Talking to Your Child About Sex
Sun, April 18, 2021

Talking to Your Child About Sex

Parents act not only as mom or dad; they serve as teachers and friends--roles that can influence a child's attitudes in life. Parents influence kids more than they realize. They often have to be the first to discuss sensitive topics with their children, including love, death, and sex / Photo by: Martin Novak via 123RF

 

Parents act not only as mom or dad; they serve as teachers and friends--roles that can influence a child's attitudes in life. Parents influence kids more than they realize. They often have to be the first to discuss sensitive topics with their children, including love, death, and sex.

According to Healthline, an online portal for medical news and general information, it’s a myth that teens want to avoid talking about sex and dating. In reality, young people actually need and want more guidance.

Based on a survey conducted on more than 2,000 high school and college students across the US, Harvard University researchers found that parents worry too much about the ‘hook-up’ culture, which doesn’t necessarily exist. Many of the young people surveyed were not even interested in it, as only a few were having casual sex. The research found that the surveyed youth were confused and anxious about developing healthy romantic relationships. This is exactly why parents need to have open conversations with their kids.

Sex and Teen Pregnancies By the Numbers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017, a total of 194,377 babies were born to women aged between 15 to 19 years old with a birth rate of 18.8% per 1,000 women in the age group. Contrary to what many believe, this is a record low for US teens, with a drop of 7% from 2016. Birth rates for women aged 15 to 17 years fell by 10% and 6% for women aged 18 to 19 years. Between 1991 and 2015, teen birth rates dropped 64%, resulting in over $4.4 billion in public savings for 2015. The CDC shares that this may be attributed to more teens abstaining from sex or sexually active teens using more birth control methods.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2017, a total of 194,377 babies were born to women aged between 15 to 19 years old with a birth rate of 18.8% per 1,000 women in the age group / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123RF

 

From 2016 to 2017, teen birth rates declined for most racial groups and Hispanics. The decrease in non-Hispanic Asians was 15%, 9% for Hispanics, 8% for non-Hispanic whites, 6% in non-Hispanic blacks, and 6% for American Indians and Alaskan Natives. More than this, data interpreted shows that the birth rate of Hispanic teens was at 28.9 and non-Hispanic black teens at 27.5, substantially greater or twice as much compared to non-Hispanic white teens at 13.2. The birth rate was highest among other races and ethnicities with American Indians and Alaskan Native teens at 32.9.

The CDC explains that less favorable socioeconomic conditions contribute to higher teen birth rates, such as lack of education and low income levels. In addition, teens in the child welfare system are also at risk of higher teen pregnancies. 

Talking to Your Kids About Sex

The reason that teen pregnancies are given much concern is that they are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls, with only 50% of teen mothers receiving a high school diploma by the age of 22 compared to 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence and are able to graduate from high school. More than this, teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and more health problems. They are also more likely to be incarcerated and experience unemployment as a young adult.

While sex education is usually covered in health classes, teens may not necessarily see, hear, or understand the whole picture and what each choice about sex entails. It is a parent’s responsibility to enforce what a kid learns at school, and set the stage in leading a lifetime of healthy sexuality.

There’s never any right or perfect moment to start the conversation. To break the ice, when a television program or music video raises issues about sexual behavior, this can be used as a springboard. II is important that parents are honest and direct about how they feel. Parents can share that they aren’t sure what to do or how to go about this, and look up questions alongside the child. This invites confidence and trust in the kids, showing that it is a team process and that the parents are not too close-minded.

After this, parents may raise specific issues, but being careful not to lecture the teen. Topics about sex should be taken seriously, with common diseases or sexually transmitted diseases (STD) not to be completely feared. Teens learn about this in school, but parents offer the added value of their personal experience instead of just technical statistics or general information. Considering your child or teen’s point of view is important, move beyond facts and delve into feelings, attitudes, and values. Lastly, make it known that you are still open to more discussion, questions, or concerns.

Looking ahead, any teen can grow into a sexually responsible adult. According to the Mayo Clinic, an online platform for academic-based medical centers in the United States, it is important to be honest and speak from the heart. Even if your child or teen is not interested in talking about sex, do so anyway as they are still probably listening and can refer to the information you offer for further discussion in the future.

It is a parent’s responsibility to enforce what a kid learns at school, and set the stage in leading a lifetime of healthy sexuality / Photo by: Vadim Guzhva via 123RF