The fact is, yes, kids want to learn about sex and sexuality in a place that is safe and familiar. And, they want to learn from their parents, whose views and opinions they trust and value whether they say so or not. A recent National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy study found that 87% of U.S. teens say it would be easier to postpone sexual activity if they were able to talk more openly about sex with their parents, but 37% of teens say that they have never had a single conversation with their parents on this topic. Parents can have a powerful influence on their adolescent’s decision-making about sex and sexuality. By having ongoing conversations with children about the many facets of sexuality, parents can empower youth to delay sexual activity and reduce or eliminate sexual risk-taking.
When asked what they want from their parents regarding conversations about sex, teens say:
- Take the time to talk. Listen to me and don’t brush me off.
- Be home with me.
- Don’t use shame or guilt when you talk about sex with me.
- Talk about relationships, peer pressure, and gender issues, not just about anatomy and physiology.
- Don’t jump to conclusions. I may just be curious or need general information.
- Start talking about it when I’m younger, so when you want to talk with me about sex, you’ll feel more comfortable, and I will feel more comfortable with you.
- Be open about talking about sex and it might be easier for me to talk to you.
- Tell the truth.
- Get the ball rolling. Don’t wait for me to ask questions.
- Talk about what is right, instead of always saying what is wrong.
- Don’t act like you know it all.
- Understand that times have changed.
- Don’t preach one thing and do another.
- Talk about when you grew up, and what it was like for you.
- Treat me with respect.
Advocates For Youth