Boston, Massachusetts — October marks Let’s Talk Month, an annual campaign promoting open family communication about sexuality and relationships. This year Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is encouraging parents to talk with their kids about healthy relationships. Young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence - almost triple the national average - and teen girls experiencing intimate partner violence are more likely to become pregnant and more likely to report an STD diagnosis.
“Parents, and other trusted caregivers, have an important role to play in helping young people make healthy decisions around relationships. Young people need to learn age-appropriate skills related to healthy relationships, boundaries, consent, and communication – as well as how to recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship and how to get the support and help they need if they find themselves in one,” said Jen Slonaker, PPLM’s Vice President of Education and Training. “When teens and parents are comfortable talking with each other about relationships and sex, parents are better able to support teens and help them make healthy decisions.”
Parents and other trusted caregivers can help their children understand that a healthy relationship is one that makes a person feel safe and respected and builds self-worth. An unhealthy relationship is one in which one partner does hurtful things to get power or control over the other person. This may involve physical violence, and can also include isolation from family and friends, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, stalking, and threats or coercion. Parents and other trusted caregivers can help young people who may be navigating a relationship figure out if their partner is being abusive, and if so, help them end the relationship.
“Planned Parenthood offers resources, guidance, and encouragement to teens and parents who are unsure about how to talk about relationships and sex. We’re here to help, and we’re committed to making sure that parents can address the important elements of decision making with their children, as well as their own beliefs and values about sexuality and relationships,” said Jen Slonaker.
Pop culture that touches on sexuality issues can help parents and adolescents start conversations about healthy relationships. To help parents and other trusted caregivers use pop culture as a way to talk with their children more often and more in-depth about these issues, Planned Parenthood has produced a television watch guide and a pop culture bingo card to help spark conversations.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of sex education, offers education programs for young people and parents across the country. In 2013, Planned Parenthood provided education and outreach to 1.5 million people of all ages across the country. At Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Let’s Be Honest, PPLM’s parent education program, helps parents and teens open the lines of communication and encourage them to have ongoing conversations about sex and sexuality. PPLM’s Get Real middle school sex education curriculum delivers accurate, age-appropriate information and emphasizes healthy relationship skills and family involvement through both classroom and take-home activities. Get Real is the first curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood to earn a spot on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services list of evidence-based programs.
PlannedParenthood.org is always here for both parents and teens looking for accurate information, and Planned Parenthood doors are open to everyone.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the Commonwealth, providing sexual and reproductive health care to more than 30,000 patients per year. PPLM provides a wide range of preventive health care services including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment as well as abortion services. We ensure that women have accurate information about all of their options. For 87 years, PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
October 26, 2015