11 Resources to Help Parents Talk About Sex

Written by on May 16, 2022

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. And while the efforts made by the nation, our state, and even within our own county have shown that the lessons have been effective, there is still a ton of work to be done. “The birth rate for youth ages 15 to 19 reached a historic low in 2014 and continues to decline. In fact, the United States has enjoyed an unprecedented decline in teen birth rates over the past decade, with births to American teens dropping more than 40% in the past decade. However, disparities still exist. According to the CDC, in 2017, non-Hispanic white teens had a birth rate of 13.2, while African American and Hispanics had a rate that was twice as high, and American Indian/Alaska Native teens had a rate that was almost 3 times as high” (Family and Youth Services Bureau, 2022).

How to Keep Teen Pregnancy On the Decline

As parents have probably learned by now, what you say and think and how you present it to your children matters. “Research shows that teens who talk with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control and pregnancy—

  • Begin to have sex at a later age.
  • Use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex.
  • Have better communication with romantic partners.
  • Have sex less often.” (CDC, 2020).

But what if you are uncomfortable having “the” talk with your children? What are your options?
There are several resources available on the CDC’s website that might be helpful, such as:

Birth Control: Information for Parents of Adolescents and STD Testing: Information for Parents of Adolescents from CDC’s Adolescent and School Health website. Most youth report discussing health topics with parents, including sexual and reproductive health. For these conversations to be effective, parents need to know about options to prevent unintended pregnancies, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including not having sex and using condoms and birth control.

Office of Adolescent Health: Talking with Teens Research confirms what young people already know—what their parents have to say matters to teens. That’s why parents play a powerful role in helping adolescents make healthy decisions about sex, sexuality, and relationships. But if you think talking to your son or daughter about sex is tough, or it makes you nervous, know that you’re not alone. Lots of other parents feel the same way.

CDC’s Parent Portal Information from across all of CDC for parents, covering everything from safety at home and in the community to immunization schedules and developmental milestones for ages 0–19 years.

Advocates for Youth A resource for parents with Frequently Asked Questions, information on the importance of parents as sex educators, and tips on talking with teens.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Healthy Children: Teen Dating and Sex Information is designed especially for parents about the information on all stages of child and adolescent development. This teen section provides information from pediatricians on talking with teens about numerous topics related to sex, sexuality, healthy relationships, and birth control.

Power to Decide’s Tips and Resources Tips and resources for talking with teens about sex and healthy relationships.

Planned Parenthood Tools for Parents Tools and information for parents on positive communication with teens to help them make healthy decisions about sex.

Find a family planning clinic near you Family planning clinics across the country are available to provide women and men with reproductive health care. This clinic locator is provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs (OPA). OPA serves as a focal point on a wide range of reproductive health care services and topics, including adolescent pregnancy, family planning, and other population issues.

Let’s Talk About Sexual Health Video for doctors and young adults on how to talk about sexual health.
(CDC, 2020).

Being open to talking with your child about sex from facts to peer pressure, to how to say “no” and safe sex methods available can go a long way. Even if your teen acts as if they aren’t listening, they hear you. It may be a bit uncomfortable to talk about, but keeping an open line of communication is going to help your teen from becoming a statistic in teen pregnancies.

CDC. Reproductive Health: Teen Pregnancy. 2020, July 20. https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/parent-guardian-resources/index.htm.
Family and Youth Services Bureau. Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program. 2022. https://teenpregnancy.acf.hhs.gov/resources/national-teen-pregnancy-prevention-month-digital-toolkit.




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