Talking About Sex: How Parents Handle the Conversation (Part 2)

At the last parent presentation I did, a parent asked for advice on how to talk to a VERY reluctant teen.  It seemed that this teen stonewalled, disappeared…in short did anything possible to avoid having any talks about sex and dating.  I remembered an insight from the article,  referred to in past blogs, about parent-teen conversations about sex.  The authors pointed out that some teens may be “embarrassed, uncomfortable, are afraid of tarnishing their parent’s image of them, and do not want to be judged or looked down upon.”  With that in mind, and remembering the tactics of some parents in the study, I suggested this strategy:  Talk about someone else.  It is much easier to discuss “that poor girl who was drinking and driving and killed her best friend who was in the passenger seat” or to mention “Remember Danny, who you used to play with when you were in grade school?  I heard his girlfriend had to drop out of school because she’s pregnant.”  The conversation (and parental input) can then continue in the context of someone else’s poor choices, in a much less direct way.  It is assuredly best to be direct, but for those teens who just can’t bear the embarrassment of talking about such things with Mom or Dad…give the indirect route a shot.