The resources on this page will help you develop better skills to build a healthy relationship with your teen
Parents have the largest influence on their adolescent’s decisions about their sexual health. Research shows teens who have a good relationship and open communication with their parents wait longer to have sex, and when they are ready, are more likely to use contraception. Six in 10 teens wish they could talk openly about sex with their parents. It is important to be approachable so your adolescent can come to you with concerns about their sexual health and offer advice and knowledge so they can make the best choices possible.
These articles offer assistance on how to be open with your adolescent, provide tips on how to establish a conversation about sexual health, and suggest ways to maintain healthy communication.
- Talking with Teens about Tough Issues
This information concentrates on bridging the gap between parents and teens in an effort to discuss uncomfortable topics such as sexuality and sexual behavior. / Visit website
- National Campaign Ten Tips for Parents
This report issued by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy offers recommendations on when and how to talk to your teen about their sexual choices, as well as guidance on how to respond to their questions. This report also offers direction on how you can provide your teen with a bright future by supporting their choices and staying involved. / Visit website
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative: Tips for Raising a Sexually Healthy Son or Daughter
A step-by-step approach on how you can provide your teen with the advice and support they need to make the best sexual health choices. / Download PDF
Building Healthy Relationships with your Teen
Building a healthy relationship with your teen can take multiple steps and be overwhelming. Check out some of these resources that can help you take the right steps.
Building Healthy Relationships
These articles offer information on building healthy relationships with your adolescent. The information can help build relationships with your child starting at a young age, and assist you in maintaining strong relationships with your adolescent into young adulthood.
- Advocates for Youth – Growth and Development: What Parents Need to Know
Information for parents about the physical, cognitive, and sexual development of their teens, as well as advice on how to raise a sexually healthy teen. / Read article
- The National Campaign – Kiss and Tell: What Teens Say about Love, Trust, and Other Relationship Stuff
Information on how teens feel about relationships, and how they think their parents can help them make good decisions about their selected partners and relationships. / Download PDF
- The National Campaign – Relationship Redux
Tips and scripts for talking to your kids about relationships / Download PDF
- 2015 APP Brochure
The Importance of Male Involvement
Research shows that teens with active fathers make better sexual health decisions. These links focus on the influence fathers can have on the decisions their teen makes.
- US News: Dad’s Good Parenting May Help Daughters Avoid Risky Sex / Visit Website
- Fast Facts: Dads Make A Difference / Visit Website
Supporting Sexual Differences in Your Teen
These articles present information on how you can address and support the needs and risks specific to the sexuality of your teen.
Are you an approachable parent?
The best time to start talking with your child about sex and sexuality is around the age they start to have sex.TrueFalse
Talking with your child about sex and sexuality should start at a young age. Children are curious about their bodies and if you initiate the conversation early, not only does if let your child know you are open to communication but it also takes the stress of The Talk off your shoulders.
The best setting to talk to your kids about sex is:At the dinner table with all family members presentOne on one with them on the couchWhile engaging in an activity such as hiking or cooking
Talking with kids about sex can be awkward for them. You don’t want to bring up uncomfortable conversation with lots of people around but you don’t want all the attention on them either. Studies show teens communicate best in uncomfortable situations when all the attention isn’t on the topic. Your teen will feel more comfortable talking to you because they can focus on the activity rather than the awkwardness of the conversation.
When you are talking to your teen about sex, the best approach is to:Know all the information and instruct your teen over all the factsTell them about what it was like when you were their ageProvide an open conversation where both of you can share thoughts and ask questionsSit back and listen while they tell you everything
The last thing your kids want to hear about is how it was when you were their age. Times have changed and things are different now. It is important for you to know the facts and to be a good listener but your kids still need some direction. It is important to lead the conversation but make the communication open so your teen feels comfortable to ask you questions and share their feelings.
Your son or daughter shares with you that they are thinking about having sex. Your reaction is to:Tell them the thought of having sex at their age is completely out of the questionDrive them to the health center and get them every type of birth control imaginableAsk them why they are having these feelings and listen carefully to their responses so you can offer them the best advice and resources when making the decisionTalk to them in a loud and stern voice so they understand why this decision is such a terrible one
One important characteristic to being an askable parent is to not overreact in tough situations. This is a rough time in your teen’s life and by overreacting you are only showing you aren’t open to their feelings and that they can’t come to you with their concerns. Don’t overwhelm your teen with information or resources because you are nervous about this new step in their life. It is better to address specific concerns or questions with simple answers in mature language they can understand.
Your son or daughter comes home from school and tells you that their classmate just found out she was pregnant. In this situation you:Tell them you never did like that girl and that it is probably her fault because of her choices in friendsStart a conversation about how this happened and how it could have been avoidedIgnore the conversation completely. Your son or daughter already makes good choices and would never end up in a situation like their classmateNod your head in acknowledgment so your son or daughter is aware you heard them and then return to what you were doing
Opportunities like this will come up frequently during your child’s adolescence. Take advantage of these occasions to talk to your child about safe sex and healthy relationships while leaving the conversation open so they can share their feelings on these situations as well.