Children will learn about sex whether you want them to or not.
Sex is everywhere around us - in magazines and newspapers, in
advertisements and soap operas. Children and young people also
learn about sex from each other - and what gets passed on in the
playground may not be accurate or what parents want them to
All these confusing messages may lead young people into
situations they don't know how to deal with. As a parent you have
an important role in making sure your child has the right
information and skills to cope with these pressures.
You might feel concerned that by discussing sex and
relationships, particularly at an early age, you will encourage
your children to start having sex when they're very young. But
research has proved that the opposite is true. In fact, teenagers
from families where parents talk frankly about sex wait until they
are older than others before they start having sex. And when they
do have sex for the first time, they are more likely to use
Most teenagers are sexually active before they graduate from
college. It is shocking to know that some young people are sexually
active as young as 11 or 12, although the average age for first sex
is 17. The fact is that you can't always stop your teenagers from
having sex and many of them will do it anyway. What you can do is
to educate them about sex, pregnancy, sexually transmitted
infections, HIV/Aids and contraception.
If you feel uncomfortable or unsure about talking about sex with
your children, don't worry - this is a common reaction. But don't
let it put you off. Sex education shouldn't be a one-off talk but a
gradual process of communication. If your children grow up knowing
it's ok to discuss sex and the feelings they have with you, then
they're much more likely to come to you for support when they need
The UK has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe and
sexually transmitted infections are increasing among young people.
Giving your children support, information and help to feel good
about themselves can lessen the chances of both.
Young people will not always tell you if there is something that
is worrying them. You need to be attentive to their needs and let
them know that you are there and be prepared to listen.
If you think that your child is sexually active, ensure that
they know where to get the right information. If you think your
daughter may be pregnant or if she has told you that she is, ensure
she sees her GP.
What to say
Talk to your daughters about birth control. Make your sons aware
that pregnancy is not just a girl's problem.
Make sure that your teenagers know about, and practice, safe
sex. Remember it's not just about avoiding unplanned pregnancy but
also to avoid sexually transmitted infections.
Parentline Plus - 0808 800 2222
Brook Advisory Centres, 79-81 London Rd, Liverpool 0151 207
Family Planning Association - 0845 310 1334
- Southport - 01704 512515
- Netherton - 0151 523 2159
- Litherland - 0151 920 4389
- Your GP
View an extensive list of contacts about Sexual Health Information
for young people in Sefton.
Last Updated on 10/8/2012