Yesterday we began sharing practical principles to keep in mind as you talk to your kids about sex, love, dating and relationships. Today Pam offers a few more:
Talk, Then Listen
Learn to listen, not just lecture.
Practice questions like:
- Have you heard the term _____?
- Do you know what _____ is?
- What have you heard from friends about _____?
- How do you feel about what I just shared?
- Do you have any questions about what I shared with you?
Be prepared for what you think might be the next sexual question or topic that might come up. If surprised, feel free to say, “Wow, that’s a great question. Let me get some information together for you and we’ll chat about this later.”
Don’t freak out. Some topics might come up before you want them to. Try to talk with your child gently and reasonably, without getting emotional or frazzled. Take a few breaths, pray, take a walk, or whatever you need to do so that your emotions are in check and stable.
As you pray for your child, God will give you insights either through his Word or through the leading of his Holy Spirit to help you find the right words.
It might seem easier to talk to Mom, but teens that live in intact homes with Dad involved are much less likely to be involved in premarital sex and risky behaviors. If the father is involved as a positive, active role model for his sons and daughters, the children will make better choices.
It is in your child’s best interest (if possible) to involve both parents in discussions on love, sex, and dating. (If you re a single mom, look for strong male role models for your kids, like a grandfather, brother, coach or pastor).
Bring God into the Talk
Moral and religious convictions do make a difference. One study indicated that girls are less likely to have premarital sex if their mothers cited moral or religious reasons in their discussions. (Conversely, the more liberal the daughter perceived her mother’s values to be, the more likely she was to have sex—and have it younger and with more partners.) In a recent study, 45 percent of teenage boys cited religion to be the main factor in their sexual decisions.
If this area of bringing God into the picture is new to you or you are not sure how to begin, Jill and I have a very helpful, practical and easy to use chapter in our Got Teens? book that can help you build your child’s spiritual life (and your own in the process).
First tip- get a team of good people around your teen. None of us has all the answers so if we surround our teen with many terrific adult role models there will be someone there with the right bit of advice at the right time. Coaches, church youth leaders, pastors, and other adults are all possibilities for your teen’s successnet.
What about you? Did you have other adults in your life when you were a teenager? If so, how did that make a difference. If you are a parent of a teen, what strategies have you used to build a successnet for your teen?