and one woman within the context of marriage. It’s also important to let her know that she should respect herself and others by using a form of birth control. This will prevent her from getting pregnant or infected with a STD. It will also help ensure that any sex she does is consensual.
4. Ask Questions
Getting to the bottom of her questions will require patience and understanding. Asking open-ended questions will help her to explore and understand her feelings about sex and sexuality, while helping you understand how she views the topic.
Avoid putting her on the defensive by using an accusatory tone in your questions. She may feel compelled to stonewall you and resist opening up about her experiences. Instead, use a conversation starter such as asking her what she has heard from friends or what she’s learned in her sex-ed class at school.
It is important to let her know that her decision to be sexually active or not is entirely up to her. She should be encouraged to value her pleasure and not simply her power. In fact, studies show that girls who receive positive messages about sex are less likely to have unwanted pregnancies.
Providing clear, honest, age-appropriate information will give her the knowledge and confidence to make wise choices for herself. Encourage her to consider God’s design for sex, which includes sexual intimacy between one man and one woman in marriage.
5. Set Boundaries
Your daughter may feel a lot of pressure to have sex, especially from her friends. You can encourage her to stay pure by discussing the values of abstaining from sex until marriage and respect for her body and yours.
You can also talk to her about sexually transmitted diseases and the risks of unplanned pregnancy. You can teach her about different types of birth control and encourage her to use condoms or other forms of protection. You can also remind her that it is always okay to ask for consent.
While you are having the sex talk with your daughter, it is important to remember that she has her own experiences and perspectives. The best way to navigate this conversation is with grace and love. It is also helpful to avoid accusing her of anything or using scare tactics. Strict talks and harsh criticism can actually push her away. Instead, be a loving guide and help her understand that she is valued. Ultimately, she has to decide for herself what she wants to do with her life.