There are few times in a parent's life that one truly dreads. While there are some terrifying moments mixed into your child's life, nothing seems quite as awkward as having “The Talk”. This particular conversation is so awkward that most parents won't even discuss what it's actually about. Instead, they try to talk around the subject while telling other parents exactly how horrible it was for everyone involved.
Instead of putting yourself and your child through a horrifying conversation that helps no one, it's time to grow up. It's entirely possible for you to have the big sex talk with your child without making it awkward if you follow the advice below.
First and foremost, you need to calm down. You are both having this talk for a reason, and it's likely one that stems from a change in how you perceive your child. Perhaps you are having the talk because you think your child has reached an age where it is appropriate. Perhaps you think your child is sexually active, or will be soon. Regardless of what else is going on, emotions are probably high. Take a minute to calm yourself and to get ready for a rational conversation.
This is the toughest one for parents, because it requires taking down some walls that have largely been built up over the years. You might want to present yourself as a paragon of virtue, or as a person who knows everything, but you need to be as real with your teen as possible. Don't try to sound smarter than you are, and certainly don't try to use the slang your child might not understand. Instead, be truthful and sincere when you talk about what's going on. Don't talk around things, don't use metaphors, and certainly don't try to seem hip. The more real you are, the more seriously your child will take you.
If you have this talk correctly, your child is going to have questions. It's up to you to respond in a way that is both honest and understanding of their feelings. Don't make your teen feel embarrassed for talking to you about this, as he or she is probably already dealing with enough embarrassment. Answer questions when you can, and point your teen to other sources when you cannot. Do not judge, but rather impart information in a caring way. Even if your child believes differently than you, they must still feel that you are approachable.
Talk About Reality
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to talk about what can really happen. Even if you believe in abstinence before marriage, you must talk about real consequences. Talk about the physical and emotional aspects of sex, as well as what can happen afterwards. Talk about STIs and the emotional toll a sexual relationship can have on a person. Talk about pregnancy and make sure to discuss options like adoption services that pair unexpected parents with new families. The more information your child has, the better the decisions they can make.
How do you make “The Talk” less awkward? To put it simply, you make it less awkward by being less awkward. Be calm, be real, be honest, and be informative. Make sure your child knows what they need to know, not just what you want them to know. The way you conduct yourself during this talk will have a huge impact on your teen for the rest of their life, so don't mess things up. You have survived having “The Talk” with your own parents, so you can survive being in this position as well.