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You need to talk to your parents about some things, like curfews and rides. But maybe you don't like to turn to them for personal or social advice. You might be surprised if you give them a try.

“Nobody is going to care about and love you with the intensity of your parents -- even when you’re trying to push away from them,” says Kathy McCoy, MD, a former feature editor of Teen magazine. “As intense and wonderful as friendships can be -- and some of them are for life, but most of them aren’t -- you can count on your parents when your friends might flake on you.”

Talking to your parents doesn't mean you're acting like a kid again. "You can ask their opinion and you don’t have to accept everything they say," McCoy says.

Talking Tip 1: Engage in Small Talk

Try to talk to your parents a bit every day about little things -- the dog, your baseball game, what’s for dinner. This keeps you connected, so moving on to a big topic isn’t so difficult.

Talking Tip 2: Send Out “Trial Balloons”

When you want to talk about a difficult subject, sometimes it’s easier not to dive in headfirst, McCoy says. “You might say, ‘Most of my friends are having sex,’ or even ask your mother, ‘Do you remember what it was like when you were just starting to change? Did it feel like everyone else was growing up faster?’”

Talking Tip 3: Know What You Want to Accomplish

Do you have some bad news to break to your parents? Do you need their permission to do something? Or do you just want them to listen to you, without offering any advice? Try writing down for yourself what you want from the conversation. That will help you let your parents know what you need.

Talking Tip 4: Consider Talking to One Parent

If it’s difficult to bring up a touchy topic like sex, discuss it with the parent you feel most comfortable and open with.

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