Sexuality is a major preoccupation of thoughts and feelings for most, if not all, teens. In some stepfamilies, the adolescent sexuality may raise much concern due to the lack of biological relationship with the stepparent and inappropriate behaviors by the adolescents.
Here are some tips to help your adolescent and your family cope with his/her unfolding sexuality:
- As early as when your child is 11, hold a private conversation about hormonal changes occurring in his/her body. Be matter of fact about it. You may want to look up a basic book on the subject and offer it to your child.
- Evaluate your child’s view on pre-marital sex, and gently, with much sensitivity, present your view on emotional readiness, which depends on emotional maturity and your value system.
- Insist on a proper dress code at home for you and your children. Consider requiring that all household members are dressed at all times in front of one another. Girls in particular might want to “test” their sexual power around a stepbrother and/or a stepfather, by walking around the house partially dressed. Make sure you forbid that.
- Do not display sexual affection to one another around the children. Expressing some physical affection like holding hands, or a brief kiss, and using endearing language is definitely appropriate. More than that might be interpreted by the children as sexual and may create a feeling that if you can…so can they.
- Create an open loving atmosphere for your children to discuss any concern they have. Family secrets can only contribute to shame, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness, which often leads teens to inappropriate sexual behavior.