An American study has found that by the time most parents attempt to discuss sexual health with their children they are already sexually active. The study of 141 13- to 17-year-olds found that half of the teens surveyed had already engaged in sexual activities by the time their parents attempted to teach them about sex.

The study additionally found that more then 40% of teenagers had engaged in sexual intercourse before their parents had taught them about critical sexual health issues such as STDs and birth control. Boys were also found to be less likely to be properly educated about sex then girls.

Authors of the study highlighted that parents often overestimated how much they had taught their children. They suggested some tactics for parents to help educate their children properly:

  • Don’t dismiss your children’s questions about sex by telling them they’re too young, however do keep conversations age appropriate – conversations should focus on what your child is capable of absorbing, and what your child asks about.
  • Don’t try to educate your children in a single, long talk as you’re likely to miss important details, and they’re likely to forget – instead try approaching the topic whenever it comes up, for example when a TV show talks about issues such as pregnancy.
  • If you’re uncomfortable, admit to your children that teaching them about sex embarrasses you; however explain that you’re teaching them because it’s your responsibility as a parent.

Professor Mark Schuster, one of the authors of the study, explained why many children don’t approach their parents for advice about sex. “When you tell a child, ‘You’re not old enough for that’ or ‘Ask your mom,’ their questions don’t go away,” he said. “Instead, kids learn than that there’s this whole topic that ‘I’m not supposed to talk to my parents’ about. So they will go ask their friends at school. By the time they’re teenagers, the idea that they [would] talk to their parents about sex is inconceivable, when it’s parents who are exactly who they should be coming to.”

Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.

American study has found that by the time most parents attempt to discuss sexual health with their children they are already sexually active. The study of 141 13- to 17-year-olds found that half of the teens surveyed had already engaged in sexual activities by the time their parents attempted to teach them about sex.

The study additionally found that more then 40% of teenagers had engaged in sexual intercourse before their parents had taught them about critical sexual health issues such as STDs and birth control. Boys were also found to be less likely to be properly educated about sex then girls.

Authors of the study highlighted that parents often overestimated how much they had taught their children. They suggested some tactics for parents to help educate their children properly:

-Don’t dismiss your children’s questions about sex by telling them they’re too young, however do keep conversations age appropriate – conversations should focus on what your child is capable of absorbing, and what your child asks about.

-Don’t try to educate your children in a single, long talk as you’re likely to miss important details, and they’re likely to forget – instead try approaching the topic whenever it comes up, for example when a TV show talks about pregnancy.

-If you’re uncomfortable, admit to your children that teaching them about sex embarrasses you; however explain that you’re teaching them because it’s your responsibility as a parent.

Professor Mark Schuster, one of the authors of the study, explained why many children don’t ask their parents for advice about sex. “When you tell a child, ‘You’re not old enough for that’ or ‘Ask your mom,’ their questions don’t go away,” he said. “Instead, kids learn than that there’s this whole topic that ‘I’m not supposed to talk to my parents’ about. So they will go ask their friends at school. By the time they’re teenagers, the idea that they [would] talk to their parents about sex is inconceivable, when it’s parents who are exactly who they should be coming to.”

Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.