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Talking with your parents and whānau

Talking about sex with parents and whānau can seem difficult and awkward. Everyone will feel differently about this depending on the type of communication they already have with their parents and whānau, what type of household they’ve been brought up in, and whether their culture and/or religion openly talks about sex.

Talking with parents and whānau can help people talk through their own values, wants and limitations when it comes to sex so that they can make decisions that are right for them.

Top tips for communicating with parents and whānau:

  • Before you talk, it’s a good idea to know what you want to communicate and why. Do you want to ask for advice about something in particular? Do you have specific questions?
  • Let your parents/whānau know that you value their input and would appreciate their support.
  • Be open to hearing from your parents/whānau and learning from them, even if what they share with you is not what you wanted to hear, or were expecting to hear.
  • Be mindful that if your parents/whānau aren’t used to talking about sex, or don’t feel that they know a lot about it, they may be less open to chat. Be patient and show them empathy. These types of conversations can be tough for anyone.

Bringing a friend or another support person with you when you chat to your parents/whānau might be helpful. Do what you need to feel most comfortable.


Conversation starters

You could try out one of these sentences to get the conversation with your parents and whānau started:

  • Our relationship is important to me, so I’d like to be open with you about _____.

  • Can we talk about ______? I really want to hear your thoughts and feelings and share mine too.

  • I’d like to chat about ______ with you, but first I’d like to hear what you think.

  • I’d really like some advice on ______. Do you think we could have a chat about this (soon)?


How do I tell my parents that I’ve already had sex?

  1. Decide whether you want to tell one or both of your parents. Perhaps you’d prefer to tell one, and then let that parent tell your other parent.

  2. Have an honest conversation with your parent/s, in person. Arrange a time and place to talk where no one is going to be distracted, everyone’s relaxed and you feel comfortable.

  3. It’s best to be direct with what you want to say, and let your parent/s know that you want to share this information with them because you care about, and respect them.

    This could sound like “Out of love and respect for you, I want to be honest about the fact I’ve had sex”.

    You may also like to let them know that you feel nervous about telling them.

  4. When you’ve finished speaking, make sure you listen to what your parents have to say and allow them to ask questions if they have them. It can help to reassure your parents that having sex is something you wanted to do, and you feel it was the right decision for you.