Many parents find it uncomfortable to talk with their kids about intimacy, or fear that talking about it may encourage their children to try it. Studies have shown that teens whose parents talk with them about what goes on behind the bedroom door behave in a more responsible way about this aspect of life.
“Parents usually find talking about the birds and the bees easier when it’s been part of the conversation since their children were young. The trick is to anticipate what information the child is ready to hear, and to talk in terms that are at his or her level.”
The following tips may help:
- Encourage your child to ask questions. Listen to what he has to say. Stay calm during any discussion and be honest in your answers.
- Expect to be rebuffed if you haven’t established an ongoing “intimacy dialogue” with your child, but be firm about it in a loving, caring way.
- Use humor to defuse any tension or embarrassment. Admit it’s uncomfortable for you to talk about sex, but necessary because of its effects on your child’s health and future.
- Use books or diagrams to explain. Your OB/GYN may be able to recommend one.
- Discuss the pros and cons of teens being intimate. Stress that the most meaningful intimacy comes from feelings of respect, caring, commitment and love.
Parents should be the ones to talk with their child about intimacy. However, it is sometimes helpful for a physician to talk with the adolescent or teen. “As doctors, we are more comfortable talking about how the body works, the issues of adolescents and teens becoming intimate too soon, STDs and birth control. If you are uncomfortable, ask your doctor for help,” she suggests.