Sexual feelings, attractions and fantasies affect virtually all people from puberty onwards. However, the onset of puberty varies from person to person and can be affected by many different factors.
Melistas advises parents that, if their child becomes sexually active, it’s important to talk about it calmly and respectfully. This involves discussing topics such as sexting, sexually transmitted diseases, respect, consent and intimate relationships.
1. Talk to Your Teen
It’s hard to know how to react when you discover your teen is sexually active. It can feel like a mix of disappointment, fear and worry about their well-being. However, it’s important to talk to your teen about the decision and what it means to you as a family.
Start by explaining your values and what you believe is right or wrong. Be prepared that your teen may have an opinion that doesn’t line up with yours, but listen respectfully and try to understand their perspective.
Be sure to have the conversation in a private place where your teen can feel comfortable and free to express their emotions without fear of punishment. You should also discuss getting the input of a medical professional, as your teen may need a pap smear or pregnancy test.
It’s also helpful to talk to your teen about the risks and benefits of being sexually active. For example, you can explain that oral sex isn’t a risk-free alternative to intercourse and that using condoms or dental dams are necessary for avoiding STIs. You can also help them understand consent – that both people need to agree and they can stop at any time.
2. Take Some Time to Think About It
While parents can be a bit surprised when their kids are sexually active, they should also remember that this is a normal part of growth and development. Melistas suggests that parents have age-appropriate talks about sex as early as preschool and continue these conversations throughout adolescence. This includes discussing the emotional consequences of sex, the risks of pregnancy and STDs, when it is appropriate to have sex and the risks of sexting and social media.
It is also normal for teens of both genders to explore dating and romance at this age. They may begin to kiss or “make out” with other youth, although this behaviour typically occurs in the context of friendships. They may also start to experiment with sexual arousal by masturbating. For both boys and girls, this is a common way to experiment with their erections and feelings of sexual pleasure. However, they should not forget that masturbation is a private behaviour and should be done in a clean and discreet place. The frequency of sexual activity increases during mid adolescence, and most sex is within relationships at this time.
3. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions are a great way to get to know someone at a deeper level. These types of questions require more thought and a more detailed answer than a simple yes or no answer. They also let your teen know that you care about them and want to hear more about their experiences. This can help them feel safe opening up to you and talking about sensitive topics.
For example, you could ask them, “How does your relationship make you feel?
4. Listen to Your Teen
If your teen is already sexually active, it’s important to have open conversations with them about the topic. This will help keep the lines of communication open, and it will also ensure that they understand your values and expectations for them.
It can be difficult to hear that your teen is engaging in adult activities, particularly if it’s something that you are not comfortable with. However, it’s important to listen to them without interrupting and to remain calm. If you are unable to control your emotions, it’s best to take a step back and choose a time when you can talk to them in a more peaceful state of mind.
During the conversation, it’s helpful to remember that adolescent brains are still developing and changing. Your teen may need some time to process the information you are giving them, and it may be helpful to provide them with more resources that will help them make healthy decisions. For example, make sure they know about how to use condoms and birth control options and encourage them to be exclusive in their relationships.
5. Get the Input of a Medical Professional
A girl should meet with a gynecologist to learn about birth control options and how to use them properly. She may need to get a Pap smear, pregnancy test, or sexually transmitted disease (STI) screening at this time, as well. Teens are more likely to seek medical care and share personal information with a physician when they know that their doctor will respect their confidentiality and not disclose their medical records to their parents .
Your teen should have strong sexual decision-making skills in order to be able to choose safe, healthy sexual behaviors. These skills can help them avoid unplanned pregnancies and STIs, as well as make safer choices with their partners.
Parents have a legal duty to provide their children with the basic necessities of life, which includes food, clothing, and shelter. Typically, this responsibility terminates when the child reaches the age of emancipation, graduates from high school, or marries. However, in some states, a parent’s duty to their children may continue until they graduate from college or enter the military. In this situation, Andrea’s father could be charged with child neglect if he does not continue providing her with food, clothing, and shelter.