Children’s Aid Report on Talking With Your Teens About Sex Month
March is National Talk with Your Teen about Sex Month. Though any month is the right time to have “the talk,” the purpose of this commemoration is to remind and encourage parents to open the lines of communication with their children regarding this subject.
The Guttmacher Institute reports that nearly half of teens between the ages of 15-19 have had sex at least once and according to the Center for Disease Control, teen pregnancies are on the rise once again. The United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the industrialized world; NOW is the time to start talking to your teens about sex.
Important tips for parents to remember:
- START EARLY. Talk with your children early, using age-appropriate language and examples. Waiting until adolescence may be too late.
- Be honest about your own feelings of difficulty discussing such a sensitive and intimate topic.
- Be realistic about the disadvantages of engaging in sexual activity too early, including sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and the possibility of becoming a single parent. Equally as important are the advantages of waiting to have sex, such as being able to finish school and meeting career goals.
- Reassure your children that you will be available whenever they need to talk. Expect them to come to you with follow-up questions.
Dr. Michael A. Carrera, Director, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Children’s Aid Society says, "Parents are the primary sexuality educators of their own children, they have no choice about it; their only choice is how well or poorly they do it."
Dr. Carrera recommends the following books:
It's Perfectly Normal by Robbie Harris What's Happening to my Body: Book for Boys and What's Happening to my Body: Book for Girls by Lynda Madaras, What's Happening to Me? and Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle.