For generations, parents have sat their children down to have the dreaded sex conversation. While it can be uncomfortable, having “the talk” is a necessary part of parenting. Discussing sex with your child can help them develop safe habits and healthy relationships. In addition to discussing the physical side of sex, you will want to talk about related activities such as sexting. You probably know what sexting is (and may have even tried it with your partner), but that doesn’t mean you want to talk about it or picture your child participating in this type of activity. However, sexting is common among teens today, and it’s important that you discuss it with them. If you don’t know what to say or how to address this topic, try the following tips for talking to teens about sexting.
Keep the Conversation Lighthearted
Embrace the awkwardness of the moment and joke about it a little bit. Hopefully, it will relax you and your child enough to talk openly. Approach your child with a smile instead of giving off a nervous vibe. You can also admit your nervousness and promise to get through this discussion as smoothly and comfortably as possible.
Make Sure Your Child Knows They Can Come to You
Your child may feel anxious about talking to you about sexting. Do not force information from the past, but offer your support if something does go wrong. Handling it alone can lead to irrational decisions and isolation. Promise your child they will not get in trouble if they need to talk to you about a situation with a romantic interest.
Explain the Ramifications
Sexting can very quickly turn into sex. If your child has unprotected sex, they may end up with an unplanned pregnancy before they can care for a child. There are also other complications that you need to address. Many states have laws in place that can punish children who sext. Not only can inappropriate pictures find their way around the locker room, but your child may end up the one in trouble. While this can seem unfair to some, your child needs to know what can happen. As teens get older, they will come across sexual situations that can quickly become overwhelming. Educate your child with the resource available through WFMC Health and show them that they have your support. If you have additional questions or concerns about your child’s health or safety, schedule an in-person or telehealth visit with a member of our medical team.