It’s crucial for teenagers to receive education on sexual health. Sexual health education is an essential component of physical and mental development. It not only impacts teens’ sexual behaviour, but also has a favourable impact on their health. It lowers the risk of harmful consequences from sexual behaviour, like unintended and undesired pregnancies, helps prevent sexually transmitted illnesses, and raises awareness about use of condoms and other forms of birth control when they do become sexually active.
When it comes to conversations about sexuality, raising awareness about prevention, testing, and treatment among teenagers is important. As parents, you are the single largest influence on their decisions about sex. Your teens turn to you as a trusted source of information, motivation, and skills to make healthy decisions about their sexual conduct.
The teen years are the gateway to adulthood. In this post, we share five important ways to educate your teenagers about medically accurate information on sexuality and sexual health.
1. Stay informed
Your adolescent is getting sexual health information from uninformed peers, movies, television, newspapers, and other social media. However, that information isn’t always meaningful, complete or accurate. It is important that you, as a parent, stay informed on health topics so you are ready to separate the myths from the facts and answer any questions that your teen may have. The more you are updated about the current sexual issues, the easier it will be to talk to your adolescent about them. Gather accurate and complete information from medically accurate resources to share with your teens.
2. Talk with your teen
It’s not always comfortable or easy talking about sex, relationships, and the prevention of HIV, STDs, and pregnancy. The prospect of talking about topics related to sexual health tends to create anxiety and apprehension. As a parent, however, it is important to talk regularly with your adolescent so that the information you provide can become the benchmarks against which teens measure other information about sexual activity. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that talking regularly with your adolescent topics such puberty, menstruation, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), reproduction, contraception, unplanned pregnancy, abortion, premarital sex, and homosexuality can have an incredibly positive impact.
3. Prepare for one-on-one time with a healthcare provider
Research suggests that parents should promote teens to have independent chats with their provider routinely. Not only is this an important step towards independence, but it can be an opportunity to ask questions and discuss openly and honestly about their overall health.
4. Work in tandem with their healthcare provider
Let your teen’s doctor know that you’re supportive of your adolescent receiving the whole gamut of clinical and counselling services on diverse adolescent health issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health (SRH) to risk-reduction counselling for preventing HIV, other STDs, and unintended pregnancy. Survey studies have demonstrated that when healthcare providers initiate sexual health discussions with adolescents, it offers to discuss various adolescent health issues and apprise them of various available adolescent friendly health services.
5. Keep the discussions with your teen honest
Parental discussions with children on puberty, menstruation, STDs, reproduction, contraception, unforeseen pregnancies, abortion, premarital sex, and homosexuality are important. Having an open conversation with your teenager is very important to help them make safer choices and have healthier outcomes. Speak truthfully and as matter-of-factly as possible with your teen. This can help them develop into a sexually mature adult. When your child asks a question or expresses concerns, don’t criticise or become irritated with them. Always keep in mind that sex education is a continuous and ongoing process and that brief repeated dialogues are preferable to infrequent, lengthy ones.
As a parent, it’s critical to discuss sexual health with your adolescent. It can make your child turn out into a sexually responsible adult. You can really make a difference. Make sure that you discuss not just the consequences of risky sexual behaviours, but also the benefits of staying safe.