Teens want to be close to others. Making good friends is a big part of the teen years. This includes having girlfriends and boyfriends. While many parents want their teens to wait to have sex, most teens are sexually active by the time they are 20. Hormones and chemicals in the brain (called neurotransmitters) affect teens’ sexual
growth and desires.
You Can Help Your Teen Have Healthy Relationships and Make Smart Decisions about Sex
• Talk about the changes to the body during the teen years. These changes are a healthy,
normal part of growing up.
• Let your teen ask you about love and sex. Be honest. If you don’t know something, say so.
Then fi nd out the answer. Teens who talk with their parents about sex are less likely to take
sexual risks. They are more likely to use condoms.
• Talk with your teen about waiting to have sex. And talk about birth control and condoms. Be sure
your teen knows where to go to get them. Talking about birth control and condoms won’t make
your teen go out and have sex.
• Rape is too common among teens. Make sure that your teen knows that she or he has the right
to say no. Make sure your teen knows that no means no. Make sure your teen knows what to do
and how to get help if she or he is raped or forced into any unwanted sexual activity.
• Your teen may want to talk about private things with someone else. This might be a doctor or nurse
or an aunt or a friend of yours. What you want is for your teen to be healthy and safe. So, say that it’s
okay for your teen to talk with someone else.