For parents, to talk about sex and sexuality with their teens may be a challenging task due to embarrassment, feeling awkward and not knowing how to properly discuss it.
Parents may also avoid discussing sex because they are afraid of promoting promiscuity. However, when parents are open to discussion, they provide their teens with reliant and relevant information. This ensures that they are not misinformed or lacking important information, therefore minimizing risky behaviour.
Before discussing it, parents could research about sex and familiarise themselves with using terms they are not comfortable verbalising. This can be done by using these terminologies with a close friend or one’s partner. Practicing with loved ones helps to normalize the topic, therefore increasing confidence and comfort when speaking about it to one’s children.
Parents can then initiate a discussion when the topic emerges, either through conversation or when an intimate scene takes place in a movie. Initiating it this way allows the teen to understand that sex is a topic which can be discussed with parents. Additionally it helps to reduce embarrassment.
It is also important that parents talk, not only about the physicality and mechanism of sex, but also about intimacy and relationships. Although it is important to talk about risks and safe practices, parents could also emphasise on the positive aspects of sex. That way, teens are given the full picture of what sexuality and intimacy is about.
– Alessia Camilleri is a first year Bachelor of Psychology (Hons.) student at the University of Malta. She is particularly interested in the counselling and family therapy. Alessia is an intern at Willingness.com.mt.