Magazine article Newsweek

Beyond the Birds and Bees; It's More Important Than Ever for Parents and Kids to Communicate about Sex. What to Say and When

Magazine article Newsweek

Beyond the Birds and Bees; It's More Important Than Ever for Parents and Kids to Communicate about Sex. What to Say and When

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Springen

A few decades ago, many parents were content to let their kids learn about the birds and bees from pals on the playground. These days, smart parents know that straight talk on sex can ease some of the confusion surrounding puberty and help their kids make sound choices later on.

The stakes have never been higher. Each year in the United States, more than 800,000 girls 19 and younger get pregnant and over 4 million teens contract sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea. In the old days, "the only way you could die from having sex," jokes Lynda Madaras, a sex educator and author of "What's Happening to My Body?," "is if your parents found out and they killed you." Today unprotected sex can lead to infertility and a life-threatening disease like HIV.

Parents shouldn't wait until the junior prom to sit their kids down for The Talk. By then, it may well be too late. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance study, 7.4 percent kids have already had sexual intercourse by the time they turn 13. Instead, experts say, introduce the subject of sex in small doses. "Make it into an ongoing conversation," say Michael McGee, vice president for education for Planned Parenthood. Up to the age of 4, teach kids the names of their body parts; from 4 to 8, explain how babies are made; from 8 to 12, explain what physical changes to expect; from 12 on, talk about decision making, sexual health and protection, suggests Dr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.