If only talking to kids about sex was that simple.
“As a parent, you play the most important role in preventing your child's risk-taking behaviors,” said Beth Kaper, parent educator with North Star Youth Partnership. “Talk to your kids about risk-taking behaviors. It may sound scary, but it’s not as scary as leaving it to their friends and the media.”
Our kids are inundated with the message that experimenting with drugs, alcohol or sex is harmless. Popular television shows, song lyrics and social media constantly feed youth the message that ‘You Only Live Once’ (YOLO) and pushing the boundaries will bring them happiness or popularity.
Parents Make the Difference
As children reach their teen years they naturally pull away from their parents. Diane DeLong, senior program manager of North Star Youth Partnership, says that overall closeness between parents and their children, shared activities and parental presence in the home reduce the risk of early sex and teen pregnancy. “Teens who are close to their parents and feel supported by them are more likely to abstain from sex, wait until they are older to begin having sex, and have fewer sexual partners,” she said.
DeLong added that parents and caregivers need to teach their children about sexuality before their peers or the media does. Parents who clearly communicate the importance of delaying sex can help reduce the risk that their child will engage in sexual activity, contract sexually transmitted diseases or become pregnant.
No matter how uncomfortable, these conversations are important. The more often you talk to your children the more comfortable it will be.
Let’s Talk Month
To help parents begin these important discussions with their older children and teens, North Star Youth Partnership is offering free Let’s Talk workshops beginning in October and throughout the year. Churches, schools and agencies are all welcome to partner with North Star to host this workshop.
"These fun, interactive workshops help parents to build healthy relationships with their children, improve family communication and deal with today's issues,” said Kaper. “Topics include peer pressure, sex in the media, setting boundaries and more.”
To learn more or to schedule a free workshop for your group, please call 602-650-4888.