As parents, it's heartbreaking to discover that your teen has been infected with one of the worst diseases he or she has to deal with in his or her lifetime. Such diagnosis can be truly scary and powerful enough to crush your teen's spirit (and yours in the process). Despite this truth, it still pays to remember that now isn't the time to back down. Instead, you have to be strong for your teen and fight the shame game alongside him or her. Here are some tips to help you help your son or daughter in dealing with the diagnosis.
1. Communicate calmly.
Calm may be the last thing you have in mind after finding out that your teenager engaged in unprotected sex. However, condemning your son and daughter for the grave mistake committed isn't going to help the situation. It may just make it worse so to prevent that from happening, make him or her feel how you're on their side no matter what. This will help them open up wholeheartedly to you, which is crucial to how you'll move forward with the situation as parent and child.
2. Provide an unwavering help and support.
Your teenager is surely confused and scared so knowing that you're there for them during this most difficult time will bring them the much-needed comfort that they need. Aside from making them feel that they've got you, you can also offer to take them to a professional (a GP or any specialist) who can help them get tested again (for confirmation) and treated.
3. Suggest to get help from an emotional expert.
Shame, anger, betrayal, hurt, and shock are some of the emotions that your teenager may be dealing with. These can be too much if they hit him or her all at the same time. So aside from getting treatment for the disease itself, it's crucial to get help from someone who can help your son or daughter deal with the emotional devastation caused by the diagnosis. Your son or daughter may or not be open to this so it's important to honor their decision.
4. Help them cope with the changes.
It's highly possible that your teenager's GP would recommend abstinence from any type of sexual activity during the course of the treatment (or at least until such time that you can be sure that your teenager is already infection-free), prompting a negative reaction from your teenager. This is when your parenting skills should come into play. In an assertive manner, help him or her understand why it's important to abstain from any sexual activity upon contracting an STD (and if you think it would help, to cut ties from their partner). Prepare for resistance but don't give up too easily. Be patient in guiding your teenager in the right path.
5. Have a discussion about Safe Sex 101.
Because if not now, when? There won't really be a perfect time to discuss the importance of protected sex so don't think of delaying it. Let your teenager know how he or she can ask you the questions and that you'll do your best to answer them with all honesty. Make them feel how this is a conversation you needed to have now without pressuring them into opening up to you. This way, you can address their questions while making them feel that you're still their ally.
Being diagnosed with an STD isn't an easy situation to be in. Help your teenager get the STD facts and deal with them in the healthiest and smartest way possible. With your patience, perseverance, and love, plus care from a professional, he or she would be healed inside and out in time.