Do I have to Talk to my Parents?
Well, no, you don't have to do anything. You also don't haveto brush your teeth, get a job, or wear clothes out in public. But unless you want to end up as a slacker with a rotten smile who gets arrested at the mall, you probably should. Sometimes the thing that's best for us is the thing we least want to do. Ultimately, all decisions in life are your own to make, but gathering voices of wisdom about big choices can be pretty smart. Now you'd probably rather get the answers to your questions about sex and relationships from your friends, but let's face it, they may not be the best source of information. Parents, on the other hand, have a few distinct qualities that may qualify them to be your top choice for the 411. First of all, unless you were raised by wolves, parents are a part of a very select group of people who really have your best interests at heart. And secondly, they've actually had sex. (Scary, but true.) Considering these facts, let's move on tohow to talk to your parents about this very important area of your life.
Here are a few tough-conversation-starters for you...
THE "STRAIGHT-UP" If you feel confident enough about talking to your parents, you could just jump right in. "Can we talk? I have a question about...". This is very direct and gets the job done. Just try to pick the right time and place. Obviously starting this while they are running out to work or in a bad mood wouldn't be the wisest time.
THE "BACK DOOR" If the "straight-up" makes you feel like you're going to throw-up, you can try a more round-about approach. Use something you've heard or seen on TV to get the ball rolling. "I saw this show that has a character who got pregnant at fourteen. What do you think about that?" It also gives your parents an opportunity to express their views without feeling like they're lecturing.
THE "JUST WONDERING" This works well if even the "back-door" seems too direct. The "Just wondering" sounds like it is a fleeting thought that just entered your mind, instead of something you've been hashing over for months. "I wonder if someone can get pregnant the first time they have sex".
THE "HEARD IT AROUND SOMEWHERE" "I heard that..." "Some kids were talking about..." and "In Sex Ed class, they said that..." are all good starts to test out the waters of talking to your parents.
Now, a few things to keep in mind as you approach your parents on the important and delicate topic of sex:
Don't expect that they'll react the way you think. They may surprise you and be totally cool in talking about this. But they might also have a melt-down. Remember, your parents are people and they have a lot of history and opinions and reactions regarding this topic. Just be prepared that they may not understand where you're coming from and give them some slack.
If your parents have very different opinions than you, before you chalk it up to "old age," realize that they may have some valuable reasons for feeling the way they do. Just because you don't necessarily agree with everything they have to say, it doesn't automatically mean they're wrong.
Knowing exactly what you want to get out of the conversation with your parents will help the conversation flow. Do you want them to tell you basic sexual health information? Do you want them to share their expectations and values with you? Do you need a specific answer to a specific problem? If it doesn't flip you out to write these things down, making a list of questions or topics beforehand might help you organize your own thoughts.
If after all this, the thought of talking to your parents about sex still makes you feel like you want hide in your bed until you're 21, chill. Do you have to talk to your parents? No. But you should talk to someone. Another family member, a trusted adult, a school official, or a pastor are all good choices. Gather those voices of wisdom. You'll be glad you did.