Developing healthy relationships with your family members can improve things at home while also giving you the kind of support that’s hard to find anywhere else. There’s a lot of misinformation about sexual and reproductive health out there, so being able to seek honest advice from a trusted adult – whether it be a parent or aunt – can make a world of difference when you’re establishing your sexuality or having “the talk.”
How do I have “the talk” with my parents?
Every teen dreads discussing the “birds and the bees” with their parents but it’s probably one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have. And just because your parents haven’t already brought up sex, this doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to you about it at all – some parents don’t feel confident or need more information themselves. Try directing them to www.TalkWithYourKids.org for resources for parents to help them prepare.
You could also demonstrate maturity on your end by initiating the conversation yourself. If you’re nervous, start by saying, “This makes me feel super uncomfortable, but can we talk about…” Chances are, your parents are nervous too so letting them know where you stand will help them feel more comfortable.
Unfortunately, some parents won’t be able to talk to you about sex and may even punish you for bringing it up. If that’s the case, it’s best to drop the subject for now. However, you should still talk about sex with a trusted adult in order to get all the information and advice you need. Your doctor is always an option, as well as a counselor, trusted relative or older sibling.
If you need information now about birth control, visit this page. If you need information now about STDs, visit this page. If you need information now about where to go for sexual health services, check out our clinic finder.
How can I prepare for “the talk”?
Now that you and your parents have gotten the ball rolling, what should you discuss?
- Come up with questions regarding sex that you feel your parents would have the best answers to. Write the questions down so you can refer to the list when you’re stuck.
- Get a sense of your parents’ comfort level about a particular topic by saying that you have friends who are doing the same thing. Then, ask them how they’d feel if you were doing it too.
- Discuss your personal values and beliefs regarding love and sex and allow your parents to share theirs. Knowing this will make it easier to find common ground and better understand each other.
- Build up to the tough questions instead of dropping a bomb on them right away. Definitely include birth control and condoms in the conversation.
- Not everyone receives adequate sex education, so don’t be too surprised if your parents have some misconceptions about sex from their own parents. If something doesn’t sound right, double-check that information with a source you trust.
Did you know that now teens in California have the right to receive both comprehensive sex education and HIV prevention education at least once in middle school and once in high school? Learn more about this new law and what you should be learning in school here.
How do I talk to my parents about birth control and safer sex?
Birth control is a touchy subject, especially if your parents have strong feelings about whether you should or shouldn’t use it. But your parents value your safety more than anything, so emphasize that having this conversation will help you to better protect yourself.
Mention that going on birth control doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sexually active – you’re just exploring your options. And since your parents know you better than most people, they might even have some ideas about what the best method is for you.
Getting parental support can make that trip to your reproductive health clinic a lot less intimidating. If you can’t talk with your parents about birth control but you’re sexually active and want to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs, find a clinic nearby to get the health care services and information you need.