Being a professional life coach for teens has its benefits and challenges. Frankly, most of the benefits come from my wonderful adolescent clients. Ironically, the biggest challenges come from my own teenage children. My oldest daughter is a senior in high school, and when it came to the “sex talk” I was told that I was not the appropriate parent. Even though I had numerous conversations time and again with other teens, it was clear that I wasn’t allowed to speak with her about this topic. I was given the reasons, relinquished that role and was promised an appropriate conversation would take place.
My son was a different story and I made sure I was an integral component of that conversation. When it was time for the “sex talk” at the beginning of his freshman year, I planned my strategy very carefully. There were times when I had brief conversations with him during middle school, but for the official “talk” I wanted to make sure my son had a positive and worthwhile experience. I knew it would be uncomfortable and awkward and wanted to make sure the environment was conducive to this conversation. I also wanted to ensure that we could have the necessary privacy to address the concerns, questions, and comments without distractions. In addition, I wanted to make sure I communicated my values and expectations with the possible choices facing him down the road. Here’s how I handled the conversation:
It was a weekday morning and I had just finished speaking to a group of middle school students. I allowed my son to spend the day with me because I was both visiting a school, as well as being interviewed for a local TV news show. He wanted to come with me to the studio and he expressed interest in my speaking.
I was a little concerned about him missing class, but I decided to use this time to have the “sex talk” conversation with him to ensure he had a learning experience regardless of not being in school. The day before I went to the pharmacy and purchased a cheap and basic box of condoms. I figured it was important to be able to have a ‘hands-on’ discussion to ensure I was able to communicate and express my words effectively.
We walked to the car following my presentation and we talked about the interview and remarks to the students. When we got to the car, we sat down and we headed back to my office. As I entered onto the highway, I reached under my seat and placed the box of condoms on his lap. The look of freight was priceless, and then his face flushed as his awareness of the situation became clear with the ensuing “sex talk” conversation. The first thing he said was, “Dad, please no. Not now. Do we have to have this talk now? I know all about this stuff.” I simply acknowledged his discomfort and told him it was important for me to have this conversation at this time.