How to Talk With Your Teen About Sex and Pregnancy

How to Talk With Your Teen About Sex and Pregnancy

Post Date: Dec 20, 2023
Parent Support

It can be hard for parents to know how to discuss sex with their teens. But no one benefits when you put off the conversation. Here are a few tactics for opening a talk about sex and pregnancy with your child and for keeping communication open.

Discuss your personal expectations for them

Expectations around sex will vary from family to family. At the same time, teens are going to have a separate set of expectations from their friends or social group. It’s important to clearly communicate what you expect as their guardian and how you hope they’d respond if receiving pressure to act differently from their peers. The more you can establish a relationship of openness with your teen, the more comfortable they will feel talking to you about these topics.

Find educational resources to help answer their questions

If you can, provide age-appropriate discussions with your kids about sexual health as early as seven to nine years old. But even if that wasn’t possible in your family, it’s never too late to start. It’s easy for misinformation to spread among teens. Whether it’s educational videos, books, or pamphlets from your provider’s office, giving them some background on topics like sex and pregnancy can help start a conversation. Let them know that you’re available to answer any of their questions.

Use medically correct language

Conversations with your teen about sex can be uncomfortable. Using anatomical and scientific language to describe body parts—like penis instead of ding dong or vagina instead of hooha—can help keep discussions neutral and less cringy for both you and your teen.

Don’t forget to discuss healthy relationships

When talking about touchy topics with your teen, be careful not to default to scare tactics. Talking about the negatives that can come with having sex or getting pregnant before they’re ready is important. But giving them an idea of what healthy relationships look like is important too. Talk with them about support, kindness, openness and good communication. Covering consent, how to say no, and how their partner should acknowledge them and their wants should also be a major conversation topic.

Focus on the benefits of prevention

Again, scare tactics usually aren’t the best way to talk to your teen about sex and pregnancy. It makes for negative conversations, and your teen can tune you out after a while. By focusing on the benefits of preventing STIs and unplanned pregnancy, you can keep the talk positive and hopefully get through to them in ways you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Make sure they can talk to a provider if they need

Not all conversations are easy for teens to have with a parent or guardian. And while you want to do your best to establish a relationship with your teen that helps them feel comfortable talking to you about anything, that just might not always be the case. Making it easy for them to speak with a medical professional gives them another trusted adult to talk to. This can help make sure they’re safe and cared for, no matter their level of sexual activity. And that’s what matters most.

Community Health Partners can offer the care your family needs at any stage of life. And with a commitment to affordable care, the cost of an appointment doesn’t need to affect whether or not you schedule one. Make an appointment at a CHP clinic in Bozeman, Belgrade or Livingston for you or your teen to talk to a provider.