Many parents dread having “the talk” with their children once they reach puberty, but it’s an important step that we all must take to ensure our children know how to protect themselves once they become sexually active. This conversation should be about more than just intimacy, though. It should also include valuable information about what a healthy and unhealthy relationship is and how to get help if your child feels they are being abused.
Starting The Conversation
This is often the most intimidating part of the entire situation, but there are several simple and direct ways to get the conversation started with your child. You can begin by defining what a healthy relationship and unhealthy relationship is. Use examples from your personal experience with relationships as well things children will relate to- like television shows or movies.
Be sure to stress that a healthy relationship is one that includes mutual respect, balance, and communication. If any party is feeling pressured into doing something they aren’t comfortable with or ready for, that is a telltale sign of an unhealthy relationship.
Spotting The Different Types Of Abuse
Abuse comes in many forms- physical, sexual, verbal, mental, and financial. Focus on each type individually so that your child fully understands the signs to look out for.
- Physical- punching, kicking, hitting, strangling, restraining, even driving recklessly are all warning signs.
- Sexual- any forced sexual act or unwanted sexual advances.
- Verbal- demeaning someone with words and making them feel unworthy of love and respect.
- Mental- detrimental actions that lead a partner to a state of anxiety, depression, or isolation.
- Financial- controlling a partner with money or other material things to the point that they feel trapped and useless.
Maintaining A Healthy Intimate Relationship
At some point, adolescents are going to feel the urge to start a physical relationship with their partner. Talking to them about how they can protect themselves is crucial to them maintaining healthy intimate relationships into adulthood. Instruct them on how to keep themselves safe from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases by using protection and having regular STD testing done. Your child is likely going to embarrassed talking about STD’s, but it is crucial to teach them the importance of protecting their bodies. Many STD’s are lifelong diseases that can lead to painful consequences and even in some cases, death. The best way to keep themselves safe is by abstaining from sexual activity until they are in a monogamous relationship where protection is used and both partners are routinely checked for sexually transmitted diseases.
Children might have a difficult time grasping the fact that the choices they make today will affect the rest of their lives. That’s why it’s so important to keep the conversation going with your kids and check in with them on a regular basis. Let them know that they can come to you with any concerns or questions and that you will always be there to provide them with a safe, non-judgmental, and loving environment.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa– I work with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.