It’s nearly the end of October — deemed “Let’s Talk Month” which encourages parents to speak to their kids about sex and apparently a majority of parents are. Planned Parenthood reports that 82% of parents are having conversations with their kids around issues of sexuality. Yet, regarding other issues like birth control and how to say no to sex altogether, parents are keeping quiet.
Moms and dads are reportedly not afraid of discussing romantic relationships or their own attitudes about sex. While 94% believe they are influential in their child’s decision to use condoms or other forms of birth control, only 60% are talking about birth control with their kids. These findings are compounded with only 74% talking about how to say no to sex. Pretty high, but not high enough when it comes to influencing children’s understanding of rape and consent.
Planned Parenthood also learned the following:
- 43% percent of parents say they feel very comfortable talking with their children about sex and sexual health. However, 57% said they only feel somewhat comfortable or uncomfortable talking to their children about sex and sexual health.
- 93% of parents feel confident about their ability to influence whether or not their child has sex. However, most of those same parents — 64% — say their own mothers and fathers did a poor job educating them about sex and sexual health.
- Parents overwhelmingly support sex education programs in high school and middle school, and believe that they should cover a range of topics, including birth control.
Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, professor at NYU Silver School of Social Work, told the organization that previous studies indicate that children whose parents communicate effectively about sex are more like to delay sex, have fewer partners, and use contraception. He said in a statement:
“This poll shows that parents are very concerned about keeping their kids safe and healthy…It’s clear that it is extremely important for parents to lay the groundwork early and talk to their kids often and openly. Parents need clear guidance on how to make conversations about sex with their adolescent children effective.”
Whether you’re using a wooden penis and cloth vagina to get your point across, or stressing to your sons as well as your daughters about the importance of condoms, get your message across. If their information about sex isn’t coming from you, they could be getting all kinds of misinformation from elsewhere.