Let's talk about sex - part 4

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16. So they've got their first boy/girlfriend? Try to get them to open up about their feelings. How do they feel about them? Are they just good mates or do they have stronger feelings? Have they been intimate with each other? If they'll admit to that, then talk to them about the consequences.

17. What if they fall in love? Young love can be very painful, but a really important learning curve for your child. Talk to them about their emotions and explain that sometimes relationships can end in tears, and that you're always there for them. Try to get to know their boyfriend/girlfriend and include them in your family life. Invite them around for dinner, chat to them too. Let them know that you care about your child's relationship with them.

18. Help keep them stay safe. They may not be having an intimate relationship, but sexually transmitted infections have risen dramatically in the last decade amongst young people, so it's important that your teenager knows about STIs and the importance of safe sex. Brook Advisory, Helpline on 0800 0185 023 or the Government R U Thinking site both have lots of information and help aimed at teenagers on STI's.

19. What about contraception? Of course, unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy too, so talk to your youngster about the dangers and contraceptive choices. It' very important that boys are equally aware of the importance of contraception and act responsibly when it comes to an intimate relationship. Offer to go with your teenager to your local sexual health clinic or doctor to talk about contraception.

20. What about pregnancy? Stay calm and support your daughter as best as you can. Take your child to see your GP. They will confirm the pregnancy and offer advice. Brook has counselors too who can help. Helpline on 0800 0185 023. Of course, you can give advice and support, but your daughter has to make her own mind up on what to do about her pregnancy. If your son thinks he has made a girl pregnant, try to speak to the girl and ask her if you can talk to her parents, if they know about the pregnancy. Again, give as much support and help to both of them as you can.

What if they don't want to talk about sex?

Of course many teenagers feel awkward talking to their parents about sex, so try to start talking to your children about sex from an early age, that way it wont feel so awkward. You may have to accept that your teenager doesn't want to talk to you. If that's the case, give them leaflets, helplines and websites that they'll find useful.

Continued below...

- The facts about teenage sex
- Read in-depth information on HIV and AIDS
- Read the facts on STIs
- Worried about your teen's sex life? Share your concerns in Chat

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