I am having frequent arguments with my partner as to how to teach our teenage daughter about sex and intimacy. Recently she mentioned to me that she was asked out by a boy from school. She asked me whether it was okay that she turned him down. I know I must accept that my little girl is growing up. I want my daughter to know how to take care of herself and I want to make sure that she is as knowledgeable as possible about how to be safe and to make the right choices. My husband however, feels that it is vulgar to discuss this issue openly with her and that she does not need to be aware of such things.
It is true that my daughter is still young, yet some of her friends have boyfriends already and my son mentioned today that he heard one of her close friends has become pregnant. Whilst I trust my daughter completely, I worry that she is very naïve and not prepared enough to deal with the peer pressure around her.
How do I best approach my daughter about this so that she feels comfortable enough to talk to me and how am I able to appease my husband who now refuses to talk to me at all on the matter?
Thank you for your help,
You have raised a very important topic.
It can be very tough when parents have differing view-points and it reads as though you feel to be caught within an impossible position. However, as a couple, your daughter’s well-being is your main priority, which includes sexual education. The goal here is to ensure that your daughter respects herself and her body and is well equipped to take care of herself if faced with any threatening situations moving forwards. If only we lived in a world where we did not have to worry about peer pressure or rape or sexually transmitted diseases. The real world can be a tough place and it is vital that you are able to have an open conversation with your daughter about crucial areas that she may not be learning about in the classroom.
What it means to say no to sexual advances
No means no. There is no grey area. It is important to discuss peer pressure and the fact that it is okay for your daughter to choose not do what her friends are doing. I am glad to hear that your daughter confided in you about this as she needs to understand that she has a right to say no. She has a right to say no to anybody, at any time. Even if one day she marries, she still has a right to say no then as well. State the message loud and clear, that throughout her entire life, she has a right to say no.
How to best avoid potentially dangerous situations.
A conversation about hyper-awareness and how this relates to your daughter’s personal safety is a must. For example, discussions about why she should avoid travelling alone at night or in remote areas. Why when walking alone, she should be aware of her surroundings and try not to listen to music as this can be a distraction. She needs to be able to see and hear who is around her at all times. Other examples are keeping car doors locked when driving or checking the back seat of her car before she enters the vehicle. Locking her doors and windows day and night and not answering the door to strangers if she is alone in the house. The dangers of drinking or drugs is another key topic, particularly relevant here is discussing the importance of her safety in respect to being in control of her senses and monitoring her drinks. The aim here is to ensure that your daughter is aware of the risks inherent to being out and about in the world.
Be safe and trust in your intuition
When your daughter finally does meet somebody that shares a mutual trust, love and care and when she feels ready to be intimate with her partner, she should always use protection. Discussing the danger of sexually transmitted diseases and of pregnancy is essential but also is noting how your daughter must have respect for her body. Are there any questions that your daughter has about the physical act of sex? If so, answer them. That said, it is important to note that sex is not a purely physical matter, but an act of intimacy that encompasses your daughter’s emotional needs as well.
Is there anything you want to ask me that you are unsure about?
Make it clear to your daughter that she can come to you with questions whenever she wants. Reiterate that there is nothing that she cannot ask you.
Perhaps expressing these conversation points to your husband will enable him to see that sexual education is not some sordid or explicit chit chat, but rather a vital and necessary issue for your daughter’s safety now and continuing on throughout her adult life. This by the way, is also a conversation to be had with your son, for all of these topics apply to him as well.
If your husband upholds his disagreement with you and is unrelenting, it may be helpful to have some couples counselling so that you are able to explore this further within a supportive space.
Ultimately this is about your children’s safety and capacity to implement self-care and establish informed views about sex. This conversation will be beneficial not only to them but to you as well, in knowing that your children are prepared for the world and the sometimes harsh realities of life.
Wishing you peace of mind Anais,
Take good care,
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