Oral Sex & Smokin' Weed
How do you help a child that is having oral sex with everyone and smokin’ weed.
Teens & Drugs
Be clear about your values. Before you speak with your child about sexuality, think about what your values are. What do you believe? What does your faith tradition say? It is important to give your children factual information -- and to be very specific about how your beliefs either agree with or differ from science.
Talk about facts vs. beliefs. Sometimes, factual information can challenge a personal belief or what a faith community believes. This can provide an opportunity to make sure that your child both has accurate information and hears what your values are relating to it. It also provides an opportunity to explain that there are different beliefs in the community — that people are allowed to disagree with each other, and that differing views should be respected, as long as those views are based on ethics, responsibility, justice, equality and nonviolence.
Practice what you preach... Young people often find it confusing when parents talk about a value regarding sexuality and then act in a way that does not support that value. Some common values about sexuality and relationships that most people support include honesty, equality, responsibility, and respect for differences. Acting on your values and being a good role model are powerful messages for your children. On the other hand, your beliefs will not seem very important or valuable to your children if they don't see you respect and abide by them yourself.
But don't preach... Have a conversation with your children -- don't talk at them. Find out what they think and how they feel about sexuality and relationships. Then you will be able to share information and respond to questions in ways that will resonate with the belief system they are developing for themselves.
Encourage a sense of pride. All children deserve to be wanted and loved, and parents can reinforce this message. Let them know you are interested in what they think and how they feel about any topic, whether it is sexuality, school, religion, the future or whatever. When your children share feelings with you, praise them for it. Correct misinformation gently, and reinforce your values whenever possible.
Keep the conversation going. Too often, parents think they need to wait until they collect enough information and energy to be prepared to have "THE TALK" with their children. However, sexuality is a part of every person's life from the moment he or she is born. It is important, therefore, to start the conversation early, and to make it clear to your children that you are always willing to talk about sexuality -- whenever questions come up for them, or when a "teachable moment" occurs.
Keep your sense of humor! Sexuality, in most of its aspects, can be a joyful topic for discussion in the family.
Posted by Mark Hutten, M.A.