How to teach your child to know when he/she is ready for sex

Insights, advice, and recommendation for modern parents dealing with kids and sex.

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Dreading the day that you are finding out about your child’s/teen’s emerging adult’s first “physical” relationship? Are you considering to move to an island to delay your child’s/teen’s/emerging adult’s engagement in relationships? Be invited to be the one initiating this conversation ahead of time (instead of managing the consequences after the fact) by teaching your child/teen/emerging adult decision making and communication skills to be sexually responsible when the situation arises.

What Our Experts Are Saying

Insights, recommendations, and advice for parents balancing kids and technology from the doctors, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the Modern Parent Project community.

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What to Do?

Direct, straightforward and summarized advice and recommendations.  Parents, please consider the following insights when navigating the challenging topic of kids and technology.
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What NOT to Do?

The wrong words or actions can sometimes make things worse with kids.  Parents, please consider avoiding the following potential traps.
Be your child's advocate
Don’t worry, your child/teen/emerging adult prefers hearing from you how to handle relationships (even if he/she tells you the opposite) instead of from peers and others in their life. Be encouraged to promote the best, age-appropriate behaviors based on what you know, what you have learned, and what you do not want your child/teen/emerging adult to deal with if they were left to their own, unguided decision making. Don’t expect that your beloved will thank you for this right now, but in the future may see the positive consequences from your proactive advocacy in your child’s life today.
Be your child's developed brain
Your child’s brain is not yet fully developed, so they cannot estimate by themselves criteria for healthy relationships, when and how to say no, and how to adequately assess risks when it comes to their online and face to face relationships. However, you get to help your child’s brain to learn more and more to make good decisions through proper dialogue and age-appropriate boundaries. Feel encouraged to stay engaged in your child’s life and relationships!
Don't put this aside
If you notice irritability or anxiety in your teen or emerging adult when it comes to their face-to-face or online relationships, do not be swayed: studies show that maladaptive interactions in online relationships (and face to face relationships) can contribute to anxiety and depression with subsequent difficulties in school an personal relationships. It is worth investigating further what is going on in your child’s/teen’s/emerging adult’s relationships!
Don't panic- help is on the way
This may feel overwhelming as you are reading this, but rest assured that there are professionals who are trained in providing specialized support and who can help you with developing communication skills to engage in a productive way with your child/teen/emerging adult about this important topic. Feel free to reach out for support- you are worth it!

How to teach your child to know when he/she is ready for sex

Dreading the day that you are finding out about your child’s/teen’s emerging adult’s first “physical” relationship? Are you considering to move to an island to delay your child’s/teen’s/emerging adult’s engagement in relationships? Be invited to be the one initiating this conversation ahead of time (instead of managing the consequences after the fact) by teaching your child/teen/emerging adult decision making and communication skills to be sexually responsible when the situation arises.

By Dr. Sibylle Georgianna

Go over the following questions with your child/teen/emerging adult. Dialogue with them about the following questions – tell them that they get to ask themselves the following questions as they get to meet possible romantic partners during the course of their lives (e.g., in school, sports, church):

 

  1. What role do I want relationships and sex to have in my life at this time?

 

  1. What are my values as they pertain to sexual relationships? [Note: you as the parent get to help them develop values pertaining to relationships.]

 

  1. Will a decision to engage in sex enhance my positive feelings about myself and my partner? Do I have questions about my sexual orientation or the kinds of people who attract me?

 

  1. Do we both want to have sex? Is my partner pressuring me in any way? Am I pressuring my partner in any way? Am I making this decision for myself or for my partner?

 

  1. Have my partner and I discussed our sexual histories and risk factors for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? Have I spoken honestly about any STIs I’ve had in the past? Am I sure that neither my partner nor I have an STI at this time?

 

  1. What precautions against unwanted pregnancy and STIs am I willing to take? Will my partner agree to these? If not, is there a reasonable and safe alternative?

 

In addition, you as the parent gets to teach your child/teen/emerging adult:

 

How to Say NO to Sex

  1. Be simple, clear, and direct. Monitor your signals; be sure they are consistent with your words. Be aware that men and women interpret casual touches differently, and act accordingly.

 

  1. If you’re at a loss for words, try these responses:

 I like you a lot, but I’m not ready to have sex.

You’re a great person, but sex isn’t something I do to prove I like someone.

 

I’d like to wait until I’m married to have sex.

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