Becoming aware that your teen has become sexually active can be devastating. The reality is that teens have become more sexually active at faster rates. Despite your own views on premarital sex, teens will generally wind up doing as they wish. There are, however, effective ways to educate your teen so that proper precautions and perhaps changes in lifestyle are adopted as a result.
Communication is Key
The most important thing to remember with any sensitive issue is that communication is the first step in reaching an understanding. This will include taking into consideration your teen's opinions as well as sharing your own feelings. Your teen's decision to become sexually active has to be respected. This will be the first step in reaching any form of agreement.
Arrange for Discussion
It may not be possible to listen to your teen's reasoning about the matter at first. Try to remain calm. Arrange to discuss the issue at a time and place away from the family home, in a quiet place. This will help to create a safe space so that your teen will not feel like he is being ambushed.
Educate Your Teen
It is best not to make any assumptions about what your teen knows about sex. In fact, many teens begin engaging in sexual activity before knowing much about contraception and possible sexually transmitted diseases. Gather your educational arsenal, whether it is a book, film or your own type of presentation. Find out how much your teen knows, and then provide as much factual information as possible. The role of a parent when it comes to sex should be informational first, in order to establish the respect necessary so that your teen will heed your advice. Ensure that it is understood that just one sexual act without protection can lead to pregnancy and an STD.
Respect Your Teen
Just as you would do for anyone else, respect your teen's privacy. While it may be difficult to avoid trying to find out all of the details, realize that she is a human being who has entered a new phase in life. Respect is critical in order to establish and maintain a better parental relationship, and to ensure trust. Be sure to inform only your co-parent or someone that you enlist for help, such as the family doctor, if that is the case.
Be Supportive to Your Teen
The main thing to remember is that your teen's health and safety is more important than any religious or societal aspect. Offer to make appointments with a physician and accompany your teen on the visit. It is important for your teen to have a complete physical and be certain to use the best contraceptives possible, whether male or female.
Offer Alternative Assistance
It may be that your teen is not comfortable involving you in his or her sex life. If that is the case, find some trusted adults that can help, such as a nurse, doctor, relative or clergy. Ensure that your teen has someone that they can trust who will keep their information confidential.