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Tips for Teaching About Sex

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Why is it so difficult to talk to your kids about sex? What are the keys to being successful at teaching your kids about sex?

• Teens need accurate information. They need to know that not everyone out there is doing it. Teens can and do say no. Give them information and tell them "This is really how it happens." Feel confident enough to be direct with them.

• They don't just want the technical aspect; they want to know what you believe. They want to know your value systems. They need to know your thoughts.

• Help your teens have a healthy sense of what intimacy is. There is a healthy, good side of sex. Help them understand how it fits into a relationship.

• Parents do matter. You deeply influence your children. Follow their lead. They desperately want your advice. They want direction from their parents. Teenagers do pay attention. Parents should be paying attention as well. Don't be afraid to walk around your house and make your presence known. Why are parents afraid to go downstairs and check on their teens? Become active parents. Know where your kids are and what they are doing when they are away from you.

• Make their friends feel welcome. If kids aren't feeling safe at home, they will go somewhere else. But the truth is that they are safer at home. Make them feel safe at home; it is to their advantage as well as your own. Teenagers without supervision at home are an added concern. If boyfriends or girlfriends come over there is an even bigger problem.

• Our fears keep us from doing a lot of good things in relationships. Don't let fear stop you. Bite the bullet. No matter how uncomfortable you feel, you just do it. Never act shocked. Nothing should be off-limits.

• Follow the thought. If you are starting to think, "I should have the talk" then have it. There is not one specific time that you need to start teaching them. This is a life long process that lasts from the time they are toddlers until the time they are married.

• Have a good relationship with your kids. Do your kids sense that you are open to the questions and conversations? Tell them how important they are to you and start the dialogue with them. Make sure you keep the communication lines open. Build trust for the future. How you talk to your kids today creates how you will have to talk to them in the future. If you can create friendship and open conversation you will be able to have it more when they are older.

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