Sex is an important issue to adolescents. As children grow into adults, their bodies mature and become physically able to have children. They're bombarded by sexual images through music, television and movies. They feel pressure from peers. It's easy for them to believe that everyone else their age is sexually active even if it isn't true.
Adolescents need to know that a healthy sexual life involves emotional as well as physical maturity. Your words can make a difference. Talking about sex isn't easy. But adolescents need accurate information - and guidance - from you! It's never too early to start talking with them about sex. (Don't wait until they ask questions - or until they've gone through puberty.
Talking with your adolescent makes sense! Think about your options:
Ignoring the issue won't make it go away. When kids are given no information from adults, they may be more inclined to experiment or take risks.
Hoping someone else will do it may mean that no one will pass along important facts, beliefs and attitudes. Also if you leave it to someone else, you have no control over what information or values are emphasized.
Talking with your adolescents may help them to:
Resist peer pressure because they'll be more sure of their values.
Delay sexual relations until they're older.
Make responsible decisions about sex because they've considered the choices carefully.
Talking strengthens your relationship in all areas - and strong relationship help make healthy teens. Talking shows adolescents that you care about what happens to them.
Begin by getting the facts and you'll be more comfortable if you review the facts before talking to your adolescent.
* physical changes, such as pubic hair, menstruation, growth rates, breast development, and facial hair
* sexual activities, such as masturbation, "wet dreams" and orgasm
* sexual transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphillis, AIDS and chlamydia
* pregnancy and birth control
Sources of information includes your local or state department of health, your library, your health care provider or clinic, school guidance counselor or health teacher, members of your clergy.
If the subject is embarrassing to you practice by talking to your spouse or another adult, using such terms as "penis", "vagina" and "menstruation" (instead of slang). It will make talking with your adolescent easier.
Listen carefully to questions and concerns. Sometimes listening is more important than talking. Ask questions to find out what he or she is thinking and feeling (but avoid questions that might be considered "too personal"). Try an imagine what it's like to be a young person today. Avoid quick judgments about what your adolescent says. There may be more that you need to know.
Provide information about protection from unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Be sure that your adolescent understands that abstinence is the only way to prevent pregnancy and getting or giving diseases during sex. Let them know that a condom used properly can help prevent STDs and pregnancy but are not 100 percent safe.
Encourage mature decision-making
Emphasize responsibility - let your adolescent know that he or she is responsible for decisions (including decisions about sex) and their consequences (ie. aids, std, pregnancy) and not you or anyone else.
Discuss alcohol and other drugs and how they affect judgment and the ability to make wise choices. Help your adolescent realize that NOT everyone is having sex even though it might seem that way - and that not having sex IS ok.
* GET THE FACTS ABOUT SEX AND SEXUALITY.
* TALK INFORMALLY TO EASE TENSION
* CONSIDER EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL CONCERNS
* PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT PREVENTING PREGNANCY AND STDs
Adolescents face many touch decisions - help them make wise choices. Children in our country should not be dying because they weren't told how to protect themselves. Please Don't let it happen to your child!