A Letter to Parents
Thanks for stopping by StayTeen.org—we're glad you decided to check us out.
We understand how hard it is to talk about things like sex and love with your teens—it's one of the most difficult conversations you can have. It's true that kids get their information from a thousand different sources—but if they're not getting it from YOU, then how can you expect them to make choices that you would be proud of? As a parent, you have a critical impact on your child and how they navigate the difficult and complicated waters of being a teen—but for them to know your thoughts on sex and pregnancy, you have to talk to them. Consider this: every time we ask, teens tell us that their parents are by far the most important influences in their lives. Not peers, not partners, and not pop culture. Their parents. So, even though it may seem that they hate you or want nothing to do with you, that is definitely not the case.
Stay Teen and The National Campaign believe that educating children about sex and love is a lifelong conversation. Some things to keep in mind when you're talking to your children about these touchy issues:
- Talk to your children honestly about sex, love, and relationships. Just because your children are young doesn't mean that they can't fall in love or be deeply interested in sex. These feelings are very real and powerful to them, just as they are to you. Help them handle their feelings in a safe way—without getting hurt or hurting others.
- Just saying "No Sex. Ever" is not enough. Explain why you feel that way, and ask your children what they think. Tell them how you felt as a teen. Listen to them and take their opinions seriously. And try to avoid the dreaded lecture.
- Being curious doesn't mean that they're sexually active. Just because your children have questions for you about sex does not mean that they're sexually active. They may just be curious, or they may want to talk with someone they trust. Be happy that they are coming to you and answer them calmly and without judgment. If you don't know the answer to their questions, tell them—no one, least of all your son or daughter, expects you to be a biology text book or an expert on sex. And don't think that giving teens information about sex and birth control will encourage them to have sex. They're smarter than that.
If you need more tips or resources, we invite you to visit The National Campaign's webpage for parents, which has even more great information. We know that you love your family very much and we wish you the best of luck!