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Talking to your kids about sex

In talking with your child or adolescent, it is helpful to:

By developing open, honest and ongoing communication about responsibility, sex, and choice, parents can help their youngsters learn about sex in a healthy and positive manner.

What Kind of Questions Can You Expect from Young People?

Questions asked by preschoolers (ages three to five):

Questions asked by children and preteens (ages six to 12):

Questions asked by teens (ages 13 to 18):

10 Tips for Parents for Talking about the Facts of Life
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.

To help, here are 10 tips from the experts at Advocates for Youth. Parents should:

1. First, encourage communication by reassuring kids that they can talk to them about anything.
2. Take advantage of teachable moments. A friend's pregnancy, news article, or a TV show can help start a conversation.
3. Listen more than they talk. They should think about what they're being asked. They should also confirm with their child that what they heard is in fact what he or she meant to ask.
4. Not jump to conclusions. The fact that a teen asks about sex does not mean they are having or thinking about having sex.
5. Answer questions simply and directly. Give factual, honest, short, and simple answers.
6. Respect their child's views. They should share their thoughts and values and help their child express theirs.
7. Reassure young people that they are normal, as are their questions and thoughts.
8. Teach their children ways to make good decisions about sex and coach them on how to get out of risky situations.
9. Admit when they don't know the answer to a question. Parents can suggest the two of them find the answer together on the Internet or in the library.
10. Discuss that at times their teen may feel more comfortable talking with someone other than them. Together, parents and kids can think of other trusted adults with whom they can talk.

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