Don’t be worried that talking about it will encourage them to do it, Brown adds. “The more they know about the risks, the less sex they have as teens.” Besides looking for signs that your dating teen is having unprotected sex, parents should always be watchful for signs of abuse, Ponton and Brown say. Subtler signs include unusual anxiety, secretiveness, poor appetite, low self-esteem and depression.If their boyfriend or girlfriend regularly puts them down, has power over them, controls their activities and choices or threatens them harm, parents need to step in.“America has the highest rate of date rape in the world, and the statistics are very high among teens and young adults.” Make sure they know never to meet someone alone that they encountered online. Come pick me up at our spot down the street.” Talk Safe Sex When your teen starts dating, it’s time to discuss specific safe sex methods. When a sexual encounter comes up, Brown says parents can ask, “Where was the talk about protection?Come up with a code that they can text or tell you over the phone anytime they’re out. I wonder if the talk about the condom happened behind the scenes.” When your teen is in a serious relationship, talk to both teens if possible, and make sure they realize the gravity of sexual intimacy, Brown says.Statewide, only 20 percent of kids ages 14 to 17 have had sex, according to the California Health Interview Survey.Thinking that everyone else is doing it can push kids to become sexually active too young.
Others may be uncomfortable even mentioning birth control and STIs, but they should give their child contact information of another trusted adult, doctor or clinic where they can get the protection they need.It’s much easier to talk when your kids become teens if you began the dialogue years earlier.“When you start talking to them about sex when they’re 11, it allows them time to figure out what’s important to them,” says Brown, who has worked with teens for 27 years and is the mother of two daughters ages 18 and 21.Talking about relationships once they reach school age is step two. ” Share your values, but be sure to ask your child what he thinks creates a healthy, loving relationship.Parents should inquire about their children’s friendships, Ponton says, asking questions like: “What makes a relationship work well? Parents can find good conversation starters both in the media and in real life scenarios.
Mom, dad and the kids should all participate in the meeting and keep an open mind as others make a case for specific parameters.