A recent study by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion indicates that teens are using condoms better than the adults age 40 and older, but overall only one in three intercourse encounters use condoms among singles.
“Parents are often waiting until long after their kids have been exposed to sexual health before discussing it and they aren’t being specific enough,” said Alison Gaulden, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. “Parents think they’re talking to their kids, but only 19 percent of teens say they are. And the over-40 set needs to walk the talk: The study shows they are increasingly getting STDs because in new dating situations they only think pregnancy and not disease.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, Nevada has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. Nevada ranked first with 113 births per 1,000 among 15- to 19-year-olds. There has also been a rising trend of sexually transmitted infections (STI) throughout the country. Planned Parenthood in Nevada offers low-cost check ups, STI testing as well as counseling for pregnant women. Planned Parenthood’s education programs offer assistance and help with pregnant teens as well as educational programs about safe sex.
Planned Parenthood believes learning about sexual health as early as age 5 can help kids make the right decisions in life.
Planned Parenthood recommendations for talking to kids:
By the age of 5 a parent can explain to their child how the bodies of girls and women are different from the bodies of boys and men. Also they can explain the correct names for all the body parts, including sex and reproductive organs.
Between the ages of 5 to 7 parents can talk about the fact that all people, including our parents and grandparents, are sexual. They may also talk about the fact that we all live through a life cycle that has a beginning and an end and includes sexuality at all ages.
Adolescent development is a big opportunity to talk to your children if you haven’t already. Pre-teenagers need information before reaching high school. Children ages of 8 to 12 can be taught that puberty starts at different times for girls and boys and for different individuals. They can also be taught how to talk about and practice safer sex.
During the teen years, from 13 to 18, media exposure and advice from friends may not be the best way to learn about sex. Parents can provide their teens with information regarding the fact that everyone has the right not to have sex. They can also learn how to be assertive when refusing sex play or insisting on using birth control and safer sex.
These tips and more can be found on planned parenthood.org.