While prom is technically about a last dance for high school seniors, it remains a persistent cultural icon as venue for sexual activity. According to Larry Brown, MD with the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center, too frequently we refer to talking to our teenage children about sex as "Having the big talk". The label "Big Talk" is misleading because it implies that the talk only happens once and that it is a torturous event.
"Neither is true-there can be multiple talks, and you can use day-to-day, natural opportunities, such as remarking about sex presented on a TV show, to start a conversation," says Brown.
He notes that a 15-minute ride to the grocery store or to school is plenty of time to start a conversation, and that small sound bytes can be more effective than 1-hour conversations that may leave your teen feeling overwhelmed.
In order to elicit a two-way conversation, parents should refrain from passing judgment, and initiate a conversation by asking the teen's opinion-for example, say "I heard this on the news, what did you think about that?" rather than "I cannot believe 14-15-year-olds are having sex."
"Passing judgment will close doors to future conversations," says Brown.
Speaking of sex:How to talk to your teens