Let’s Talk Month is over, but sexual health conversations don’t need to stop there. The national public education campaign is celebrated in October and coordinated by Advocates for Youth. Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) encourages parents and care givers to continue talking with youth about how to make good decisions about sex, contraception and pregnancy.
- Parents are the best sexuality educators for their children.
- Teens consistently say that parents most influence their decisions about sex.
- Parents want to be good sex educators, but may not always know how.
- It is possible to be an askable adult.
According to the 2013 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey, the average age of students who first had oral sex or sexual intercourse was 15 ½. By 12th grade, 47% of students had engaged in oral sex, 40% in sexual intercourse and 37% in sexting. “We know it can be difficult to have conversations about sensitive topics, but it is important for parents to talk with their children about abstinence and sexuality,” said Heather Alberda, OCDPH Sexuality Educator
10 Tips for Parents
- Be open.
- Be the expert.
- Be accessible.
- Be trusting.
- Stay calm.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Listen to your teen.
- Put yourself in their shoes.
- Appeal to common goals.
- Show your interest.