Tips for talking
Many parents feel uncomfortable talking to their children about sex and teen pregnancy. Some parents may have grown up in an environment where these topics were not discussed, so they are not sure how to go about initiating a conversation. Other parents may be worried that they will not know the answers to any questions their child has, or they may be confused about how much information is appropriate. Recognizing that this may be an uncomfortable topic for parents and their teenage sons and daughters to discuss, the Advocates for Youth offers these tips to help make the conversation a little easier:
- Make it clear to your child that he can talk to you about anything. This will help to encourage communication.
- Take advantage of situations that allow the subject to be brought up--for example, news articles, television, or even a friend's pregnancy.
- Allow your child to talk, and listen to what she is saying. Think about what you are being asked.
- Don't jump to conclusions. The fact that your teen may have questions about sex does not necessarily mean she is sexually active.
- Give factual and honest answers to questions.
- Share your thoughts and values with your child, and encourage her to share hers.
- Reassure your child that his questions are normal.
- Give your child examples of ways to get out of high-risk situations, and teach him how to make healthy decisions about sex.
- Don't be afraid to admit that you don't know the answer to a question.
- Understand that your child may sometimes feel more comfortable talking to someone other than you. Help him come up with a list of other trusted adults to talk to.
The recent increase in teen pregnancy is proof that it is more important than ever to educate the nation's teens on sex and pregnancy. Communication and sex education are two of the most effective ways that parents can teach their teens to avoid the consequences of unprotected sex.