SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (IN YOUNG GIRLS 8-16)
Sometimes it's difficult to see your child beyond the girl-turned-young-woman that she is. In many ways, teens today are growing up faster than ever. They learn about violence and sex through the media and their peers, but they rarely have all the facts. That's why it's so vital for you to talk to your kids about sexually transmitted diseases.
Teens especially are the groups most at-risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease. You can help your kids stay safe by talking to them and sharing some important information about STDs and prevention. Blame is most often placed on inadequate sex education, from parents and from schools focusing largely on abstinence-only programs.
Before you take on this sensitive subject, it's important you know what to say and when to say it.
Timing Is Everything
Don't think it's too late to talk to your kids about STDs. A late talk is better than no talk at all. The preteen years remain the best time to start having these discussions. No matter how old kids are, once they start having questions about sex; know it's a good time to talk about STDs.
Tips for Talking
To make talking about STDs a little easier for both you and your kids:
- Be informed. STDs can be a confusing and frightening subject. Ensure you're updated about STD transmission and prevention.
- Ask what your kids already know about STDs without interrupting or pushing too much.
- Kids often already know more than you realize. Parents need to provide accurate information so their children can make the right decisions to protect themselves.
- Encourage your kids to share any fears or concerns.
- Make sure your kids feel in charge by getting their opinions on what you discuss.
- Explain that the only sure way to remain STD-free is to not have sex or intimate contact with anyone outside of a committed, monogamous relationship with another person who has been abstinent themselves or tested and found clean – with abstinence since the time of testing as some STDs remain dormant and come the surface later down the road.
Finally, answering these questions and others as openly remains the best possible approach. Remember, it's up to you to correct any misinformation your kids may have learned. Always answer questions honestly without being overly dramatic. You want your kids to know that you're there to support and help, not judge.