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“Surely my daughter is too young to know about sex”

I feel I need to talk to my 14-year-old daughter about sex, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I am very close to my husband but I feel I can’t even talk to him about this. At the moment all her friends are girls of her own age but I know there will be boys sooner or later and I want to protect her and make sure she is knowledgeable and careful about what she does. She is at that ‘difficult’ age – too young for pubs and clubs and always on Facebook. She feels we are always on her case, but we are only concerned and want what’s best for her. She is closer to her Dad but he could never talk to her about this sort of thing. Please help. Geraldine

Denise says:

It is inevitable that, as girls become young women, they will become aware of their sexual selves and develop interest in boys. Try to see this as a normal part of growing up, something that is part of the wonderful cycle of life and not something that will drastically change your daughter or inevitably lead to trouble. This is a crucial time for her and she really needs to feel you are close to her and understand the tumult of her feelings as she steps from one age to another. She will have had some sex education at school so she will know the mechanics of contraception and sexual health. If she seems to want to discuss this don’t be afraid to tell her you also find it difficult. If you feel you need guidance you can ring Family Lives (0808 800 2222, familylives.org.uk). They are there to help with all the problems of parenthood. I would also suggest that you spend time with her and show an interest in what she is doing. Try not to pry – let her tell you as much or as little as she chooses and be sparing with advice. Ask her advice about your own affairs and let her see you value her opinion. If an opportunity arises, tell her some of the problems you experienced at her age. If she mentions any particular boy make it obvious that you are accepting of her right to friends and that he is welcome in your home. Show how much you trust and have pride in her and I don’t think she’ll come to too much harm.

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