If you are the parent of a sexually curious teen you might find yourself feeling a lot of anxiety thinking about the possible repercussions of their actions. Every day is a minefield, and everything your teen does feels risky or deceptive. You might wait up at night wondering what your teen is doing, where they are, who they are with. You may feel a need to search their phone or computer compulsively, scared of what you might find. It isn’t easy to be the parent of a sexually curious teen, and your life may completely lack what you desperately need: peace.
There are answers for you. You can find inner peace and confidence, despite the choices your teen is making (or that you fear they may make). Finding peace as a parent is important for your mental health and emotional well-being, and it will positively affect your teen as well. Try these three ways to find and increase your inner peace and bring some balance to your family.
- Have a 100% open and frank conversation with your teen. You have probably tried to talk to your teen about this is in the past, but maybe beating around the bush or only addressing a specific problem at hand – such as catching them doing something inappropriate or lying about where they were. Instead, find some time with your teen that is completely uninterrupted and not triggered by anything they’ve done. Calmly tell them about all of your fears and concerns. Discuss truths with them, such as teen pregnancy, STDs, rape and sexual assault, and the dangers of pornography (helpful infographic here). You can’t make them listen, but you can put it all out there and trust that you’ve done your best.
- Create clear boundaries and consequences – and stick to them. You may need to adjust whatever system you’ve been using in order to get results. Decide what your boundaries and rules are for curfew, friends of the opposite gender, internet and phone use, and any other areas of concern. Lay out consequences for both good and bad behavior. Then, no matter how difficult, stick to your system. It can be hard at first but using discipline will help you achieve more inner peace despite your troubled teen’s choices.
- Ask for help when you need it. The hardest part about parenting a sexually curious teen is knowing when to say when. There comes a point at which you can no longer help them, and more serious intervention is needed. If you suspect that you have done everything you possibly can, but the situation is getting out of hand you can find help. How do you know when your teens sexual curiosity is abnormal? If you notice a serious detrimental change to their behavior, any kind of sexual criminal activity or other teen sexuality warning signs that may indicate a need for professional help.