If you’re a parent, you probably love your kids very much.
They may be perfect angels when they’re young, but as teenagers, you might barely recognize them. They’re mostly acne and raging hormones at this point, but they’re not too far from adulthood.
There are some topics that, as a parent, you may not want to talk about with your teen. You might feel embarrassed about bringing these subjects up.
However, it’s far better that you speak to them about these topics rather than staying silent, so they’ll have to learn on their own.
Here are a few topics you should at least consider speaking about with your teenager before they’re out of the house.
The way some prior-generation parents handled “the sex talk” was not to have it. They let their kids fend for themselves in this regard. However, at a minimum, you should talk to your kids about:
- Pregnancy and STD risks
- Using protection if they become sexually active
Consent age is one thing you should discuss with your teen. If they involve themselves with someone younger than them, they can unknowingly get themselves in trouble that way.
For instance, in Arizona, if your child turns eighteen, they can no longer have sexual contact with an individual under fifteen. The law considers that child molestation, and your teenager will face a minimum ten-year jail term if this occurs and the police find out.
You should probably stay away from telling your teen they should have no sexual contact. Strict abstinence education doesn’t work, as many studies have shown.
It’s better to have a frank conversation with your teen. You can tell them they shouldn’t take things too far unless they’re certain both they and the other person are ready, and if they move forward, they should always use protection.
You should definitely talk to your teen about drugs. At a minimum, you should speak to them about:
You might ask them if they have any questions for you. You can talk about your own drug experiences if you’ve had any.
You can talk about alcohol dangers, such as drinking and driving. If there’s alcoholism in your family, you should mention that.
If weed is legal in your state, you should speak to them about that as well. You might talk about using it in moderation and how abusing it can rob them of their motivation.
If they want to talk to you about other drugs, like acid, MDMA, mushrooms, etc., answer the questions as honestly as you can. If you don’t really know much about those topics, tell your teen that. There is no harm in you both doing some research and finding out some particular drug facts together.
You will also want to talk to your child about their education choices beyond high school. You should certainly encourage them to finish high school, but you should probably tell them to go to college as well if they have the grades for it.
There are some instances where a teen might decide not to go to college, but if they don’t want to go in that direction, you should ask them about their plans. If they have another strategy, like going to a trade school or starting a career where they don’t need a degree, that might be okay.
You should tell them, though, that if they can get an accredited university degree, they will have many more options open to them, and they have a better chance of making more money. If you have the cash to help them with college, that’s great, but if not, you can speak to them about student loans, scholarships, and government grants.
There are plenty of other topics your teen might want to speak about with you. They might want to talk about marriage and relationships, sexuality or gender issues, bullying, depression, or mental health issues, or just about anything else.
The best thing you can do is tell them at some point that they should feel free to talk to you about anything that comes into their head. If you have had personal experience with it, that makes you more of an authority, but there’s nothing wrong with talking about abstract topics.
You are their parent, but there is no reason you can’t be a friend to them too. Most teens need someone they can use as a sounding board sometimes, and you can fulfill that purpose.