Posted December 27th, 2012
Holidays are a perfect time for parents to start the conversation with their kids about sex. Gathering and connecting with loved ones at this time of year has everything to do with the importance of relationships including love, respect, and honesty. With the extended vacation time, it is a golden opportunity to look for teachable moments. Parent Action for Healthy Kids suggests five tips to help parents have “The Talk” about sex with their kids during the holiday vacation:
Use extended vacation time to look for door openers to conversation
Kissing under the mistletoe is a perfect lead-in to talk to kids about the different things a kiss can mean. Another door opener could be Grandma and Grandpa telling the story of when they first fell in love.
Model healthy relationships with friends and family
During holiday events, model healthy relationships by sharing what each of those relationships mean and why they are important. This will build a healthy foundation for relationships later in life.
Be open about your values, attitudes and beliefs about sex
This might be uncomfortable, however, don’t underestimate the great need that kids feel, at all ages, for close relationships with their parents and for their parents’ guidance, approval, and support.
Ask open ended questions to see what your child is thinking
By getting more than a “yes” or “no” answer a parent has the opportunity to provide not only facts and knowledge but also their values.
Make a conscious effort to stay calm
It is very important to stay calm, take a deep breath, and respect and listen to a child’s questions and concerns about sex.
Resist seeing this holiday conversation as a onetime “talk” but rather as an 18 year conversation. Parents are the primary sexuality educators of their kids. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, age appropriate conversations about relationships and intimacy should begin early in a child’s life and continue through adolescence. Continued communication at home is vital in helping our young people avoid sexual relationships they are not yet prepared for that may have serious consequences including pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
Parents who want to gain more knowledge in talking with their kids about sex are invited to register for the Talk Early & Talk Often Parent Connection Conference being held in March 2013 in Livonia, Michigan. This conference will be the first ever sex education conference just for parents. For additional information and to register, visit www.parentactionforhealthykids.org.
Parents can also ask questions, discuss thoughts, ideas or concerns 24/7 on Parent Action for Healthy Kids on Facebook or @ParentAction on Twitter with hashtag #ParentActionTETO (Talk Early & Talk Often).
It’s never too late to build on a relationship. Use the warmth of this holiday season to find conversation starters and connect with your kids.
Talk Early & Talk Often (TETO) was developed by Parent Action for Healthy Kids with support from the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Department of Education. Since its roll out in 2005, it has received high praise from parents and media. The initiative has now expanded from workshops across the state of Michigan to a nationwide TETO Parent Community social network. In March 2013, a conference exclusively for parents, The Talk Early & Talk Often Parent Connection Conference, will be held in Livonia, Michigan.