When it comes to your health, there is a lot to think about. From protecting yourself against pregnancy and STDs, to navigating relationships, and understanding your own identity, it can be hard to know what and who to trust. That is where parents and other trusted adults come in! They were once your age and may be more helpful than you would think.
Who is a trusted adult?
A trusted adult is someone older, who you trust to be open, honest and helpful. This might be a parent, grandparent, older sibling, other relative, friend’s parent, or teacher. It’s best to have a conversation with a parent, but if you feel you can’t talk to them, for whatever reason, seek out another trusted adult you can count on. Think about the adults in your life who have supported you and who you would trust to talk to about personal things. And remember, you can always be open with a doctor or clinic staff.
How Do I Start A Conversation?
- Prepare. Before you start a conversation with an adult in your life, think about what you want to talk about. Maybe you have questions about a relationship, maybe you aren’t sure if you are ready to start birth control. One conversation won’t give you enough time to cover every single topic, so you might want to start with something small or easier to talk about, then work up to the big stuff.
- Acknowledge if you are uncomfortable. Say something like, “this is uncomfortable” or “I am not sure how to ask this but…” Chances are the trusted adults are a little bit uncomfortable too, so calling it out can help ease some of the pressure.
- You don’t have to make it about you. You can say something like “a lot of kids at school are starting birth control and I am not sure what I think about that,” or “someone in my class came out as gay.” Making it about someone else can help take off some of the pressure, and allow you and the trusted adult in your life to explore your shared values and ideas in a more comfortable way.
- Make it about them! Ask the adult what they think. Ask them about their personal values. You can also ask them about their experiences and what things were like when they were your age. Listening to their ideas, values, and experiences can help you better understand your own.
- Share resources! There are many great resources for parents like Talk With Your Kids, which was made in partnership with TeenSource. May is Talking Is Power Month and Power to Decide has resources and videos for trusted adults to help them talk to the young people in their lives. Share these websites with the trusted adults in your life and help them start the conversation with you!
When you are ready to go to a health center for care, and for whatever reason can’t bring an adult with you, it’s ok.in California have a right to condoms, birth control, STD tests, and more with or without an adult. Be sure you know your rights!
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.