Survey shows teens are not ready to have the sex talk with parents
To reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among young people, it's important for parents and educators to talk to teens about the dangers of unprotected sex. However, according to a recent survey sponsored by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University and Family Circle magazine, many teens are uncomfortable with the idea of having this talk with their parents.
USA Today reported on the study, which found that while 50 percent of mothers and fathers feel some sort of unease about talking to their teenage children about sex, 82 percent of teens said they were uncomfortable. Furthermore, when it comes to issues such as how to say "no" to sex, teen pregnancy and sexting, 90 percent of teens said that their parents had never broached these topics.
What was particularly concerning about the survey was that one in six teens said that their parents had never talked to them at sex at all.
"When teens are making important decisions about their lives, like whether or not to have sex, they actually want guidance, and are absolutely interested in their parents providing them perspective," said Vincent Guilamo-Ramos of New York University's Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, quoted by the news source. "Parents are influential. Somehow we've missed that."
Discovery Health recommends that parents start the conversation by asking their teens what they have been hearing about sex. For example, ask them what their teachers and peers are saying about sex, and if they have been pressured into doing anything they are uncomfortable with. It's important to let them talk, and encourage them to ask any questions they may have. Finally, be sure to tell them that any feelings they are having about sex are normal, and they shouldn't be ashamed.