For Parents: Talking with Your Teen

“How do I start the Talk?”                                         

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Are you an askable adult? Learn ways to help facilitate conversation with your teen about sex. This conversation is important to have with girls and boys as teen pregnancy could affect both.

Teens report that the people they most want to hear from about birth control, relationships and sex is their parents!

Below we have listed some publications and conversation aides for you and your teen. Remember, this is not a one time conversation and is most effective when it takes place on a frequent (and regular) basis. At EyesOpenIowa we like to say, “Start the Talk and then keep the Conversation Going”. There are resources on additional needs for families outlined on the Resources for Families Page.  The most important thing a parent or caregiver can do is listen! Be supportive and encourage your child to come to you with any questions or concerns, even the tough stuff! Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Use teachable moments
  • Be present and give your teen your full attention
  • Provide factual information
  • Stress safety and love

EOI Parenting Guides:

Parent Guide- Children, Tweens and Puberty

Parent Guide- Teens and Sexuality, Tips for Starting the Conversation

Publications and Videos:

“Big Status Update” PSA provided by EyesOpenIowa.

“Jeremy’s Story” PSA provided by EyesOpenIowa.

Amaze Videos-multi-topic animated videos related to sex ed and parent/youth discussion guides.

Future. The Alternative F Word. PSAs provided by Children and Urban Family Ministries.

“Talking to Your Kids About, Ahem, You Know What (S.E.X.)” by Melissa Havard, MA.

Here are some conversation helpers for “The Talk”:

*8 Tips for the parents having “the Talk”.

*Getting the Conversation Started With Your Teen.

*10 Tips for talking with your teen about sex.

*How well do you know your parents? Take this quiz and see what your teen knows about you!

*How well do you know your son/daughter? Take this quiz for fun conversation starters with your teen.

LGBT Resources:

*Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Kids. SAMHSA’s resource guide.

  • Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well being of transgender people. We run a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people.
    US: (877) 565-8860 * Canada: (877) 330-6366/
  • The Trevor Lifeline has trained counselors available 24/7 to help LGBTQ youth who are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or need a safe place to talk.
    (866) 488-7386/
  • The GLBT National Help Center provides telephone and email peer-counseling.
    (888) 843-4564/
  • The GLBT National Youth TALKLINE provides telephone and email peer-counseling specifically for younger people (25 years and under) in crisis.
    (800) 246-7743/
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone is suicidal crisis.
    (800) 784-2433 * (800) 273-8255/

Other Resources:

*Tips for Talking with Sexually Active Teens about Contraception

*Boost Your Understanding of Transgender Kids

*Sexual  health education for young people with disabilities

*Creating a Puberty Kit

*Overexposed: Sexting and Relationships

*A Parents Guide to Internet Safety

*My Child Viewed Porn – Now What!?  Blog post by Elizabeth Schroeder Ed. D, M.S.W.

*What should my teen expect when visiting a clinic to receive birth control?

*Sexuality Resource Center for Parents


We know that this conversation with your teen is as nerve racking for
parents as it is for teens. Our Talking Sex Together website is full of great ideas for helping to make this conversation easier. Txt is a free pregnancy prevention program that provides Iowa teens ages 13-19 an anonymous and accurate source for sexual health information. Teens can access this service using their cellphone every Friday. For more details about this program, click here to view the website.

Fact Sheet

Access your county's fact sheet or find a CAPP grantee or family planning clinic near you!