Adolescence can be tough enough to get through without questions of sex, sexuality, and sexual identity, however teens are humans, too, no matter how much they may perplex their parents as to why they are the way they are sometimes.

At some point in every parent’s life, you will need to talk with your teen about sexual development, sexual desire, and the nature of developing sexual identity. Many parents may be shy about talking to their kids about these things, but talking about them can help keep your teen safe and well informed, and foster a sense of trust—if done the right way and in a way that is respectful, open and honest.

Some tips:

Be honest. If you are uncomfortable, say so, but explain that it is important to keep talking. If you don’t know how to answer your teen’s questions, offer to find answers on them or look them up together.
Be direct. Clearly state how you feel about specific issues. Present the risks objectively, including emotional pain, STI and STDs and unplanned pregnancy.
Consider your teen’s viewpoint. Don’t lecture your teen or rely on scare tactics to discourage sexual behavior. Listen to their concerns and opinions, and understand the pressures they face and their challenges and concerns with the topic.
Inform your teen about the importance of consent!

For more tips and information on how to talk with your teens about these sensitive subjects, click here.