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Father Daughter Talk About Sex

Dear Helen, This may be an unusual question for you coming from a man, but I thought I would write and ask, as you are sensitive and sensible in your responses to others. Yes, I read this column in Better Health all the time and mywife and I quite enjoyed your style. My wife died a few years ago and I have been raising our three daughters. I want to talk to the two oldest ones about birth control.

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Father Daughter Talk  About Sex

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Dear Helen,

This may be an unusual question for you coming from a man, but I thought I would write and ask, as you are sensitive and sensible in your responses to others. Yes, I read this column in Better Health all the time and mywife and I quite enjoyed your style. My wife died a few years ago and I have been raising our three daughters. I want to talk to the two oldest ones about birth control. They are in their teens now. I have started seeing someone, but you know how it is – my children still have to get used to her, and it is too soon for her to have that sort of conversation with them. So what does a father tell his teenaged daughters – who have full access to the Internet and therefore may already know a lot? – Cedric

Dear Cedric,

I’m pretty sure that your daughters will be just as anxious as you are when it comes to having ‘that talk’. The lady you are seeing, although she and they have to get used to each other, will be able to gauge your daughter’s experience and understanding better than I can, as I don’t know them and can’t see them.

Some teens are very innocent, others far from it with what they think they know. Some say things without any real understanding and some watch things on the Internet, in exactly the same way. They may have stumbled across porn sites, which, as you well know, don’t give them the real information they need but may be terrifying them, deep down!

Others just don’t want to know yet.

From my many trips to Barbados I have seen both amongst the young people I’ve encountered. There’s a near uniform natural curiosity. Some shout their experience from the rooftops, but they are often the last ones to actually know what they’re truly talking about, too.

SOME IDEAS THAT MAY HELPTO GET YOU TO GET STARTED INCLUDE, BUT ARE DEFINITELY NOT LIMITED TO: 1 – Contact the school and ask to speak to the guidance counsellors for their year groups and ask them what they have already covered, or they plan to cover. Share your concerns with them and ask for a guide as to how much they’ve already covered related to sex and relationship education.That will give you an idea of where to pitch your talk – in theory. They will welcome your interest and support, I am pretty sure. 2 – Ask your daughters outright what their guidance counsellors have covered with them at school this term/ year and what they expect them to cover the next term/ year. See if the two match up!

3 – Ask them about the types of websites they visit online then bring up the conversation about porn sites and how the people they see are merely acting to different types of scripts.

4 – If you are stuck, contact the Barbados Family Planning Association, which has a youth section. If you prefer to contact them online first, they have a Facebook page that you could join, and support their work. They are lovely and have helped thousands of young people navigate the complexities of puberty, adolescence and young adulthood, with all the associated challenges these bring. Here’s their website: https://www.bfpaonline.com/youth so you can find out more about theirwork. I’m sure they’re extremely well placed to help you.

5 – Do some‘homework’ to find out what they‘should’ already know and perhaps see if other female family friends can glean any other information from them, too.That way, you have a better idea of where to pitch your chat.The main thing is for them to know that you are open to talking if they want and although they may choose not to reveal too much to you, you will know that you’ve at least given them the opportunity and opened the door for them to get that support they need elsewhere, too.

I suspect that they will be as embarrassed chatting to you about sex as you are worrying about how to break the ice and talk to them.

I wish you all the best. – Helen

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