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Talking to your teens about sexual responsibility

Teaching teens/rangatahi about relationships, sexuality and sexual health and responsibility encourages young people to think about their own values and make better decisions in their own relationships.

Are there benefits in talking to teens about relationships, sexuality, sexual health and responsibility?

Yes. Talking about the emotional aspects of a sexual relationship will help teenagers make better decisions in their own relationships.

It is helpful for young people to think about their own values about sex and sexuality and decide what they feel comfortable with before getting into a sexual situation. 

Teens need the skills to make good decisions about relationships and sex

Teens need the skills to make good decisions about relationships and sex and be able to stand up for those decisions, for example, know how to say no if that’s what they choose.

They also need to know how to talk with their partner about being sexually safe, including using contraception, when they’re ready for a sexual relationship. 

Young people want to enjoy their sexual experiences and have enough information and confidence to be safe. It is important they know where they can get help and support, and sexual and reproductive health services.

Teens also need skills to be able to recognise a situation that might become risky or violent and to deal with any pressure for unwanted sex.

What can I do to prepare for the conversation with my young person?

Before you start to talk with your teen, it is a good idea to know what you want to communicate and why.

Be open to learning from them and show them you are willing to really listen.

Don’t interrupt when they’re talking.

Avoid questions that can only be answered with a yes or no. Instead, invite them to give an opinion or explain what’s important to them.

Whenever possible, assure them that you will respect their confident and privacy. At the same time, ask them to respect yours. If you want to give them advice or guidance, explain the reasons.

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