How to talk to your teens about sex and relationships - KMSP-TV

How to talk to your teens about sex and relationships

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With prom right around the corner, NOW is the time to talk to your teens about healthy relationships and sex. Sound scary? Adrienne C. Laursen, LMFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Fox 9 Relationship Expert, and owner of The Engagement Coach, gives helpful tips for discussing these anxiety-provoking topics at home with your teen/tween.

Step 1: Talk about what a "healthy" AND "unhealthy" relationship looks like.

Adults have a difficult time figuring this one out, so don't expect your teen to know how to choose the right relationship without any guidance.

- Ask your teen what's important to them in a significant relationship.

- Ask them to define what they think constitutes a healthy vs. unhealthy relationship. {make sure you know the difference too}

- What do they observe with their friends… which ones appear to have a good relationship and why?

- Talk about the influence of movies, magazine and Hollywood on our perception of love and relationships.

- Instill self-confidence in selecting healthy relationships by showing and telling your teen they're worthy, special, loved, smart, and beautiful! Even if they don't act like they hear it, they do. And keep telling them how important they are… trust me, it sinks in if it's said often enough!

Step 2: Talk about sex {often}!

- Make sure YOU are comfortable talking about sex BEFORE you engage your teen.

- Don't be vague about your feelings.

- Know your information, plan for what you want to cover, and practice possible roadblocks ahead of time.

- Be a good listener. Your teen needs to feel heard and understand for this conversation to sink in and hold any merit.

- Help your teen consider both the pros and the cons of being sexually active.

- Talk about sexual pressures from peers, and strategies for handling those pressures.

- Make your teen aware of the long-term effects on their self-esteem, self-confidence and reputation if they choose to be sexually active as a teen.

- Reinforce the importance of love, trust and respect in a healthy sexual relationship.

- Don't be afraid to discuss detailed information. If they can't talk to you about the details, guess where they're getting their information?!

- Plan to revisit this topic frequently, and set the next date and time at the end of your first meeting.

For more information on Adrienne's counseling services and free relationship tips, please visit her website at

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