Responsibilities and consequences
Talk to your child about the emotional and physical consequences of becoming sexually active, such as pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and a range of feelings. Discussing these issues now can help your child avoid feeling pressured to become sexually active before he or she is ready. While you're telling your child about the dangers of sex, don't be afraid to mention the joys, too. Let your child know that sex can be beautiful in a loving, committed relationship.
Everyday moments are key
Use everyday opportunities to discuss sex. Teachable moments are everywhere. If there's a pregnancy in the family, talk about how a baby develops inside a woman's body. If you see a commercial for a feminine hygiene product, use it as a springboard to talk about periods. If a couple on a TV show begin dating, talk about relationships and falling in love.
Take your role in sex education seriously. Encourage your child to take care of his or her body, develop a healthy sense of self-respect, and seek information from trusted sources. Your thoughtful approach to sex education can help your child develop a lifetime of healthy sexuality.
Aug. 27, 2014
See more In-depth
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- How to start the conversation. American Sexual Health Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/parents/how-to-start-the-conversation.html. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Masturbation. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/puberty/Pages/Masturbation.aspx. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Talking to your kids about sex. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/talking_to_your_kids_about_sex. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 24, 2014.
- Beckett MK, et al. Timing of parent and child communication about sexuality relative to children's sexual behaviors. Pediatrics. 2010;125:33.
- How to talk to your kids about sexual health. American Sexual Health Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/parents/how-to-talk-to-your-kids.html. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Middle school. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-publications/info/parents/conversation-tools/question-and-answer/middle-school.html. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Concerns girls have about puberty. HealthyChildren.org. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/puberty/Pages/Concerns-Girls-Have-About-Puberty.aspx. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- What's happening to my body? HealthyChildren.org. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/puberty/Pages/Whats-Happening-to-my-Body.aspx. Accessed July 4, 2014.
- Getting your period. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.girlshealth.gov/body/period/#top. Accessed July 25, 2014.
- Questions and answers about sex. KidsHealth from Nemours. http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/questions_sex.html. Accessed July 25, 2014.