North Star Youth Partnership

North Star Youth Partnership engages youth ages 11-18 through educational, recreational, leadership and service-learning opportunities. What started in 1997 as an educational program to prevent adolescent pregnancy in Yavapai County has expanded to 11 different programs serving youth in Central and Northern Arizona.

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

How to Talk to Your Child About Abstinence

Teens today have a powerful tool at their disposal that past generations never had—the internet. They can get an answer to any question they have, including questions about sex. However, being tech-savvy will not protect teens from misinformation about sex.

Ensure Your Teen Knows the Facts

That's why it’s important that you talk to your teen about sex and the benefits of abstinence. Although it may seem uncomfortable, having “the talk” will help your teen understand the seriousness of sex and make responsible decisions.

It’s normal for parents to feel unsure about how to approach this topic with their teens. To get some insight, North Star Youth Partnership Health Educator Tia Awumah asked her students how they would prefer their parents talk to them about sex. North Star Youth Partnership is a program of Catholic Charities that empowers youth ages 11-18 through educational, recreational, leadership, and service-learning opportunities.

What Teens Expect from Parents

Tia found that students wanted parents to avoid making “the talk” awkward. They preferred for parents to bring up the topic at an appropriate place and time. They also said that they’d like honest responses to their questions and to be treated with maturity.

If you’re not sure how to start talking to your teen about sex, here are some tips to help:

  1. Approach the conversation in a way that makes you feel comfortable. If you go into the conversation visibly uncomfortable, your child will likely recognize it, feel uncomfortable, and shut down.
  2. Let the topic come up as naturally as possible. For example, if you and your teen are watching a tv show or movie that mentions sex, use this as an opportunity to start a conversation.
  3. Be open to questions and be ready to answer to the best of your ability. If you want your child to be open and honest, reciprocate the openness and honesty. Parents are often afraid to share their personal mistakes with their teens, but this can help build a level of trust.
  4. Remember that there are countless other parents figuring out how to have this conversation. Videos and other online resources are a great way to find support and make “the talk” less scary for you and your child.

Most teens state they’re more curious about the knowledge of sex rather than the act itself. Although some teens are having sex, don’t immediately accuse your teen of having sex if they bring up the topic. Remind yourself that you were once in their shoes and try to remember what that felt like.

Help North Star Make an Impact

If you’d like to support North Star’s work on abstinence and empowering youth to be their best selves, donating items from our Amazon Charity List helps ensure our students succeed in class and in life.

Tiauna Awumah is a Health Educator with North Star Youth Partnership. She has worked with youth in Arizona for almost four years. Tiauna has a master’s in psychology with an emphasis on life coaching from Grand Canyon University.

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