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How to Talk to Children About Being Sexually Active


My 14-year-old daughter announced that she intends to have sex with her boyfriend and that there is nothing I can do to stop her. I do not want her to do this, but she won’t listen to me. I am a single mother and feel like I am losing control of my daughter. I have tried talking with her, and I have grounded her. She has seen a few counselors, but she has made up her mind about having sex with her boyfriend. I keep a close eye on her and limit her opportunities to follow through on her intentions, but I know I can’t control her environment at school or when she is with her friends.


It sounds like your daughter is testing her limits and seeing how far she can push you. As parents we cannot control our children; that is not our role. Often, the more we try the more we fail and are frustrated.

Our primary role is that of a teacher. We teach them skills, such as respecting authority, following instructions and accepting consequences, because these are life skills that we use on a daily basis.

When our children kids make poor choices and do not use the skills we have taught, we must issue a consequence and re-teach the skill. This hopefully sends the message that poor choices result in negative consequences, and thus it is important to think of the consequences of our choices before acting. Doing the right thing is something that they must choose.

You mentioned that you have spoken to your daughter about the consequences of sexual activity. That is great! Knowledge is power. She must be made aware of the risks involved with such behavior at an early age. This is a very important decision that your daughter is making.

Rather than having her shut you out, you want to be a part of it. So instead of telling your daughter what she should not do, talk to her about what she should do. Talk to her about what it means to be in a healthy relationship.  Hopefully she will start to assess whether or not her relationship resembles a healthy one and whether she is ready for this level of intensity.

You cannot force her to make the right choices. But if you have established clear boundaries and she crosses them, then consequences need to be issued. Don’t give up thinking that there is nothing you can do. And don’t think that your consequences don’t matter to her. Continue to issue them. Let her know that you are the parent and this is part of your job.

Helpline Support

Nebraska Family Helpline: The Helpline is a free resource for parents who have concerns and questions about their child's behavior. Call 888-866-8660. Bilingual counselors are available.

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