Talking with a teen about sexting is not a conversation that most parents want to have ever. Unfortunately, if you suspect that your teen is engaging in sexting, it is up to you to step in as their parents.
Since approaching your teen about your suspicious regarding sexting can be tough, Sundance Canyon Academy has some tips for how you can successfully discuss this sensitive—and somewhat awkward—topic.
Find Your Calm Before Approaching Your Teen
Before you go to talk to your teen, take a few moments to calm yourself. It can be very upsetting to learn that your teen has been sexting, and when people are upset, hurtful words and actions can take place.
Taking hasty words and actions into a sensitive conversation about sexting can create a barrier between you and your teen. With your teen’s defenses up and feelings injured, it will be incredibly difficult for you to help them see why sexting is a serious issue. So, whether you need a few moments to compose yourself or a few days, be calm and centered before you approach your teen about their suspected sexting.
Be Deliberate About Where And When To Talk About Sexting
Along with holding onto your calm, choosing when and where to discuss your concerns about your teen sexting others is important. Embarrassing your teen by bringing it up in front of others can be as disastrous as going into the conversation angry.
Instead, give yourself and your teen space and time to talk privately by going on a walk or a drive. For one thing, your teen may be able to speak more easily to you if they don’t have to be face-to-face as you both discuss this sensitive topic. Also, both of these activities prevent your teen from prematurely ending the conversation by leaving.
Inform Your Teen Of The Consequences Of Sexting Others
There are a number of serious consequences that your teen may experience if they engage in sexting, and that doesn’t count the potential discipline you provide.
For instance, there is the potential for bullying. Whoever your teen is sexting may be tempted to show others to brag that they convinced your teen to sext. That can lead to severe bullying, both in-person and online. Some teens have committed suicide after being bullied due to sharing intimate things.
Also, in many states, sexting—particularly inappropriate pictures and videos—is considered making and distributing child pornography. Your teen and the recipients can be charged with crimes and be made to register as sex offenders.
By understanding these serious consequences, your teen may think twice before they think to sext someone.
Review Family Values With Your Teenager
It is also important for you to reiterate your family values with your teenager regarding sexual intimacy of any kind. Each family is different in their approach, but no matter the stance, it is essential that your teen understand what values they are expected to uphold.
While being sure to talk about family values regarding sexual intimacy, it is also important to cover healthy relationships. Many teens—particularly young women—feel pressured to engage in sexting and have unhealthy relationships where their boundaries are pushed. By talking about consent, respectful relationships, and other associated topics, you can give your teen a better idea of what their future relationships should be like.
Create Rules And Consequences To Help Your Teen Not Sext
After you have discussed the dangers of sexting and the family’s stance on sexting, it is time to lay out the rules and consequences. With clear guidelines set, you can help your teen weigh if sexting is worth it. Also, if your teenager decides to sext, they will already know the consequences.
Some rules and consequences you may want to consider for your teen are:
No tech in private areas of the house – To help prevent the ability to send or receive sexts, set down rules that all technology—gaming consoles, smartphones, laptops, etc.—need to remain in the public areas of the house. While it is still possible for your teen to sext from the living room, their behavior will likely give their illicit activity away.
Set a technology curfew – Whether or not you instate the rule concerning tech in public rooms only, you can also set a technology curfew. That way, your teen isn’t up late with their smartphone and give in to the temptation to sext.
Smartphone privileges revoked – Should your teen be unable to resist the allure of sexting, you can revoke the privileges of owning a smartphone. Since many teens have a phone for easy contact with their families, you can have their number transferred to a simple cell phone that has no camera. That way, you can at least be sure they aren’t sending inappropriate pictures and videos.
Attend boarding school – If your child is unwilling to stop sexting and is displaying other poor behaviors, a boarding school for troubled teens may be the best option. While attending the boarding school, your teen can receive regular therapy built into their schedule, along with learning new skills, all while working toward their high school diploma.
If you are considering sending your teen to a boarding school for troubled teens or a residential treatment center to assist with their behavioral struggles and would like more information, feel free to contact us. Our program advisors are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you determine how best to help your teen.