Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Talking With Your Teen About Sex, Drugs, and Money

    Sex continued...

    If your teen is in a relationship, and things seem to be heating up, it's important to take an honest, adult-to-adult tone, says Ann Tiberghien, a mom of two in Atlanta. When she noticed that her then-16-year-old son was falling seriously in love for the first time, she was tempted to scream, "Don't you dare make me a grandmother!" Instead, she took an opportunity, when they were both in the car, to suggest calmly that the couple have their own talk together — before they got too hot and heavy — about how far sexually they were really prepared to go at that stage and the implications of that. "After our talk," Tiberghien says, "I realized that I no longer had a child on my hands. I had a young adult."

    And help your teen rehearse ways to get out of sexually pressured situations. For girls, the best response to the classic arm-twisting line — "If you love me, you'll have sex with me" — is a firm, "I'm not ready, and if you care about me, you'll respect my wishes." For boys, who may worry that they're less experienced than their friends, point out that, no matter what they tell you, many, many other guys their age are not having sex yet, so there's no shame in holding off.

    What to cover: Be clear about what you believe and the behavior you expect, says Dr. Braverman, but in a way that recognizes your child may not — or may not always — share your view. Say, "I think you're too young for the risks and the responsibilities of sex, and I want you to wait. And if and when you think you are ready to be sexually active, I want to be sure that you know you need to use birth control and protect yourself from diseases by using a condom." Reassuringly, research shows that two-thirds of teens agree with their parents' values about sexuality, but acknowledging that sexual activity is a teen's own choice leaves the door open to continued dialogue. For more information, visit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy's Website: thenationalcampaign.org.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Article
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    Article
     
    hand holding a cell phone
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    girl being bullied
    Article
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow