In this age of the Internet and information at our fingertips, most parents find it easy to shrug off or completely avoid responsibility of talking about physical intimacy (read: sex) with their children, thinking that the teenager probably knows more about it than they do.
This train of thought is completely incorrect. It is your responsibility as a parent to talk to your kid and make them understand that any visually graphic content that they may or may not be exposed to is not the complete truth.
Talk about the monthly cycle
The first and foremost rule is to have ‘the talk’ early. There is nothing wrong in letting your child know the reason why you do not enter a temple on certain days etc. You may explain that a mother’s body prepares itself to have a baby every month by producing an egg. When mother does not have a baby, the egg falls off from the area where we pass urine. This process takes a couple of days and we do not enter holy places during those days.
Always be open to questions and truthful. This will ensure that your children will trust you and listen to you when they are older.
Skip the sermon
Never give a sermon or lecture to your children or they will tune out before you blink. Try to start a conversation by asking neutral open-ended questions such as whether they discuss about sex with their friends or they have friends who talk about sex. Understand that their curiosity is natural and do not make them feel embarrassed about it. Most importantly, listen to them and let them know that you are always available for them. A conversation is a two-way process.
Prepare in advance
The worst thing that can hamper an open and friendly dialogue about sex is not being prepared when, and if, your teen approaches you about it. Prepare yourself in advance about how to approach the conversation and answer possible upcoming questions. Do not show embarrassment even if you feel embarrassed. Be composed and calm at all times.
Do not judge
While having a conversation, simply keep in mind that your teen is much more exposed and aware and has more knowledge about sex than you had at their age. Therefore, arm them with adequate information about the pitfalls of pre-marital sex, and the dangers of an unexpected or early pregnancy. If you are the parent of a boy, your responsibility doubles itself. The last thing you would want for your young ‘innocent’ boy is to be responsible for emotional trauma and pain for someone he might care a lot about.
Tell them that sex is a natural act of expression of love and respect and not a tool for displaying ‘cool attitude’.