What Can I Do As a Parent?
Getting comfortable talking to your children about sex may take some practice and maybe some help from one of the many parent resources provided on this Web site. But the main ingredient is willingness. With a little preparation, you have the opportunity to support your child in:
- learning about sexuality in a healthy and affirming way
- developing positive attitudes and values about sexuality
- gaining the capacity to make responsible decisions about sexual behaviors
Here are a few tips:
- Communication begins with a close and loving relationship. Be involved in your children’s lives in a meaningful way.
- Talk with your children — early and often — about the range of issues that fall under the umbrella of sexuality. It’s not just about sex. It’s also about love, relationships, body issues and more — from birth through the growing-up years.
- Forget “the big talk.” Instead, initiate conversations frequently, and at naturally occurring times. Share accurate information, along with your personal values, beliefs and clear expectations. Be willing to listen as well — and hear what your children say, think and value.
- Share about the pleasure, joy and intimacy of sex — not just the potential tragedies, risks and dangers. Yes, sex can lead to serious problems… but to focus only on problems is not fair, and it’s not honest.
- Support comprehensive sex education programs in your school district.
- Give your children credit. Trust that they can make good sexual decisions when given accurate information, taught the skills and provided the support to do so.
- For more tips, visit www.familiesaretalking.org, www.noplacelikehome.org and www.advocatesforyouth.org.