Hudson Valley Parent

HVP January 2019

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Page 18 of 35 n Hudson Valley Parent 19 A series answering parents' toughest questions when raising a teen Keep the conversation going. See the complete article and get tips to help raise your teens at Dr. Paul Schwartz Professor of psychology and education Patrice Athanasidy Mother of three from Westchester Talking about sex is not a one-shot deal, but rather an ongoing series of discussions. Start discussions about sex and intimacy early. Encourage your children to ask questions about anything that they might find confusing. Talking to your child about sex can be embarrassing and is usually an awkward conversation to initiate. Try to keep in mind that talking openly and honestly about sex means that you are potentially avoiding the multitude of problems uninformed kids have when they become sexually active. Be calm and avoid scare tactics. Sex isn't something to be afraid of, it's something to understand. Open, healthy and honest conversations help to provide your child with good decision-making skills about sex. I have two teens and one just beginning her twenties. My 17-year- old son is on the autism spectrum. Conversations with him are always tricky when they get personal because he gets very shy when he talks about his feelings. I use his sisters as examples and we talk about respect and safety. With him, conversations are short and handled a little at a time. My daughters are 15-years-old and 20-years-old. We have talked about relationships, respect, safety, health issues, pregnancy and more since middle school. I often use topics from the news or their health classes as ways to begin. It's most important to me that my teens feel safe to talk with me. I constantly make it clear that their safety comes before my judgement. How do I talk to my teen about sex?

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