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PARENTS: DON’T BE SPOOKED BY SEX EDUCATION
Planned Parenthood of New York City Calls on Parents to Overcome Their Fears, and Use the Sex Education Mandate as An Opportunity for Conversation (10/27/11)
(New York, NY)—Ghosts, goblins, and zombies may be in the air this Halloween, but Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) is telling parents there’s something they don’t have to be afraid of: Sex Education, and talking to their kids about sex.
“Parents, you have an important choice to make,” said Amanda Perez, Director of Adult Education for PPNYC. “You can treat sex education with fear, and gloss over the fact that your children are learning about sex and sexuality from everything around them—movies, music, tv, video games, and the Internet, to name a few sources. Or, you can see this for the opportunity it is—the chance to foster a strong relationship with your children, share your beliefs and values, and give them the life skills to keep themselves safe and healthy no matter what situations they may face.”
“Talking about sex can seem daunting,” added Perez, “but the idea of ignoring it and leaving our kids to fend for themselves is downright scary.”
A recent national poll, “Let’s Talk: Are Parents Tackling Crucial Conversations about Sex?,” found that while the majority of parents are having some conversation about sex with their children, when it comes to the tougher, more complicated issues like birth control or how to say no, parents are avoiding the subject. For instance:
· While 94 percent of parents believe they can influence whether or not their child uses condoms or other forms of birth control, only 60 percent of parents are actually talking to their children about birth control.
· And 57 percent of parents surveyed said they are uncomfortable or only slightly comfortable talking with their children about sex and sexual health at all.
“The toughest things we do as parents are often the most important,” said Perez. “Things like setting rules, sitting down to help our kids with their homework, and talking to them about sex education.”
“For many parents, the idea of having a real, in-depth conversation with your child can at first seem intimidating,” said Rosa Ocampo, mother of two middle school students. “But the truth is that it’s easier than you think. It doesn’t have to be one big conversation, but lots of little ones. And something like sex education can be the perfect stepping stone into an ongoing conversation.”
For 14 years, PPNYC has been running parent education classes, called the Adult Role Models program, aimed at helping parents throughout New York City talk to their kids about sex. The organization has also produced a number of publications to help parents talk to their kids, such as “Hey, What Do I Say?,” “Can We Talk?,” and “How to Talk to Your Parents About Sex.”
“Keeping our young people safe is about more than giving them factual information,” said Perez. “It’s about making sure they feel supported, and empowering them with essential life skills about how to say no, how to navigate a difficult situation, and the risks associated with decisions they make. Parents can be key players in making sure their kids stay healthy and informed and grow up to follow their dreams.”
###Since 1916, Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) has been an advocate for and provider of reproductive health services and education for New Yorkers. Serving nearly 50,000 clients annually, PPNYC’s health care centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island offer reproductive health services, including gynecological care, contraception, pregnancy testing, abortion, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV testing and counseling. Through a threefold mission of clinical services, education, and advocacy, PPNYC brings better health and more fulfilling lives to each new generation of New Yorkers. As a voice for reproductive freedom, PPNYC supports legislation and policies to ensure that all New Yorkers—and, in fact, people around the world—will have access to the full range of reproductive health care services and information. www.ppnyc.org.