It’s inevitable that one day you will have to sit down with your teen and discuss STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). The question is when and how. Talking to teens about STDs can be uncomfortable for some, but it is critical that all parents tackle this topic with care, thought, and knowledge. Here are some tips on how to go about it.
While it’s true that teens rarely listen to advice, this is one time that you have to take a deep breath and begin the dialogue. It is recommended that you research all of the most common sexually transmitted diseases first. In this way, you will not trip over your words or offer information that is only half true.
Determine if your child has been taught any information in school about STDs and find out if there is anything he or she didn’t understand, or needs clarification on. Begin by asking what has been taught. If the teen understands, you are a one step ahead of the game.
Obtain as many pamphlets you can from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) or other organizations that have easy to understand information which you can impart to your teen as you read together. Then allow the teen to ask any question that might be lingering in their mind.
Talk openly and honestly with your teen. If there is a question posed you can’t answer or are unsure of, look it up and get back to the teen about it. Talk using words they can fully understand. As a parent, you can easily tell if a child has grasped what you are trying to say.
Explain as best you can the affects of the more common STDs and how they would affect your child later in life. Don’t try to explain everything in one night. Spread it out over a period of time so that the teen can comprehend the information given.
Finally, and most importantly, let your teen know that you are there for him or her in any eventuality. That he or she can come to you to ask any question, pose any problem, and search for answers together. That nothing would ever change the way you feel about your teen no matter what.
Sexually transmitted diseases are a serious topic and should be handled with the utmost care and forethought. Talking to teens about STDs can literally save their lives, and the sooner the information is provided the more knowledge they will have to make intelligent choices in their lives.