The Birds and Bees Talk
Read more from Eva-Maria here
There comes a time in every parents' or grandparents' lives where they feel they need to have the dreaded 'talk' with their teen. Don't be alarmed! Let me let you in on a couple of pointers to help you get through this time.
For starters, you will probably feel you need to have this talk as your teen approaches their teenage years. No need to worry – they would have probably heard all the myths from their friends, and maybe even had a Sex Ed class at school. In reality, children are taught about Sex Education as early as 12 – I sure remember that dreaded day, sitting in the classroom with my peers, listening to our teacher de-construct a picture book. I was horrified to say the least (and for a while was absolutely convinced that surely 'Russians did it differently') and felt I did not need to clear anything up with my parents for quite a while. Imagine my relief when my Mum tried to talk to me about it, and all I could say was 'Mum, we learned this at school 3 years ago'. So basically, we would have probably been opened up to that world long before you even start thinking about talking to us about it.
Secondly, here's a few tips I've picked up on from my own experiences at home, as well as hearing how relatives (remember, you may not be the only relative trying to 'get in there first' to educate the teen) approach this sensitive subject.
Bring it up in a One-On-One Conversation
There is nothing worse than asking your teen whether they know 'how to do it yet' at the dinner table when more than 2 people are present. That's just gross. Especially when you're eating. Try approach the subject when you have a few minutes to talk one-on-one with your teenager in the privacy of your own home.
Don't bring it up to make it sound like you're accusing them of 'doing it'
When you open up with 'the talk', the worst possible thing you could do is claim that 'you feel like you need to have a serious discussion' – that just makes it sound like you're accusing your teen of already having sex. Totally emabrassing. Open up with something like 'seeing as you're growing up, I thought I'd clarify a few things…'
Use a Book
Books are great…they are a guide to help you get through the tough topic. Use it.
Don't Feel Like You 'Have To' Give Them the Talk
If this is a topic that is best avoided, due to any beliefs you may have, have the talk in your own time. Just because your teen just hit 13, don't go rushing to them with a banana and condoms. Embarassing! Talk with them in your own time when you feel it's right…or don't. If you're uncomfortable with the topic, and know the school or friends would have already given them enough information, get a book out from the library, or buy them a copy, and 'loan' it to them for a week. That way, they'll be able to flick through it in their own time, and there's no way they would put it off, because you would have given it to them for a week. After the week is up, remind them to give it back to you, and return it to the library, or even donate it to charity if you bought it. The reason I say this is because a friend of mine got a book given to her by her grandparents as a 'gift'. Needless to say, she never got around to it, collecting dusk on her bookshelf for years, until we recently discovered it in her room, and decided to flick through to have a laugh to see how on Earth a picture book describes such a topic. You WANT them to at least flick through the book, so give them a reasonable and justified deadline.
Most of all, understand that their friends would probably be talking about it – if not now, then they would be in future, but just remind them that if they ever need to come to you, you will always be there for them.
Have you ever had to give the 'Sex Talk'? What were the biggest challenges for you? (Comment below)