NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–October 17, 2013. October marks Let’s Talk Month, aimed at getting families talking about topics related to sexuality — including relationships, bodies and body image, reproduction, gender and sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and preventing pregnancy and STDs. This year, Planned Parenthood is encouraging teens to have conversations with their parents or other trusted adults about these important topics. To help, Planned Parenthood has introduced a video and an interactive digital tool that teens can use to make conversations with their parents about sex and relationships easier.
“Talking with parents and asking questions about sexuality and relationships doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or awkward,” said PPFA Vice President of Education Leslie Kantor. “Teens may worry that their parents will react negatively, but most parents welcome the chance to talk about these issues. It’s important for both teens and parents to know that it’s OK to be nervous — and that talking about relationships and sexuality gets easier the more you do it.”
A survey released last year from Planned Parenthood and Family Circle magazine, with assistance from the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health at New York University, found that teens are much less comfortable talking to their parents about topics related to sex than parents are talking with their teens. Half of parents reported being very comfortable talking with their teen son or daughter about sexuality, while only 18 percent of teens reported being very comfortable talking with their parent.
To help reduce that discomfort and encourage young people to have conversations with their parents, Planned Parenthood has produced:
a digital tool called ‘Awkward or Not?’ designed to help young people feel more comfortable talking with their parents about sexuality (Teens can take a quiz on their cell phone or computer that allows them to explore their feelings about communicating with their parents and offers encouragement and tips to start talking.);
a humorous video, ‘How to Talk with Your Parents about Sex’, with some do’s and don’ts about bringing up sexuality topics with parents; and
“Parenting Tips”, a series of interactive videos on talking to your teens about sex and relationships;
a fact sheet and information on parent-child communication and a tip sheet on talking to your kids; and
Parents and teens can also use the “Talk About It” app, created by projectCAP (a teen pregnancy prevention program of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes) and designed to spark conversation.
Communicating about sex and relationships is a good way for parents and teens to connect and learn about each other’s lives and feelings. When teens talk with their parents about relationships and sex, parents are better able to help and support them in the decisions they make. Teens can also get good advice and information that they can trust — including information about sexual health, preventing STDs and unintended pregnancy, and keeping themselves safe.
“Teens and parents both have critical roles to play in having ongoing conversations about sex and relationships,” said Kantor. “Teens want to hear what their parents have to say about sexuality and relationships. Conversations between parents and teens can make a real difference. Studies show that teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex wait longer to begin having sex and are more likely to use condoms and other birth control methods when they do become sexually active.”
There are many ways teens can initiate conversations with their parents or other trusted adults. For example, they can:
use TV shows, movies, or music that touch on issues of sexuality as natural moments to bring up questions;
ask parents about their teen years, and how things were different or similar for them around dating and relationships; and
text their parents instead of bringing up the topic face to face.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of sex education, offers resources, guidance, and encouragement to teens and parents who are unsure about how to talk about relationships and sex. Every year, Planned Parenthood provides educational programs to more than a million people of all ages, and every day, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide high-quality sex education programs.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With nearly 750 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.