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Getting Your Kids To Have "The Talk" With You

Want an open, honest relationship with your teenager? Better start listening.

A new study from Ohio State University finds that high school students who trust their parents are more likely to keep Mom and Dad informed about their private lives. Duh.

Overall, teenagers are secretive about their budding sexuality: most teens try to hide what they’re up to from parental supervision or meddling. Parents, on the other hand, are eager to know what their kids are doing.

The study found that asking pointed questions about sex gets little response from teens. Most parents throughout history have probably encountered the same wall of silence.

If, on the other hand, you have an ongoing, open communication with your kids about the details of their day-to-day lives, they’re more likely to divulge when they start dating, who they’re seeing and what they’re doing with their new sweetie.

That makes teenagers not that different from the rest of us. I don’t tell the intimate details of my life to random strangers, I share them with my close friends.

Being your kids confidante isn’t easy, though. It starts when they’re young. For most of us, that means today. Listen to your kids, and offer honest answers to their questions. Make yourself a safe person to share their feelings and worries with, and you’ll get to hear more of those feelings and worries as they continue to grow.

Being Mom helps, too. The same study that found kids open up when they trust parents also noted that Moms hear more about their kids’ adventures with sex and dating than dads do, regardless of the gender of the kid.

How do you listen to your kids?

Photo: Ava Lowery

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