Sexual Health Information for Parents

As a parent, you shape your child's health in many ways. In addition to acting as a role model, you can provide your child with both care and information. It may be awkward or difficult to play this role when it comes to sexuality, but remember—your child's sexual health is an important part of their overall well-being.

What You Should Do

Communicate with your teen

Research has shown that parents who actively and positively communicate with their kids may reduce the onset of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and HIV. Communicate honestly and openly about important issues. Talk to your kids early and often about sex, and be specific. Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes. Talk to them about such things as school, self-esteem, and internet safety, and be sure you know where they are and who their friends are. more

Make sure your teen has a healthcare provider

Even though teens may seem healthy, they need a doctor or other healthcare provider to give them regular care. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the best choice for teenagers, but some teens need reproductive health services to provide them with information and resources to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Support comprehensive sex education in schools

Sex education that discusses both abstinence and contraception encourages teens to delays teen sexual activity. Comprehensive sex education also provides teens with information about birth control and how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, which can protect them if they are sexually active.

Let your kids know that you value education more broadly, too. Children who value education are less likely to engage in risky behavior. more

Set clear expectations and limits for dating

Discourage early, frequent and steady dating. Group activities are fine. Allowing your child to begin steady, one-on-one dating before age 16 can cause problems. Developmentally there is no need for teens to begin one-on-one dating before age 16.

Take a strong stance against your son or daughter dating an older partner. The power and maturity differences between younger girls and older boys or men can lead girls into risky situations, including unwanted sex, sex with no protection, and even abuse. This can happen to boys as well.

Support your child's sexual identity

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQQ) teens have often spent months, if not years, figuring out their identities, and sharing with their parents can be difficult. If your child comes out to you, it is important to continuing support them as you always have.