My three children are years away from their teens but yet I know that soon enough, the sex talk has to happen. Not the biological stuff -- I explained how the reproductive organs worked as soon as they could understand on a basic level.
If a 5-year-old wants to know how his eyes work, why not his penis too, if he's curious (and they are!)?
Talking about the ins and outs of the sexual organs is easy. It's sexuality and actually talking about choices that isn't so carefree.
We want our children to know that we are always there for them and that includes any time they might ever get into trouble via relationships or sexual activity.
But when do we hand them condoms or put them on the Pill? Are we protecting them from "just in case" or are we giving them carte blanche to go ahead to become sexually active?
That's something all parents need to think about.
In the medical world, so much is spoken of in terms of prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as Ben Franklin said. One excellent way to help prevent pregnancy and disease or infection in teens is the use of condoms -- and their doctors agree.
CNN recently wrote about a statement made by a group of pediatricians in the journal Pediatrics. They wrote:
"Although abstinence of sexual activity is the most effective method for prevention of pregnancy and STIs (sexually transmitted infections), young people should be prepared for the time when they will become sexually active. When used consistently and correctly, male latex condoms reduce the risk of pregnancy and many STIs, including HIV."
While the facts of this statement are common knowledge, a statement like this is not often seen due to the potential for stirring up controversy. In other words, parents could think that doctors are encouraging sex in teenagers.
Teen pregnancies are down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have stated that the numbers from 2011 are 8 percent lower than 2010 -- a very significant change in just one year. But still, 329,797 babies were born to teenagers ages 15-19 in 2011, a number that is still relatively high.