Finding the right opportunity with talk to your teen about sex and relationships can be a challenge. Everyone is so busy, and it’s hard to find a time when conversations can unfold naturally.
Solution: Create an opportunity for important conversations by taking your teen or preteen on a road trip. The point of the trip isn’t specifically to talk about sex—just to have time together where it might come up.
How it works: Invite your teen to come with you (one parent) on a mini-vacation, maybe a weekend trip. Choose, together, a destination a few hours’ drive away. It should be a place neither of you has ever been, so you can explore it together on equal footing.
This gives you time in the car plus a topic to focus on: “What shall we see in _____? What would you like to do there? Would you be willing to do x with me even though it’s not really your thing? What kind of food should we eat tonight?” etc. Sharing your respective thoughts and priorities, negotiating how to use the time available, and reflecting on your experiences will help you both learn more about the other. (And your kid may notice that you’re an actual person, not just a parent.)
During your trip together, do NOT launch into a talk about the birds and the bees. (That feels like a set-up, and kids hate being trapped.) But you can float the occasional open-ended question that opens the door. Depending on your child’s age and what you’ve already talked about, you might try one of the TalkStarters discussed in other posts on this blog. Or maybe (quite a ways into the trip) you might say something like “I’m not sure I’ve done a great job talking with you about sex and stuff, but if you ever have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.” Or you might decide not to say anything like that, and just let conversations unfold.
The goal is not to have a specific outcome or conversation, just to create space to talk and deepen your connection with your child. Besides, it’s fun to explore new places. 🙂