When’s the Best Time to Have “The Talk?”
If she’s a teenager and you haven’t had it yet, you’re way overdue.
But it’s not too late to start NOW!
And I’m here to help with the first post of my annual Let’s Talk Teens series.
If you recall, last year I invited clinical psychologist, Dr. Alduan Tartt to talk about issues impacting teen girls, such as fatherlessness and peer relationships.
This year, in addition to this post, I’ll be taking you inside the world of teens to talk about:
- why teen girls rebel,
- why many girls today are so stressed out,
- and how to prepare your daughter for healthy dating.
But first, let’s talk “The Talk.”
If you also have younger children, today’s post will help you get up to speed with your teen daughter, and give you a head start with your younger kids.
The “Right” Time is Right NOW!
Moms often ask me when is the “right” time to talk about sex.
Should they wait until their daughters start asking about it?
Or wait until they start their first menstrual cycle?
The answer is: “No and No.”
“My mother does not talk to me about stuff like this because she feels like it’s a place and time for that and the time is not NOW. My dad does not talk to me about stuff like this either…”
Why? Because with today’s culture and popular media, kids are exposed to the topic much earlier (on the bus, school, computer, media).
Which means chances are their daughters will have already been educated about sex from sources that don’t necessarily have their best interests at heart.
So, the right time to have “The Talk” is BEFORE they need it.
If you have a daughter who’s a pre-teen, start talking to her about relationships, confidence, self-love, self-respect, etc. before discussing sex.
It will be much less awkward. And those conversations can happen at very early ages (in an age-appropriate way of course).
When she’s playing with her friends and she’s not being treated in a respectful manner, call that out.
Unfortunately, many of the shows on Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel showcase girls who are obsessed with being in a relationship.
Talk about that.
When you notice that she’s having issues with her self-esteem (which many girls have told me starts to happen around 3rd grade), talk about that.
Help her build her confidence by enrolling her in extracurricular activities.
My nieces and nephews often tell me that they’re going to send their daughters to spend the summer with me when they turn 11 or 12 years old.
They say it’s so I can make sure their daughters NEVER make poor choices about sex.
Although I’m flattered that they think I’m THAT good, I remind them that they have more influence on their daughters’ choices than I do.
One of my nephew’s daughters is very involved in softball, with practice several times a week and games on most Saturdays.
She excels on the field.
Besides being too busy to be obsessed with getting a boyfriend, she’s not seeking validation through a relationship because she gets it via sports.
Which goes to show there’s more to having “The Talk” than just talking about sex.
Still, if some conversation about sex hasn’t taken place by the time kids get to middle school, that could be a problem.
“Thank you for coming and talking to us about sex and all that. My parents never bring it up and I never really knew what was right or what was wrong. I always saw my virginity as a burden in my relationship.” ~8th-grade girl
A Better Approach
When it comes to “The Talk,” parents often choose between one of two extremes: saying nothing or making it seem like ALL guys are bad.
Both approaches have their issues. I already outlined what those are with the “say nothing” approach earlier.
“You are the first person who talked to me about sex. I am 17 years old and didn’t know nothing about sex…My mom should have talked to me about sex. I wouldn’t be having sex with my ex-boyfriend. We were having sex when we were going out. After we broke up, four months later I had sex with this other guy I met. I regret having sex.”
And the problem with making daughters believe that ALL guys are bad is that they aren’t.
Then what happens when your daughter meets the guy who isn’t like you described?
He’s kind, trustworthy, charming, “the good guy,” yet he still asks for sex.
The reality? Your daughter has a much greater chance of having sex with that guy than she does the “player.”
That’s why it’s much more effective to teach your daughter about what it means when someone really loves her than warning her about ALL guys being the devil (i.e. all they want is to get in your pants, you can’t trust them, etc.).
And you can do that NOW, no matter how old your daughter is.
Additional age-appropriate tips I recommend for having “The Talk” with your daughter include:
- Talking to her about managing her feelings as well as her hormones.
- Making sure she understands what it means to be confident and what that looks like.
- Making sure she knows her value and loves herself.
- Encouraging her to focus more on establishing friendships than relationships, as I did in last week’s post.
Have you tried any of these tips with your daughter before? If so, how old was she at the time and how did it help her?
If not, which one will you commit to trying out with your daughter? Let me know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.
And if the thought of having “The Talk” with your daughter makes you nervous, you’re not alone.
You want to protect your daughter’s innocence, but the culture is so pervasive that you can’t put it off any longer or avoid it all together.
**Please note: Just like a flight attendant would instruct you to do before taking flight, l strongly encourage you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then your daughter before having “The Talk.”
And I have just the right “oxygen mask” for you each of you:
- The Sex Talk Every Parent Needs to Have DVD – a step by step guide that takes you from not knowing what to say to engaging your daughter in open and honest conversations about love, sex, and relationships. Without a lot of the awkwardness that you both dread.
- The Sex Talk Every Teen Girl Needs to Hear DVD – a “real talk” discussion that educates your daughter about the benefits of delayed gratification, equips her to identify the risks of teen sex, and empowers her to discover her “YES”—that dream she wants to achieve so badly that she won’t allow anyone or any choice to hinder her from realizing it.
The bottom line is: You don’t have to do this alone. Let’s start the conversation together!
P.S. Having “The Talk” with your daughter doesn’t have to be awkward. In fact, think of it as an opportunity to get to know each other better as you spend time communicating with one another about love, sex, and relationships (in an age-appropriate manner). If you haven’t already started, NOW is the right time! And there’s help.