..And rock and roll. Just kidding. You’re wanting to know how to talk to your teen about sex and drugs. It’s likely that as they enter teenagehood, they are exposed through music, media, or other mediums. They may have stumbled upon something on the internet or shown things by their friends.
You wonder, at what point should I bring up talking about sex and drugs? Lately, with the rise of electronic vapes, it seems like teenagers are engaging in substance use at younger ages. This also stands for teenagers engaging in sexual acts at young ages. You want to make sure your teen is staying safe and educated as they navigate their adolescence.
It’s important to you that your teen understands the reality of engaging in sex and drugs. Although it’s common for teens to experiment in these areas, you want to ensure that they feel comfortable talking to you about these things. Being able to ask you questions and talk about things in confidence should be your goal when discussing sex and drugs with teens.
The topic of sex and drugs may feel pretty taboo. It can even be an uncomfortable discussion with you and your teen. Chances are, they may have already explored and got a glimpse into what sex and drugs are. You know that even though it feels uncomfortable, you want to get the message across to them.
Click here to read about Better Understanding Substance Abuse in Teens.
Teens aren’t going to want to tell you straight-up that they just engaged in sexual activities, or tried a drug out. Most likely, they are afraid of your reaction and response, and would rather keep it a secret. Maybe even lie about it, and deny any history of engaging in the two.
These topics don’t have to be full of shame and disgust, but rather interest and curiosity. It’s important to understand that the more you are receptive to hearing the truth, even if it’s a harsh one, the more likely your teen will open up to you about it. Being receptive to hearing the truth includes asking questions and not reacting strongly to their answer.
Encourage and praise honesty from your teen. It can be hard to get them to open up about personal or embarrassing things. You can start by encouraging them that you will not judge them for anything they are about to say, and that they will not get in trouble for being honest.
Thank your teen for opening up and being honest about whatever happened. You can disclose that you, yourself, are pretty nervous about having this conversation. But, it’s important for their safety!
Try to not respond with discontempt. Focus on the fact that they are trusting you. Your teen is being vulnerable in sharing this information with you; which is quite hard to obtain. It may not always be the coolest conversation to have with your teen.
They may feel embarrassed about talking to you about things. Consider their point of view when talking about sex and drugs. As parents, you have probably experienced it, either indirectly or directly. You want to ensure your teen is on a safe path, is educated, and feels comfortable talking to you.
Click here to obtain some starter sentences for helping your teen open up.
If you feel that your teen may be engaging in sexual activity, hold a conversation regarding consent, boundaries, and respect. This goes for using substances as well. The art of peer pressure can be detrimental to teens, oftentimes leading to bullying. It’s important that your teen understands basic respect for others and their decisions.
It can be a matter of just wanting to fit in with “the cool crowd”, however they have a right to say no, just as another teen does. Sometimes, teens may be teased for not wanting to vape or try beer, for example. Make sure you are able to talk to your teen about setting up boundaries for themselves.
You may have read about setting boundaries with your teen, but now it’s important that your teen knows to set boundaries for themselves. This means being able to say no and be firm in standing their ground. Being able to deny or reject anything they do not want is an important skill to develop.
Remind them that it’s okay to not give in to what the bigger crowd is doing. It doesn’t define them if they are not engaging in substances or sexual activity. Peer pressure is a major factor in teens making the wrong decisions, as they are not confident in their choices. They are only giving into peer pressure to satisfy other’s desires.
Encourage your teen to trust their gut and intuition – if something feels like a bad situation, it probably is.
In the end of it all, it’s always a great idea to consult with a teen therapist for family therapy. Within family therapy, all members are included to feel supported and validated. It creates a space for everyone to voice their concerns and hear each other’s perspectives.
Perhaps your teen is figuring out their sexuality, and you are not sure how to approach this topic. Connecting your teen with the best fit therapist will allow for them to comfortably express themselves in a positive environment.
The same goes for curiosity in experimenting with substances. Maybe your teen has already dabbled in marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol and understands the experience. However, you may feel that you don’t know what boundaries to install or conversations to have to retain their honesty and trust.
Family therapy will also help support you in parenting and navigating difficult topics with your teen. You will be fully supported by your therapist throughout the process. They will address your questions, concerns, and goals you have for your teen.
Remember to love your teen throughout it all for who they are. Forgive their mistakes and help guide them through learning about sex and drugs. Be there for them with open ears and open arms, and you will be able to support them!