Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Let’s talk about sex: Part 1

I’ve been reading a lot of research studies lately that focus on how parents talking with their kids about sex impacts the choices that those kids make. Over and over again, I’m reading that when parents take the time to talk with their children about sex, it tends to increase the age of first sexual encounter and the adoption by the child of values and beliefs that prevent future risk taking. In several studies, the fact that parents had open conversations about sex with their kids decreased the chances that their child would engage in risky sexual behaviors.

As a parent, this seems to be important information to me. Engaging in risky sexual behaviors increases my child’s risk of both emotional and physical harm. So, whatever I can do to decrease that kind of behavior is something I want to know more about. In the next few blog posts, we’ll explore how we talk to our kids about sex, what makes it difficult to do so, and what kinds of things kids need and want to hear.

So, how about you. What are the conversations that are most difficult for you to have with your child about sex? Or, if you’re a teenager, what kinds of topics are hardest for you to talk about with your parents?

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2 comments on “Let’s talk about sex: Part 1

  1. Kay
    March 31, 2010

    I was never close to my parents and thought that it was because they were a little bit older (even though I am SUPER close with my mom now). As I got older, I realized that it didn’t matter a parent’s age, it is the line of communication. We have worked VERY hard at having that – I think that we do – we talk about EVERYTHING (appropriate) with our girlies. My husband has a wonderful relationship with our girls and our oldest actually tells him some things that she doesn’t tell me. We are lucky, too, because my mom is very involved in our daily lives and the girls talk to her too. One of the things that I am just recently seeing is that my oldest (6th grade – Middle School)just about bursts when she gets in the car to tell whichever of us that picks her up whatever has happened that day – good or bad. This is a great way for me to find out what is really happening with her and be able to discuss different issues with her. Ironically, it used to drive me nuts when I would pick her up and ask her about her day and she wouldn’t really answer or say “I don’t want to talk about it right now” – she started that in PRE SCHOOL!! I would just reply, “Ok, I’d love to hear about it when you want to tell me…” I realize now that this must have let her know (repeatedly) that I WANT to know about her day and what is going on but I was not going to FORCE her to tell me – I guess whether I knew it or not, I was creating a safe time for sharing! Phew, glad of that one! We certainly have our flaws but thought that I would share that one thing that I have just figured out!
    K
    PS – After I talked to Addi about sex, her response was “Does MiMi know y’all have done that???” :o)

  2. drshew
    March 31, 2010

    It seems like you’ve stumbled upon one of the most important parts of communication with our kids, which is having that open door. When they truly believe that they can come to us with any question,concern, etc. and we’re there to listen and share, we provide them with a safe place to explore things.

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This entry was posted on March 30, 2010 by in Talking and tagged , , , .
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