As parents, we all want the best for our teens. That means helping them with homework, encouraging their hobbies, and ...talking about sex.
Teens name parents as the biggest influence on their decisions about sex. And teens who talk to their parents about sex are more likely to wait longer to have sex, and use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do.
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The conversations that parents have with their children about sex and sexual health make a difference in adolescents sexual behaviors. While peers and the media play a role in shaping teens beliefs about body image, physical intimacy, and other issues related to sex, numerous studies show that kids want to hear from their parents about sex and that parents are influential in their teenagers decisions.
Studies show that teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sex, have fewer partners, and use condoms and other birth control methods when they do have sex. That is why Planned Parenthood is using Lets Talk Month to encourage parents to talk to their kids.
Talking with kids, answering their questions about sex, and helping them make smart decisions about their relationships and behavior doesn't have to be uncomfortable or awkward. It helps if parents begin talking when their children are young, when their curiosity about their bodies and about differences between boys and girls creates natural opportunities for starting a dialogue and building a respectful, trusting relationship.
While its important for parents to talk with their children about sex, its also essential that parents set guidelines that will make teens less likely to engage in sexual behavior before they are ready. Knowing where teens are, not allowing them to spend too much time without an adult present, and knowing who they are spending time with " especially someone they may be dating " can limit adolescents likelihood of engaging in risky behavior.