When teens and parents talk with each other about relationships and sex, teens are more likely to make healthy decisions. Studies show that teens who report having ongoing conversations with their parents about sex wait longer to begin having sex and are more likely to use condoms and other birth control methods when they eventually become sexually active. Moreover, these studies have shown that teens want to hear what their parents think and feel about sex and relationships.
Our parent education program, Let's Be Honest: Communication in Families That Keeps Kids Healthy, helps parents and teens open the lines of communication and encourages them to have engaging and factual conversations about sex and sexuality. Parents can use National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month as an opportunity to help teens identify their plans for the future, consider how those plans would be impacted by having a child, and set short-term goals in order to meet their long-term goals.
- Parents should talk with their teens about their expectations of them and help them think through how to handle communicating with a partner, using protection, and resisting peer pressure.
- It's important to talk with teens about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The best way for sexually active teens to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to use both an effective form of birth control and a condom every time.
- Parents should teach youth about the meaning of consent. Consent should be verbal, mutual, sober and enthusiastic. Silence does not equal consent. Anyone can change their mind at any point. No one should be shamed, harassed, or judged because of their personal boundaries or sexual preferences. No one should be pressured, coerced, or manipulated into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Does your teen know how to access accurate sexual health information? Planned Parenthood provides information and services that help teens lower their risk of pregnancy and STIs, and make healthy and informed decisions about sex.