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Parents Talk To Kids About Sex Too Late

 
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ABC news reports on a new Harvard study, published in the medical journal, Pediatrics, which reveals that almost half of parents talk to their kids about safe sex too late.

Researchers surveyed teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 on how sexually active they were and on what they had discussed with their parents regarding sex and sex-related issues. 141 parents were also surveyed about the discussions they had had with their teens. The results suggested that parents are waiting too long to discuss sexual health with their kids: 40 percent waited to discuss safe sex with their kids AFTER their kids became sexually active.

Two thirds of sons said they didn't learn how to use a condom from their parents before becoming sexually active. Nearly a quarter of daughters said their parents hadn't discussed how to deal with resisting sexual pressure. Two in five said that their parents hadn't discussed contraception at all, or long after the girls had actually had sex. Other issues that weren't discussed in time included protecting against sexually transmitted diseases, and understanding when you're ready to have sex.

Dr. Mark Schuster of Children's Hospital Boston and co-author of the study says that parents "want to talk to kids but they don't know where to begin...they're afraid they'll make mistakes or don't know the facts, afraid to admit that their kids are growing up...they avoid the topic altogether."

There are some important implications that arise out of the study's results: namely, that parents may be trying to do the right thing by broaching a topic of conversation that may be difficult to have, but that at the end of the day, they're too late.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Thanks for the post. Anon-- I agree that parents can't provide ALL of the education but we cannot rely on others to do it for us. My mother never spoke to me about sex-- ever. She speaks about it freely with me now because I'm a woman and I have a child. As a teen it was never actually brought up so I had to learn everything from my peers and sex ed class. Peers are not a great way to get your education because they are hormonal creatures who think that sex is the ultimate act. My mom was lucky with me because I waited until I was 18 to have sex but for the most part, not talking about it would've backfired on someone else. I talk about it with my younger sister many times and whenever she has a question I answer directly. She is 14 years old and I don't find the need to beat around the bush with her.

I will talk about it with my kids because I don't want my 11 year old to come home from school and put me in an uncomfortable position the first time it's brought up. They should be educated on the subject because if they do decide to have sex at an early age, they should know the dangers and moral implications.

December 10, 2009 - 6:30am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Parents can't provide all the needed education for everyone. We also just learned from another Pediatrics study that 38% of adolescent girls who ever had sex have a sexually transmitted infection - and the incidence is higher among the poor and minorities. I discussed this on the Family Inequality blog at: http://familyinequality.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/teaching-too-late/

December 9, 2009 - 7:09pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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