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How to talk to your teen about sex.

Parents have a strong impact on whether a teenager makes healthy decisions. Sexual development is a normal part of the teen years. Your teen needs your help in understanding his or her feelings, peer pressure, and how to say no. Teens want to talk with their parents about sex and relationships.

Click here to watch a video about how to talk to your teen about sex.
Click here for tips to help break the cycle of teen pregnancy.

Facts

  • Some parents believe that talking about sex will lead teens to have sex. Research shows that teens who have talked with their parents about sex are more likely to postpone sex and to use birth control when they do begin.
  • Teens who have high self-esteem are more likely to make responsible decisions about sex.
  • Every hour 350 teens contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). 
  • Teens often overestimate the percentage of their peers who are sexually experienced.

Tips for Parents

  1. Provide your teens with accurate information and proper decision-making skills to help protect them from pressure to have sex, unintended pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  2. Don’t be afraid of admitting that talking about sex is difficult for you. Try to keep a sense of humor.
  3. Use TV, movies, articles and real-life situations such as a friend's pregnancy to begin talking about sex.
  4. Share your values regarding sex.
  5. Just because your teen asks about sex doesn’t mean he or she is necessarily thinking about having sex.
  6. Ask your teen what he or she wants to know about sex. If you don't know an answer, admit it. Find answers with your teen in books or other resources.
  7. Talk with your teen about reasons to wait to have sex.
  8. Reassure your teen that not everyone is having sex and that it is okay to be a virgin.
  9. Talk with your teen about ways to handle pressure from others to have sex. To feel comfortable talking openly with you, your teen needs to know that you will not punish him or her for being honest.
  10. Leave age-appropriate articles or books about teenage sexuality around your home  Teens will pick them up on their own and read them.
  11. Your first talk with your teen about sex should not be your last! Talk with your teen about sex on an ongoing basis. Let your teen know that you are always willing to talk about any question or concern he or she may have about sex.

If you are not comfortable talking with your teen about sex, come visit one of our clinics where we have qualified health-care professionals available to help answer his or her questions. Teens have the option of going with a parent or coming alone.  CLICK HERE TO FIND A CLINIC NEAR YOU.

Here are some additional websites where you can find information and tips to help you talk with your teen about sex, birth control, relationships, pregnancy and other related topics.

CDC’s Parent Portal

Advocates for Youth: Parents Sex Ed Center

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children: Teen Dating and Sex

National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: Parent’s Portal

Planned Parenthood Tools for Parents

Palo Alto Medical Foundation

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