For decades, parents have struggled with having the sex talk with their children. But there’s a major difference between our society today and ten years ago. Today, children and teens gain much more exposure to sex through media, the internet, and social interactions. Whether it’s from peers at school or people in the community, youth today are exposed to many things that raise questions of curiosity.
Having answers to these questions, and feeling open and well-informed when your child or teen asks is something every parent and caregiver hopes for. But let’s face it, having the sex talk with your kids is easier said than done.
Thoughts that keep parents from having the Sex Talk with their kids:
- My kid doesn’t want to hear this from me!
- My child won’t listen to me!
- How do I know the right thing to say and how to say it?
- What if I don’t have all of the answers to their questions?
- Or worse… what if my kid knows more than I do!
- How can I keep an open mind if I’m struggling with my own biases?
- What if my child is too uncomfortable to talk to me about sex? What if I’m too uncomfortable too?
This is part of the advanced training that Lauren Allen, MSW and therapist at Partners in Health and Wellbeing has received. Lauren received training from Widener University’s Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative to become a certified Askable Adult.
So, what exactly is an Askable Adult?
A certified Askable Adult is someone who can effectively communicate with youth, ages five and up, about topics of sexuality, in a culturally and developmentally appropriate way.
The topics of focus include:
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Identity
- Reproductive Health
When having the sex talk with youth, understanding the concepts of framing and the power of language is important due to the role it plays.
What is framing, and how is it related to communication?
Framing looks at our mental processing and how it structures the way we see the world. The power of language is connected to framing, because our thoughts are conveyed through what we say and how we say it. Bringing these two ideas together and talking about sexuality is often why these tough, but important conversations aren’t happening at home.
How can a certified Askable Adult therapist help?
Certified Askable Adults are helpful to young adults, because typically schools teach youth about reproductive health, STI’s, and contraception. This leaves out many other areas of sexuality, including the topics noted above, as well as sensitive issues like rape and molestation, and the feelings and questions regarding sexuality. In addition, kids often receive inaccurate information from their peers.
As a therapist at Partners in Health and Wellbeing and a certified Askable Adult, Lauren not only helps adolescents with emotional dysregulation, depression, parent-child relational problems and school issues, but also provides a safe place for them to talk about sex-related topics, that sex ed and peers often leave out.
The next step to get help
We know that youth have more exposure to sex with today’s internet and social media, and that it’s more important than ever for them to have an adult who they’re comfortable talking with. We also know how hard and uncomfortable it is for parents to have the sex talk with their children at home.
There is support for your adolescent or teen when they need someone to open up to. By taking your child to a therapist and certified Askable Adult like Lauren Allen, you can provide your child with a safe place to ask questions, get reliable information, and work through any emotions that they’re facing.
You can schedule an appointment at Partners in Health and Wellbeing by calling (302) 655-2627, or clicking here.