Parents! It’s that time of year again, time to purchase school supplies, and the latest fashions for your child’s new school year. Excitement is in the air with orientation, class schedules and fingers crossed hoping to get their “favorite teacher”. While you are diligently preparing for the arrival of the new school year, have you had “the talk” with your child?
The Talk? Really? It’s too early for that!
Studies show that the number one factor in healthy sexual decision-making for adolescents is good communication and close relationships between a child and parent (or other trusted adult). I believe parenting is one of the most important things we do as human beings and good communication is an important parenting skill. When parents talk to and affirm the value of their children, their children are more likely to develop positive, healthy attitudes about themselves.
I understand from personal experience that talking about sex with your child is not easy; however, it may be the best thing you can do to prevent teen pregnancy and promote healthy relationships. Here are a few tips:
• Start young. Maintaining a relationship with your child is easier than starting one from scratch when they hit their teens. You may find them trying to pull away once they hit a certain age; just keep at it.
• Find common ground. Search for things that you and your teen are both interested in. It’s easier to talk about something that you both have in common. That way, you can ask your child about their favorite artist’s new hit song rather than the same old “how was school?”
• Listen and keep an open mind. When you get your teen talking, don’t be surprised if they say some things you don’t like. Just be open to what they’re telling you instead of being judgmental. You can tell them you don’t approve of something without attacking them. If they feel comfortable talking about serious things, they’ll be more likely to come to you if they have a problem.
Positive communication between parents and their children can help young people establish individual values and make healthy decisions. Initiating conversations about the facts of life may be difficult for some parents because they did not grow up in an environment where the subject was discussed. Some parents may be afraid they do not know the right answers or feel confused about the proper amount of information to offer. Fortunately for those parents there is a lot of help out there.
Here are some resources to help you have a great start to a new school year: