FOR TRUSTED ADULTS

Parents and trusted adults matter. Teens consistently say that parents – not peers, partners or current culture – most influence their decisions surrounding relationships and sex. We know that when parents talk early and often about sex with their children and have age-appropriate conversations, that kids are more likely to make healthy decisions regarding relationships, love and sex. Here are some great resources that can help you start and continue these conversations with the young people in your life.

Talking tips for trusted adults

  • Start early and repeat, repeat and repeat
  • Look for teachable moments and don’t be afraid to bring them up
  • Use correct terminology for body parts
  • Be honest. It’s okay not to know, take this as an opportunity to learn together
  • Listen and don’t assume questions mean action

10 ways to talk to your teen about sexual health

1

Research shows that teens want to hear from their parents about love and healthy relationships.

2

Begin age-appropriate conversations early and continue talking to your child often. The one big “talk” isn’t enough to inform and educate your kids. Build a foundation of communication and trust at an early age.

3

Be an “askable” parent and be honest and open. If you don’t have all the answers, that’s okay. Find out the information together by reading books and reviewing helpful websites. Sometimes, your children just want to listen.

4

Let your kids know that healthy relationships include trust, respect, and kindness.

5

Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes. Be sure to share these values with your children.

6

Establish rules such as curfew, standards of expected behavior, and respectful communication.

7

Help your teenager explore options for the future. Help them set meaningful goals, and talk to them about what it will take to make those plans come true.

8

Take the opportunity to talk to your kids about sex and healthy relationships through everyday moments. Know what your kids are watching, reading, and listening to. There are dozens of messages about love and sex all around us – take advantage of these to start a conversation.

9

Help your teenager think of key features and attributes they want in a significant other and in a relationship. Take time to talk about positive relationship role models (if age appropriate). Teens want to be proud of who they are dating and feel confident introducing you to them.

10

Remember, when teens are able to talk with a parent or other caring adult about sex, they are less likely to engage in early and/or unprotected sex.

Consent

Confused about how to start the conversation about consent? Check out our Consent Conversation Starter and learn how to navigate talking about consent in an age-appropriate way.

Sex Ed Booklist

Talking about sex, puberty, love, and relationships should be a series of conversations throughout a child’s lifespan. Check out our book list for age-appropriate sexual education. We encourage parents and trusted adults to read through any of the following books before reading to your child(ren) to make sure its contents align with your personal/familial values. Some of the books may have been written before 2005 and, therefore, may not contain inclusive material. As more inclusive reads become available, we will update this page to reflect those changes.

Sexual Health Resource Guide

Need more detailed information on sexual health and access to services? Check out Thrive’s Sexual Health Resource Guide.

Parents of LGBTQ+ Teens

LGBTQ+ Educational Resources

Additional Resources

These are some of Thrive’s favorite resources geared specifically toward parents and trusted adults:

Join our movement!