As a parent, it is essential that you start having adult conversations with your teens this year. It can be hard for a parent to discuss certain topics with their teens, but it is very important that these tough topics are addressed. There are three topics that you should be talking to your teen about this year.
Talk To Your Teen About Politics
As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your teen how to vote and how to evaluate a candidate. A parent will likely talk to their child about how often a car needs to have its oil changed (every 3,000 to 5,000 miles according to CarFax) but do not have conversations about politics and how our government works. You do not have to talk about specific party affiliation or about which candidate you are voting for. You can simply explain the process. How and where you go to vote, and how votes are tallied is a good place to start.
Your teen is very likely interested in learning more about political parties and what each group believes and fights for. They would also likely like to know how our system of government works. You can vote at 18. You can help your teen get prepared for that big milestone by discussing the process.
Sex and Consent
According to a recent study done by the University of Pennsylvania, 81% of teens polled have had at least one sexual partner by the time they are 18. This can be scary for a parent to hear, but if your child is between 16-18 years old it is highly probable that they are having sex. A frank conversation about consent and sex is critical.
According to AffirmativeConsentStandard.com, obtaining consent before and during sexual activity is a must. If either party is under the influence, the act must stop. If your teen is not mature enough to hear that affirmative consent is necessary every time they engage in any sexual activity, then they should be told they are not old enough to be having sex.
A parent should have conversations about affirmative consent with both male and female children. Both sexes need to take responsibility for how they navigate the world. It can be an uncomfortable adult conversation to have with your teens, but it is an extremely important one. You never want your kid to get caught up in a situation because no one tells them that they should be getting permission from their partner.
Let’s Talk About Drugs Honestly
Sex and drugs are two things that most parents do not feel comfortable about. Whether the fact is uncomfortable or not, a parent needs to have frank discussions with teens about drugs, including alcohol. A lot of parents enjoy an adult cocktail but never actually talk to their kids about safe levels of drinking. As a parent, your job is to provide information to your teens to help them make informed choices about drinking and drug use.
In a perfect world, kids would follow all the laws and rules. They would not break curfew, they would not drink underage, and they would not dabble in drugs. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, and teens make bad choices. Speaking openly about drugs and alcohol with teens is very important. You always want your teens to know that they can talk to you about anything, even if they make bad choices.
You should talk to your teen about what the marijuana law changes mean in your state. As more states are legalizing marijuana, it may seem to your teen that there are no dangers at all associated with marijuana. There are over 113 different cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, according to High Times Magazine. Many of the cannabinoids are sold over the counter in tobacco and vape stores. Your teen is likely to be exposed to these products at school, in stores, and in other places. Talk to them about it.
Being a parent is not easy. It can be really hard to talk about adult topics with your teen who seemingly was a toddler just last week. Give it a go this year and start discussing adult topics with your teen.