While many parents dread having, it’s critical to ensure that teens understand the importance of taking care of their sexual health and that includes practising safer sex if they are sexually active. After all, knowledge is power and parents need to ensure their teens are equipped with the right information, especially if they will soon be leaving home or headed off to college or university. To help make both parents and kids feel at ease, TROJAN™ has some great suggestions for making “the talk” a breeze:
1) Be proactive and askable. Take opportunities that come up in everyday life (e.g., sexual situations on TV) to let your kids know that they can come to you to ask questions or get your advice. Be honest about your values and expectations for their behaviour but also try to be positive in supporting decisions that your kids will ultimately have to make for themselves.
2) Educate yourself. If you want to become more knowledgeable about the sexual health issues that are likely relevant to your kids, there are plenty of resources available. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada website http://www.sexandu.ca/ offers information on many different aspects of sexuality and sexual health.
3) Share credible resources with your kids. Send your kids links to credible information on the web. For the older teen or young adult, check out weknowsex.ca (a website developed by the makers of TROJAN™ condoms and the Sex Information Education Council of Canada). If you would like to make sure your son or daughter has comprehensive but readable information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), the Public Health Agency of Canada’s STI resource will do the trick (link below)
4) For the college kid. Be aware that most university/college kids are sexually active. If that includes your kids, it’s important that they protect themselves against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. If you’re comfortable with it, slipping a box of condoms into their next care package will send a powerful message that you are not just tuned-in to their lives but that you also have their best interests at heart.