How To Get Through An Awkward Conversation With Your Teen

February 25, 2020

As a parent, you have to get through many different stages of life with your kids before they become fully-functioning adults. You’ll get through the baby stage, where the only communication is screaming until you respond to the right need. You’ll go through the toddler phase, where their words aren't quite there yet, so you’ll have to decipher the tantrums they throw to understand what they mean. You’ll get to the inquisitive child phase, where they ask awkward questions about where babies come from. This is where you have to decide being honest and being age-appropriate, and if you think that the two go hand in hand, you’re not there yet!

You then get to the pre-teen stage of life, bordering on their teen years. These are the most awkward years, and though they shouldn't be, you can remember how hard it was to ask your own parents questions about the body, boys and girls, sex and more. It’s the age where school is teaching your children a little more biology and they’ve worked out that YOU, their parents, have been having sex for years. It’s awkward.

The awkward conversations are the most difficult ones to have with your children, but with your teenagers who believe that they already know everything about the world? Those awkward conversations become even more difficult. The thing is, you are a parent. This comes with a territory and whether you want to or not, you have to have an awkward conversation or three. Or more if you’re the parent of a particularly awkward teenager. These conversations may feel like a mountain to climb, but with the right planning and the correct injection of humour, you can get through this!

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can sit your teenager down and get through those awkward - but necessary - topics.

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  • Choose Your Topic Wisely

You can’t just hit your teenager with a chat about their sexuality or needing Priority STD Testing if they’re having sex. You have to approach with caution pick your topic wisely. Is your teen approaching the age of legally being able to have sex? Well, a conversation has to happen but you need to understand the topic you’re going to talk about and how you can make it relevant. Clearly, if your teenager is discovering their own attraction to the opposite sex, you need a conversation about safe sex and all that comes with it. They may not want to sit down to talk about it, so you can always get some books that are easy to read, ask them to read through them and then talk them through the risks. The birds and the bees may be able to fly away, but you need to be present for this conversation!

  • Understand Why You Feel Awkward

There isn’t one parent in the world that finds discussing sex with the product of the own activities easy. However, unless you want to deal with underage sex and teenage pregnancy, you have to identify why you feel so awkward before you dive into this conversation. The likelihood is that your teenager is going to feel way more awkward than you do. Before you sit down together, get your own confidence up and rip off the Bandaid. 

  • Fill The Silences

There are two types of teenagers. The first is the one who will be inquisitive in the conversation you’re having and ask loads of questions. They’ll make a joke out of the situation and they’ll laugh with you at how awkward this conversation is. Then there is the second type, who will remain silent and simply grunt their way through the chat you’re having. You can handle this in a couple of ways. You can either choose to fill the silences and continue on as usual, just getting through the conversation and imparting all your worldly wisdom on STDs and the human body. Or, you can bag the conversation for a time they want to engage with it, it’s up to you.

  • Make It Fun

There is every chance that you are not going to find any of this awkward conversation funny. At all. However, you need to find the humour in the conversation, or it’s going to become decidedly unfunny. Keep the mood light, and do it while going for a walk or eating if you must. No matter what, this is a serious conversation - it just doesn't need to have an air of being serious!

  • Ask Questions

A big part of understanding how your teenager feels is going to be in asking the right questions. You want to make this a two-way conversation rather than a Lecture From Mom, and so you should talk about whether they are thinking about or having sex. Ask them how kids at school are approaching the whole “teenagers having sex” period of life and make it about someone else. You can ease into these awkward conversations, but they need to be discussed and that means that you need to ask as many questions as you can to understand them, too.

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  • Ask For Their Input

There will 100% be topics that your teenager wants to discuss but also doesn't want to talk about. They don't know how to broach the awkward stuff any more than you do. Ask them if they have questions, and warn them at the start of the conversation that you’ll expect some questions at the end. The harder conversations to have will bring you closer together as a family - believe it or not - and the more you ask now, the better!

  • Be As Understanding As You Can

If you broach the conversation of sex, sexuality and the body, you can bet that there will be things that you don’t want to hear, but you will! You need to go in with as much understanding as possible and without judgement. You are going to internally make your judgements and be shocked - just keep them internal. You are the parent here, so you need to make your teenager feel safe enough to talk to you about anything that comes up. Don’t lose that trust - let them talk to you and don’t judge, just guide.

  • Solve The Problem

If during your chats about sex and sexuality, yoru teenager makes a confession to you, ask them whether they want advice or just to vent. Then act accordingly. If they are willing to confide in you about something difficult for them, your conversation has gone from awkward to understanding to bonding. It’s all in how you handle what they’re telling you, and you have a chance to cement that relationship as one where your teenager can confide in you and you’ll help.

There is nothing more terrifying than having a conversation you or your teenager are not ready to have, and yet there are plenty you may never feel ready for. The key is to prepare yourself for this moment and you have around thirteen years before you have to be ready to talk to your kids about sex and protection. You’re going to talk about peer pressure, the pressure to have sex before their ready and you have to prepare them to be confident - to say no. There are so many opportunities to ensure that your child is comfortable and confident about what to do, and it starts with very many awkward conversations. There is no time to waste: preparation has to start now. Are you ready? Let’s go.

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