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Parents Encouraged to Talk Sex With Their Children

Parents Encouraged to Talk About Sex With Their Children

17 May, 2006

Family Planning says Youth Week is a chance for parents to take some extra time to connect with their kids and if they haven’t already - talk about sex and sexuality.

Family Planning Association Director, Health Promotion and Professional Development, Frances Bird, says communication is a key element of all healthy relationships and parents should make sure their kids have all the facts. Youth Week could be a good time for parents to raise the subject.

Ms Bird says the personal and private nature of sexuality issues often means parents and young people find this conversation difficult. Unfortunately it is misinformation and the reluctance to talk openly that causes many of the problems.

“We need to get to a point where sex is discussed openly and honestly, if we are to have any chance of eliminating fear, guilt and ignorance.

“We’re not encouraging young people to have sex - we are saying let’s be realistic, make sure youth have all the facts and know how to keep themselves and their partners safe if they do decide to have sex, “ Ms Bird said.

The theme of Youth week is Re:Define Challenge Youth Stereotypes and Ms Bird said it was an opportunity for parents to break a stereotype of themselves.

“Let young people know we are not old and out of touch, by being more realistic about their issues. Talk openly and honestly about positive relationships and give them the information about contraception and safer sex. Talk to them about delaying sexual relationships until they feel able to manage them,” Ms Bird said.

“We know that when young people are well informed about these issues and have good access to clinical services, that the outcomes are better and this is evidenced in a country like the Netherlands which has comparatively low unplanned pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infection rates.

“New Zealand has some of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy and STI rates in the OECD and one of the first steps in addressing this is to ensure young New Zealanders have access to comprehensive sexuality education.

“Parents and caregivers have a key role to play here and having the conversations, that at first might seem awkward and embarrassing, will inevitably lead to parents and children having a greater understanding of themselves and each other.”

Family Planning is involved in several Youth Week activities including a youth expo in Napier and a youth summit in Auckland.


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