It’s important to prepare your teens and pre-teens about their sexual health in this modern digital era.
Nowadays, many parents of growing teens leave the conversation about sexual health and sexual diseases up to the school system. They rely on teachers and heath nurses to provide their kids with the ‘right’ information, but ultimately, they don’t know what their kids are learning and if it’s sinking in and being effective. There is so much sexual promiscuity among teens, that it’s not enough to simply leave one of the most important conversations a parent should have with their teen, up to the educational system. After all, all they can do is define sexual intercourse in the crudest sense of the word, but knowing the sexual intercourse meaning, is simply not enough for teens to understand the impact that sexual relations can have on their lives.
That’s why parents need to carefully plan this conversation and think about why their children need to hear it from them. Yes, conversations about sexual intimacy can be intimidating for any family member to have, but if you want your children to have the best resources and information and be protected, then it’s better you don’t leave that up to anyone else except you and your partner.
What the best way to break the ice and start a conversation about sexual health? Do it young. Start letting children know that couples exist and that when in a committed and safe relationship that certain physical demonstrations of affection are normal and acceptable. It’s not something to be done with everyone, and that eventually many people who are in romantic relationships, marry and others don’t. That’s why it’s important to know who to share your body and intimate gestures with.
Starting early lays the basis for talking about sex, and since you know it will breached in health class, it’s important to know when those conversations and lesson will take in school so you can follow up with more information at home, and make your child feel safe and not be scared about all the information and diagrams they saw at school. Scary feelings are normal, and so are excited one, and helping your pre-teen navigate through those emotions are necessary so they can develop a healthy attitude toward sex.
Talking about how they feel about their bodies is also important and is highly linked in media and online, so you need to know how do they feel they are reflected in the world, and where does their physical self image fit in with the ideal. This also impacts how they will feel or think about sex and will vary from male to female child. Since the modern world is obsessed with perfect bodies and athletic builds, and it creates an unrealistic goal for what is achievable and what is healthy, talking about how they feel about their body will help you support them through any insecurities, and will help you identify any possible weaknesses or vulnerabilities they might have to peer pressure or influences on how they perceive themselves in terms of sexual desire-ability. It may sound like a lot, but pre-teens need to know they are perfect the way they are, that their bodies are normal and acceptable so they don’t develop any sexual anxieties about performance or nudity.
Sex is scary because more than anything, it means you have to expose yourself to another. And for teens who just want to fit in and be normal, exposing themselves to critiques and possible rejection is a huge issue and fear that can develop if feelings about sex and intimacy are not addressed in a positive and constructive way. And so, sexual health, both mental and physical is important. Giving your kids a condom and birth control pills is not going to work anymore. You have to think about all the social media out there that can manipulate and harm your kids before you get to them. So the sooner you have the conversations and develop a dialogue about sexual health, the better.
Because it’s not just about the body, it’s about the mind, about their identity and how they will express themselves romantically and sexually. So, as parents, for pre-teens it’s paramount that you prepare them for the modern world without holding anything back. They’ll thank you for it, years later. And, so will you.