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How to have 'the talk' with your teen about sex.

Having the 'sex talk' with your teen may be a little different than when you got it many years ago. Now with movies, video games, youtube and other media that either talks about or displays sexual content, your teen will either hear about it from their friends or from our 'entertainment'. However, the way you want them to see it may NOT be what they see or hear so it is always good to have an open conversation about the topic with your teenager. It opens the doorway for other conversations about their bodies, feelings and fears as well as sets boundaries for them which makes them feel safe.

Here are some good guidelines to use when you feel your teen is ready to open up about the topic..and even if they are still shy about it, don't think they aren't curious! Conversations behind closed doors with their friends can be very different from the ones they have with you so make sure they hear your perspective!

• Take your teen on a private outing where you can be alone and talk about the subject in private. Maybe go to their favorite restaurant, the ball field where you can hit the ball together, the spa where you can soak in a tub or just the park walking along the creek.

• Keep the conversation soft and ask questions as if you were talking with a close friend. Try not to be judgmental or critical of what they say, but ask them why they feel that way, how they learned their information, and then explain how you feel because of your own life experience.

• Be honest to a point. Your kids don't want to hear every little dirty detail of your sex life or what you have done, but you can talk to them about the honest feelings and dangers you know about having sex and being with a partner. Touch on sexual transmitted diseases, contraception, consequences and outcomes of having sex, including emotional and physical results. Touch on love, relationships, commitment and how sex changes the dynamic of a partnership.

• If your child does not feel comfortable talking to you about it for whatever reason, ask them who they would like to talk to in your circle of trusted mentors, including aunts, uncles, family friends, grandparents, etc. Don't feel offended if they are being cautious with the topic but make sure they do talk to someone you trust.

• Keep the mood light and only talk about what they understand at that point in their life and for their age. You are your teen's protector, teacher, friend and coach- with your open heart and your parental guidance, they will have a meaningful and healthy sex life when the time is right.

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