Planned Parenthood

Columbia Willamette

Talking with Your Kids About Sex

Talking to your kids about sex can be embarrassing or uncomfortable, but it is important. Here's a few tips to help you out:

You can do it. Remind yourself that it's okay to be uncomfortable. Relax, and let your children know you are talking with them because you love them and care about what happens in their lives. They are listening - whether they act like it or not.

When you talk to your children, you can share your family values. Kids are bombarded by messages about sex from many different outlets, and they may not know what to believe. Research is clear that young people would really like to get their information from parents, and that they consider family values when making decisions about sex.

Listen as much as you talk, and ask questions in ways that invite conversation. Open-ended questions keep the conversation going. You could ask them what they want to know and what they already know. "What do you know about contraception? What else would you like to know?" You may be surprised.

Keep the conversations going. Use "teachable moments" like television shows or real-life incidents to check in with them and to share your thoughts and feelings. Kids get the idea that you are willing to continue these discussions.

Talk about when you were young. Kids love to hear about your best and worst moments. It helps them realize you really were young once, and that you understand some of what they are going through.

Don't wait for them to ask. Most kids and teen are uncomfortable talking about sex with their parents, and they don't want to risk embarrassing you or themselves. Whether they ask questions or not, they want and need information.

More tips on how to talk to your kids about sex

Want more information?
PPCW has Parent Packets, full of printed information for parents of children of all ages. If you'd like a Parent Packet, please e-mail or call 503.775.4931 x2240.

Additional resources:

For more information, contact or call 503.775.4931 x6.

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Talking with Your Kids About Sex