Part of teaching teens about their bodies and their sexuality is teaching them about alternative sexual orientations. You can do this by talking to your teen. While this is a step-by-step for one talk, be sure to broach the subject more often when you see it in the media or your teen has more questions.
Time Required: 30 minutes to one hour for first talk
- Talking about gay, lesbian and bisexual orientations with your teen may be uncomfortable. If so, share that with your teen and tell him/her that your nervousness will not stop you from talking or answering any questions that he/she has.
- Explain to your teen that there are different sexual orientations. Heterosexual is when a man or a woman is sexually attracted to the opposite sex. Homosexual is when a man or a woman is attracted to the same sex. Bisexual is when a man or a woman is attracted to both sexes.
- Make it clear to your teen that while men and women have sex with the same gender, this type of sex will not produce children but could still give someone a sexually transmitted disease.
- Teach tolerance. Tell your teen that according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, people who are homosexual have no choice. It is a part of who they are just like someone of heterosexual orientation.
- Explain further about gay bashing – mean talk and actions toward gays – and discrimination. Make it clear to your teen that your family does not tolerate any type of hate. Instill this family value as early as your child understands what gay means.
- Talk about homophobia, the fear of gays. Tell your teen that in every other way other than sexual orientation, homosexuals are the same. They have hopes, dreams, fears and feelings. They are people and need to be respected as such.
- If your teen asks, “Could I be gay?” Tell him/her that as he/she grows he/she will begin to have sexual feelings for other people, then he/she will know. Tell him/her not to worry, you love him/her and always will.
- Be sure to ask if your teen has any questions throughout the talk. Repeat to him/her that you are always there to ask questions.
- Do you talk to your teen about sex and his/her sexuality?
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Parenting Quizzes for Parents of Teens