We have got to talk to our kids about sex (and related topics). They’re going to snicker and act goofy or scowl and pretend to be annoyed, but they won’t run screaming from the room. That’s because they want to know!
And we have to do it sooner rather than later.
On four separate occasions over the course of a year, 141 families of children aged 13-17 were surveyed concerning the timing of their chats about sexual topics.
Researchers found that over 50% of the teens had already experienced genital touching by the time their parents talked with them about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and condom use.
More than 40% of the teens had already had intercourse by the time their parents talked with them about sexually transmitted diseases, condom use, choosing birth control and what to do if your partner refuses to wear a condom.
Why do we as parents allow this to happen? Research suggests that we don’t have an accurate sense of where our children are in the stages of sexual exploration.
We all know that kids are exposed to sexual images and ideas through movies, music, magazines, and television at ever earlier ages. This influences them in ways we parents may not be prepared to anticipate.
We want to protect our kids. Most parents aren’t willing to bet their child’s health or life on an assumption that the child will abstain from sex until the parent thinks he or she is ready.
Experts suggest starting the conversation two years earlier than the age we think is appropriate. Don’t wait until just before we think the child is ready to explore sexual contact.
Sexuality is natural, it’s a part of being human, and it’s not just about sex. Sexuality encompasses gender, interactions with the opposite sex, how men and women and boys and girls express emotion, body image, intimacy, and sexual orientation.
The kids may not listen when we tell them to take out the trash, but 63% of teens say being able to talk to their parents about sex makes it much easier to postpone sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy.
Wooohooooo! Parents doin’ the happy dance!