It's probably one of the most difficult and fear-inducing conversation to have with your kids--the sex talk.
You may think that putting it off until you feel comfortable is the answer but that method usually fails to impact your kids in the right way.
In fact, research has shown that speaking to your kids early and often about sex can lead to some positive outcomes.
Related: When Did Dating Become a Dirty Word?
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the U.S. teen birth rate dropped by 44% (in the ten-year period) from 1991-2010. These statistics are attributed in part due to "strong pregnancy prevention messages" directed at teens.
On the flipside one study found that 40% of kids reported they had sexual intercourse prior to any discussion of sexually transmitted diseases, condom use or birth control options.
This statistic should invoke more fear than the "talk" itself.
Aside from sexual education at school and chatter with peers, messages from home are the ones kids will get--so it's time parents start talking. There is no right or wrong way to start a discussion about sex but there are some methods that might take the edge off--for both parties.
Teen parenting and GalTime expert Dr. Barbara Greenberg suggests a more casual approach when you sit down to talk sex with your child.
Here are her thoughts on broaching the subject:
Show articles about sex to your teens and get their opinion so then it's not about them.
Watch a TV show like Teen Moms or another program containing sexual themes with them once or twice so you can have a conversation.
Listen to their music and discuss the sexuality in it with them.
Ask them what their learning in health class.
Tell them about sex trends that you've heard about and ask their thoughts--like oral sex etc.
Dr. Greenberg's message is clear--make it a conversation, not a confrontation.
However you choose to talk to your kids about sex, make sure you do and make sure you do it with respect for the subject matter and your kids.
How did you handle "the talk?" If you haven't yet, what are your concerns?
More from GalTime.com:
- Teaching Our Co-Ed Girls About One-Night Stands vs Relationships
- Back to School Anxiety: Helping Teens Navigate the Social Scene
- Helicopter Parenting: Tips on Letting Go
- 6 Foolproof Ways to Get Your Teens Talking
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Tara Weng is the national editor of parenting and health for GalTime. She is also a media consultant with a focus on medical and consumer topics. Her professional experience includes a stint as a medical/features producer at the NBC affiliate in Boston, MA and a media relations position at a top teaching hospital in Boston. Tara has also done public relations consulting work and has written for several online and print media outlets. She is a wife and a mother to two children (who are fantastic) and an enthusiastic New England sports fan.