Is it your opinion that if you talk to your adolescent about sexual topics, it might encourage them to try it out? I have heard this argument frequently from parents, but I have a different perspective.
Recently, a small group of high school girls were helping me with different concepts I’m develop in a new book called I’m a Girl, Sexual Maturity. The book is recommended for girls 15 years and up. There will also be a similar book for boys. After we talked about the sexually transmitted diseases (STD) section of the book, the girls explained to me that they knew nothing about STDs until our discussion. They said they thought the reason their parents didn’t talk to them about these issues is because they don’t want them to start thinking about sex. But they all agreed: they are thinking about sex, even without the conversations!
My opinion comes out of an understanding of the biology. Let’s think about why your adolescent goes through puberty. The purpose is for their reproductive system to mature. The brain directs the maturing process that prepares your son’s and daughter’s reproductive system so that one day they can help make a baby. I realize that is exactly what you are concerned about, but let’s talk about the rest of the story.
Our body is programmed for us to want to bring children into the world so that there can be more of us. Within the brain are sexual centers that encourage baby-making thoughts and feelings. As your adolescent is maturing during puberty, this part of their brain is also maturing. It’s biological. Their sexual biological clocks start ticking as they enter puberty and there is really no way to turn the clock back or to stop it.
I suggest you take the initiative to help your adolescent become increasingly more informed as their brains are developing. While they are still in puberty, have small talks with them every few weeks. These talks don’t have to be long; less than a few minutes is fine. Just bring up one small topic that helps them know you understand they are maturing and you would like to help guide them through this important time in their life.
A couple of examples of a small topic for a 12-year old:
- Did you know that your body is programmed for you to have sexual feelings that start to happen during puberty? This is normal.
- Did you know that the reason you go through puberty is so your reproductive organs can mature? Puberty is only going to last a few years and then you will be sexually mature and can help make a baby.
Don’t expect them to answer or ask you additional questions. But you can be assured, they are listening and learning from you. And you’re helping them feel comfortable coming to you when they do have questions in the future.
There are many small conversations you can have. Take advantage of these years in your adolescent’s life to be a guide for them as they wrestle with the new feelings and thoughts that go with a maturing reproductive system.