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Part 4 - Sex Education…Getting The Facts Straight:: What YOU Need To Know Befoe Having "The Talk" With Your Child

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Experiencing your child grow into adulthood is both exciting and difficult, and not just on your, but also on him/her.

Your son/daughter is going through some extreme emotional and physical changes all the while trying to make sense out of it all and trying to “do the right thing” while constantly and consistently being bombarded by mixed signals from friends, family and the media.

The key to helping your teen understand and develop a healthy sexuality and sexual identity is by first understanding the emotional nature of the subject and effectively address any fallacious postulations. Know your child, what he or she is going through and be ready, willing and able to clarify any confusion. You may want to start by getting a refresher course in “sex education” and getting YOUR facts straight.

True or False: Explicit sexual discussions, information and access to contraception increase sexual promiscuity and behavior.

False: According to statistics, knowledge is power. In fact, studies indicate that advise on options including protection and abstinence revealed no increase in sexual interest or activity. In fact, some programs actually helped teens abstain longer, be more eclectic in their choice and number of partners, reduced the rate of unplanned pregnancies, and lowered the rate of sexually transmitted diseases.

True or False: Teen pregnancy is a growing North American phenomenon.

True: And the numbers seem to be increasing. During the 1950s statistics show the rate at 90 teen births per 1,000 young women between 15 and 19, a rate that dropped to 50 by 1991 but rose again to 62. The primary difference is in the proportion of unwed teen mothers. According to statistics, only 15 percent of teen moms were unwed in 1960, a figure that rose to 76 percent by 1996.

True or False: Teens want to keep their life and sex life private, especially from their parents.

False: While they don’t always say it or show it, most pre-teens and teens hold their parents in high regard and value their input and opinion. Furthermore, research shows that adolescents indicate their parents as their most trusted, reliable and preferred source of personal information, especially regarding sex and health. When polled, young girls indicated lack of communication with their parents as the primary source for teen sexual activity and pregnancy.

True or False: Teen pregnancy is lower, only due to an increase in teen abortion.

False: Statistics show that along with a decrease in teen birth rate, there has also been a decrease in teen abortion. The number in fact show that (between 1990 and 1995) the rate has dropped from 41 to 30 abortions per 1,000 females ages 15-19.

True or False: Most adults (in the United States) condone availability of teen contraception.

True: Seventy three percent of the mass majority of adults affirm their consent for administering contraception to sexually active teens and adolescents. However an overwhelming number (over 90 percent) also express the necessity for teaching today’s youth the importance and merits of abstinence.

True or False: Sexual intercourse and pregnancy is most prevalent and problematic in minority communities and populations.

False: Teen pregnancy transcends socio-economic, racial and ethnic barriers. According to statistics about 1 million adolescent women per year conceive. A little over half those pregnancies result in births; one third in abortions, and approximately one sixth in miscarriage. Subsequently the United States has the highest teen pregnancy, teen birth, and teen abortion rates of any industrialized nation. Statistics show that in 1997 nearly 45 percent of teen mothers (between the ages of 15-19) were Caucasian, 27 percent were African American, 25 percent were Latina, and 3 percent were from other racial or ethnic backgrounds. Additionally, statistics show that from 1991 to 1996, the teen birth rate for African Americans dropped drastically and is currently lowest among the Latina population.

Next: Part 5 - Let's Talk About Sex

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Part 4 - Sex Education…Getting The Facts Straight:: What YOU Need To Know Befoe Having "The Talk" With Your Child

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