By: a Philadelphia High School Student
Talking about sex with your child may be awkward, but it is important to stay welcoming. The talk is not just one talk, it is an open-ended conversation with your child that will help them make the right choices.
Since there is not just one talk, break everything up to make it less daunting. Early middle school is a good time to start talking about sex. The first conversation may feel weird, but the best way to do it is to keep it casual. Make it known that your child may ask questions and that you will be there to support them. I know that when my mom talked to me, she gave me the medical rundown of things and we never discussed it again until I asked about dating.
It is important to talk to your child about STDS, birth control, and consent when they enter high school, especially when they start dating. It is very important to educate your child about the other purposes of birth control; not only is it a contraceptive, but it also regulates hormones which can regulate periods and help clear skin. Mention that STDs are dangerous and safety is always important.
My mom did a great job with educating me on sex and STDS, and she never shamed me. Although we kept the line drawn of how much to tell one another, she still knew how far I had gone and always offered to buy birth control and condoms for me. However, there is one thing she never taught me: consent. I was never taught that I could say no. I was never taught that even if I said yes by force, my body was my own. No one has a right to force you into anything, and that something I never learned until it was too late. So please, tell your child what consent really means, because one day he/she may need the ability to say no means no.
Always be open with your child and never pass judgement. Welcome any questions and check in here and there. Your child needs that one person that they can come to. I suggest also reminding your child that sex is personal, and it doesn’t have to be something they share with their friends. The more people you tell, the more likely the story will get twisted and one day you’ll hear a story about yourself that is a lie. So always make it known that you are a safe non-judgemental outlet for them to open up about their sexual health/life with.
Overall, talk to your child, an awkward conversation is worth the weirdness if it protects your child from STDs and regretful choices. However, if it is against your cultural or religious beliefs to have the “sex talk” with your child, you can always contact their school to find out how much they should be learning there. There is always another option, do not avoid having it in general because this will hurt your child.