Talking Sex and Consent with Teens
Discussing consent with teenagers is an ongoing process.
When discussing consent with teenagers, it's important for parents to approach the conversation with sensitivity, openness, and a focus on fostering healthy relationships. Here are some guidelines to help you have this important conversation:
Start early: Begin discussing the concept of consent at an early age, emphasizing the importance of respecting others' boundaries and autonomy. Use age-appropriate language and examples to help them understand the concept.
Define consent: Clearly explain what consent means – that it is a voluntary, enthusiastic, and ongoing agreement between all parties involved in any type of sexual activity. Emphasize that consent must be given freely and can be withdrawn at any time.
Discuss boundaries: Encourage your teenager to establish personal boundaries and communicate them clearly to others. Help them understand that their boundaries should always be respected and that they should respect others' boundaries as well.
Teach active communication: Emphasize the importance of open and honest communication in all relationships. Encourage your teenager to express their desires, concerns, and limits, and remind them to actively listen to their partner's communication as well.
Talk about non-verbal cues: Teach your teenager to recognize and respect non-verbal cues that indicate discomfort or a lack of consent. Help them understand the importance of paying attention to body language and emotional cues.
Consent is ongoing: Emphasize that consent is an ongoing process throughout any sexual activity. Remind your teenager that just because someone has given consent once does not mean it is automatically given for future encounters.
Address peer pressure: Discuss the influence of peer pressure on consent and the importance of standing up against it. Teach your teenager to support their friends in making responsible and consensual choices.
Discuss media influences: Talk about the portrayal of relationships and consent in the media. Help your teenager critically analyze media messages and understand that real-life relationships should be based on mutual respect and consent, rather than harmful stereotypes.
Encourage questions and dialogue: Create an environment where your teenager feels comfortable asking questions and discussing their thoughts and concerns about consent. Promote an ongoing dialogue and assure them that you are there to support them.
Be a role model: Model healthy boundaries, communication, and respect in your own relationships. Your actions and behaviours serve as powerful examples for your teenager to follow.
Remember, discussing consent with teenagers is an ongoing process. Maintain open lines of communication, listen to their perspectives, and provide guidance and support as they navigate relationships and understand the importance of consent in their lives.