You can help your teen stay safe by giving the information and support he or she needs to make smart choices.
Educate your teen about sexual intercourse, how to be protected from sexually transmitted disease and
pregnancy; misuse of alcohol and drugs, including date rape drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB. Also teach
your teen—and model for him or her—the qualities of healthy and respectful relationships.
Talking about these topics can be hard, but the more open and honest you are with your teen, the more likely
it will be that he or she will turn to you with any questions and concerns. In fact, in a recent survey of American
high school students, 9 out of 10 teens said it would be easier to delay sexual activity if they were able to have
“more open, honest conversations” with their parents about sexual issues.
Here are some more things you can do:
Teach your teen to decide what limits he or she wants
in relationships and how to express those limits to dating
partners. Tell your teen, that if someone crossed those
boundaries or if he or she senses danger, to speak out and
Let your teen know that teens or adults have the right to
change their mind, to say “no,” or to agree to some sexual
activities and not to others.
Educate your teen about risks of excessive drinking or
drugs use, and how they reduce a person’s ability to think
and communicate clearly. However, remind them that being drunk or high does not give anyone permission
to assault or hurt them.
Teach them party safety, like pouring their own beverage and keeping it in sight. Date rape drugs can be
put into drinks and are often undetectable.
Tell your kids to be aware of where they are hanging out. Teach them not to hang out in places that keep
them isolated from others. Although they may be able to take care of themselves, it is always wise to be
Teach teens to trust their instincts. If they feel that a person is not trustworthy or a situation is unsafe, they
Tell your teen to always have a back-up plan. For example, if they’re going to a party, make sure someone
they trust knows where they’re going. Teach them to have a person they can call to come and get them if
they need to leave without their original ride.
What if my teen is sexually assaulted?
The experience of being sexually assaulted—especially if it was by someone your teen trusted—can bring up
a wide range of complicated emotions, including guilt, self-doubt, and worries that the assault was somehow
his or her fault. Working through these feelings is an important part of the healing process, and will help them
move forward in a positive way.
Understanding common misconceptions and responses about sexual assault can help you and your teen
manage or change some of your beliefs about this topic.