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. 30, 2017
See more In-depth
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- Start the conversation. American Sexual Health Association. http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/parents/how-to-start-the-conversation/. Accessed May 22, 2017.
- Getting your period. Girlshealth.gov. https://www.girlshealth.gov/body/period/index.html. Accessed May 22, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Especially for teens FAQ041. Your changing body: Puberty in girls (especially for teens). American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy. Accessed June 27, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Especially for teens FAQ042. You and your sexuality (especially for teens). American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy. Accessed June 27, 2017.
- Ashcraft AM, et al. Talking to parents about adolescent sexuality. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2017;64:305.
- Biro FM, et al. Normal puberty. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2017.
- LGBT: Families. Youth.gov. http://youth.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth/families. Accessed May 22, 2017.
- Potter J, et al. Predictors of parental knowledge of adolescent sexual experience: United States, 2012. Preventive Medicine Reports. 2017;6:94.
- Laughlin-Tommaso SK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 12, 2017.