USA Today (10.13.11) - Friday, October 14, 2011
Even when the conversation is uncomfortable, parents need to
keep talking to their teens about sex, say experts in sexual
There is "never going to be any positive reinforcement for
talking to kids about sex," said clinical psychologist Sharon
Maxwell of Canton, Mass. "They don't want to talk to you about
it; it embarrasses them." But, "When [kids] say they got sex
education in school, you can say: 'You got the biology, but
you didn't get the ethics of it. You did not get what's going
to make you feel good as a person.'"
The goal for parents "should be to give kids information, not
to extract information from them about 'What are you doing?
How far have you gone?'" said Amber Madison, author of
"Talking Sex with Your Kids." "Even if kids act like they
don't care about what they're saying, they do. Even if they
act like they're not listening, they probably are."
"Parents say they have difficulty, but the reality is with a
little practice, it's not that hard. Stand in front of a
mirror. Practice with your partner. Get used to saying various
words," said Fred Kaeser, a former director of health for New
York City public schools and author of "What Your Child Needs
to Know About Sex (and When)."
Federal data released Wednesday find that for both sexes, a
"significantly smaller percentage" of teens had had sex if
they lived with both parents at age 14; if the mother had her
first child at age 20 or older; if the mother was a college
graduate; or if the teen currently lived with both parents.
Thirty-five percent of girls surveyed who lived with both
parents reported being sexually active, compared to 54 percent
of those in any other living arrangement.