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If you find that you are too embarrassed to talk about these things, you can arrange for a sibling or trusted older cousin or family friend to broach the subject; in fact, you can use these other sources to bolster what you and your child are already discussing.

You can start this aspect of your parenting journey by accepting that sexual awakening and desire is a normal and healthy part of young adolescent development, and includes curiosity and experimentation as they learn about their sexual selves.

Becoming comfortable with their ‘new’ and changing adult bodies, learning to relate to the opposite sex, and forming romantic relationships are just some of the developmental tasks that teens need to accomplish before they leave adolescence and move into young adulthood.

It is critical that parents play a role in helping their teens be successful in these areas.

Sexual experimentation is part and parcel of growing up; almost all adolescents engage in some sort of sexual behavior so parents who think, “not my daughter, not my son,” are not facing the realities of their adolescent’s experience and developmental tasks.

Often the consequences for girls for sexual activity are much more severe than those for boys.Exposure to education has been shown to influence young adolescents to delay sex and to make sexual activity lower-risk.Sex education is not suggestive; it is valuable and urgent.Otherwise, peers may be filling in the knowledge gaps with incorrect information and questionable guidance that can lead to very risky behavior.It is all right to dread discussions about sexuality, but parents must be willing to communicate to their children.“The Talk” is best if it is really an on-going dialogue of thousands of mini-talks, which can occur as situations arise in everyday life: for example, when your teen tells you something about a friend of his, when you are watching television or a movie together, when listening to the lyrics in his songs, or when there is some relevant issue in the news.

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