How do I talk to my parents about difficult things?

It can be difficult to find the courage to tell your parents or an adult you trust about private and difficult things, such as having sexual feelings and thoughts about children. But it’s important that you open up to someone about your concerns so that you don’t face them alone. 

Telling an adult about your worries can provide a sense of relief. It’s best to talk to an adult you trust—for some, it’s their parents, for others it can be an aunt, a teacher, an educator, a psychologist or a priest.

If you don't think you can talk to your parents about difficult things at all, and you don't know an adult you trust, you can call the Janus Center at (+45) 33 69 03 69 if you’re under age 18. Everyone's situation is different, and they can help with advice about what’s best for you.

If you think you can talk to your parents or an adult about it, here is some advice you can use before sharing your thoughts and worries with them.

1. Think about how you want to talk to your parents or the adult
Is it easier to talk to both of your parents at the same time, or is it more comfortable to talk to one of them? Do you want to talk to them face-to-face, or would it be easier for you to write them some kind of letter or text message? You should also consider where and when you open up to them. We recommend that you have the conversation in a place that feels safe and at a time when you won’t risk being interrupted.

2. Practice saying it out loud
Before the conversation, it might be a good idea to think through how you want to say what you want to share. You might want to practice by saying it out loud, for example. If you have practiced saying it out loud, it can be easier to say it in the actual situation.

3. Agree in advance to have a talk
It’s important that both you and your parents or the adult find the right time so that your conversation isn’t rushed or pressured. It is therefore a good idea to make an agreement in advance. For example, you could say that you have something you would like to tell them and ask if they have time to talk after dinner. Be sure to make clear that it’s important to you. If it’s too difficult to ask, you might consider making the agreement via text message.

4. Explain that it is difficult for you to talk about
It may help if you start by explaining to your parents or the adult that it’s difficult for you to open up and that you have come to them because you need their support. You can tell them that you’re starting to have feelings and thoughts that you don’t want, but that you need them to know so that you can get help to deal with them.

5. Try to put your problem into words
Tell the adult or your parent what your problem is and how you feel. You can say, for example, that you have sexual thoughts about people who are much younger than you are. And that you’re very worried and nervous about having these thoughts.

6. Explain to them that help is available
You can tell your parents or the adult that you know it’s a big mouthful. You can explain that you’re not the only one who feels this way and that you can get professional help and support. You may want to tell them about this website.

If you still think it’s too difficult to say it to your parents or an adult face-to-face, you may want to give them this letter instead where we have written something for you.