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10 Helpful Tips

Here are 10 helpful tips for you in talking with children about any difficult topic:

  1. Start early.
  2. Initiate conversations with your child.
  3. Even about sex and sexuality.
  4. Create an open environment.
  5. Communicate your own values.
  6. Listen to your child.
  7. Try to be honest.
  8. Be patient.
  9. Use everyday opportunities to talk.
  10. Talk about it again. And, again.


What Do I Say to My Child?

It’s not easy to talk to kids about sex. However, parents must because American culture is preoccupied with it, and our children are bombarded from all sides. The paradox is that while premarital sex is wreaking havoc with our children, it’s glamorized as something teens must do to be “part of the crowd.”

The life-changing consequences of premarital sex mean it is essential that you discuss the reasons for abstinence with your child. Talking to your child about sex and sexual behavior is not a one-time conversation, but a continual dialogue that should start early and continue at least through high school. Research studies prove that kids want to know what their parents think is right and wrong. Parents are the primary influence in their children’s lives, and when parents are more “connected,” their children are less likely to get involved in risky behavior. Even during adolescence, when peer relationships become critical, teens who are close to their parents usually develop friendships with peers who avoid taking risks.

How to become more “connected” to your kids:

  • Spend quantity and quality time with them
  • Fill their “emotional tank” with regular affection
  • Praise them daily
  • Affirm what they are doing right
  • Listen as much as you talk
  • Share your values to reinforce abstinence
  • Affirm their effort in school work
  • Don’t take their “attitude” personally
  • Be pleasant and use a calm tone of voice
  • Be as respectful of them as you expect them to be of you

How to help your kids resist premarital sex & drugs:

  • Be a positive role model
  • Praise them daily
  • Affirm what they are doing right
  • Listen
  • Ask questions to stimulate discussions
  • Get involved in their activities
  • Know their friends
  • Discuss and practice refusal skills
  • Discuss the issues that are important to you
  • Set, discuss and consistently enforce family rules
  • Help them make healthy decisions
  • Talk about the consequences of premarital sex and drugs, including alcohol and tobacco

Some issues to discuss with your child:

  • The only certain way to prevent STDs, including AIDS, and pregnancy is not to have sex.
  • More than half of teens in the U.S. are not having sex, despite what the media would lead you to believe.
  • The number of teens choosing abstinence is actually growing. The virginity rate has increased significantly since 1991.
  • About half of teens who got pregnant were having sexual intercourse for the first time.
  • Condom efficacy:
    • From 20-36% of teens got pregnant while using a condom.
    • Condoms provide “virtually no protection against the humanpapilloma virus” (HPV) that causes genital warts. HPV is the most prevalent viral STD in America with 20 million infected people and is linked to most cervical cancer cases.
    • Condoms provide only about 50% reduction in the transmission of genital herpes, syphilis, and chlamydia.
  • 8 out of 10 teens were using alcohol when they had their first sexual experience.
  • 60% of all STDs are transmitted when partners are drunk and have sexual intercourse.
  • 66% of all unwanted pregnancies happen when a girl is drunk.
  • If adolescents get sexually involved because friends think they should, they’re letting people control them. Adolescents should be in control of what they do.
  • Premarital sex ruins relationships. The average teen couple that gets sexually involved breaks up within a few months.
  • If you get pregnant or get someone pregnant, you probably won’t be able to do the things you want to do with your life.
  • By focusing on friendship instead of sex, you’ll be smarter about relationships, and have healthier ones.



Teach my child that, and you’ll be sorry

It is not what you would want to read before breakfast, but it’s the sex menu they are serving up to children.

Sex education for tots is in the headlines. Last month it was a policy in Provincetown, Massachusetts making condoms available to first graders. Student requests were to be kept secret and parents’ objections ignored.

Now the news is from Montana. If the Helena school district has its way, kindergarteners will learn about “reproductive body parts”: the penis, vagina, breast, nipples, testicles, scrotum, and uterus. Ten year olds will be taught that “sexual intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal, oral, or anal penetration”. Two years later they will discover this may involve “the penis, fingers, tongue or objects”.

Have these people lost their minds? To the contrary. All these maneuvers are entirely consistent with the sex education programs supported by President Obama. Moreover, the administration would like taxpayers to fund their export to the rest of the world.

Who came up with the notion that it’s necessary to teach the world’s children about high risk sex acts their parents never heard of? The usual suspects: Planned Parenthood and the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States (SEICUS, a private organization). These groups portray themselves as guardians of our children’s health; they claim to provide students with all the information and skills they need to make smart choices. Their curricula, they declare, are comprehensive, age appropriate, ideologically neutral, and medically accurate. They give children the same message as parents: you’re too young – wait until you’re older.

If only it was so. The priority of this industry is not sexual health, but sexual freedom. Their objective is not for students to delay sexual behavior and remain free of infection, but for them to be open, from a tender age, to just about any form of sexual activity.

Let’s get this straight. There is no evidence that knowing the anatomy of male and female genitalia is vital to the well-being of young children. And the “one size fits all” approach, mandating that children learn about intercourse or same sex attraction at a particular age, is contrary to the principles of child development.

Children are not miniature adults. Introducing them to new information that cannot be easily assimilated can be distressing. A young child has his own theories about where babies come from, based on what he already knows; he may think his sibling came from a store or the hospital, or that his mother consumed some particular food or drink.

There’s nothing wrong with that. “Parents should respond to the needs and curiosity level of their individual child”, says the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “offering no more or less information than their child is asking for and is able to understand”. In other words, let him be.

The sex ed oligarchy ignores this wisdom. And while insisting that first graders be taught “human beings can love people of the same gender and people of another gender”, and expecting third graders to “define HIV/AIDS”, these “experts” omit critical biological facts from the one group that actually needs sex education: adolescents.

Among other things, middle and high school students are not taught that: –

* Intimate behavior causes the release of a brain chemical that promotes feelings of attachment and trust, even if you are with a stranger. –

* A girl’s immature cervix increases her vulnerability to genital infections. HIV aside, girls and women carry 80% of the burden of negative consequences from early sexual behavior and multiple partners. –

* Faeces are filled with dangerous pathogens. Oral-anal contact is associated with serious infectious diseases such as salmonella, shigella, and hepatitis A, B, and C. –

* The physiology and anatomy of the anus is vastly different from the vagina. Regarding HIV transmission, anal intercourse is at least twenty times more dangerous than vaginal intercourse. –

* As stated on condom wrappers, breakage is more likely to occur during anal intercourse

How do “comprehensive” sex educators justify the omission of these life-saving facts? How do they boldly claim that their curricula are medically accurate, and their sole priority the health of children? I don’t know about Montana, but where I come from, that’s called chutzpah.

The administration wants to see programs like Helena’s go global. This year, thirty-nine House democrats introduced H.R. 5121, the Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010. It calls for comprehensive sex education in developing countries using US taxpayer funds.

How do we fight this madness? Like hundreds of parents, grandparents, teachers, and clergy in Helena are – by standing up publicly and insisting that sex education, like all health matters, be based on biological truths, not social agendas. By reminding authorities that this is a war against disease, not social injustice. And by proclaiming loud and clear: “my child’s innocence is precious. You try and take that away, and you’ll be sorry.”

Miriam Grossman, MD is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and the author of You’re Teaching My Child What? A Physician Exposes the Lies of Sex Education and How They Harm Your Child (Regnery). She is a scholar in residence at World Youth Alliance.


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Back to School: Sex Ed for Teens

It’s school time again and if you are a parent of a teen or even a pre-teen, your child may attend a sex-ed class this year. But something going on in the news lately has really got me seeing red.

I’m incensed about what is going on the sex-ed community.

Planned Parenthood has just released a document (titled Exclaim!) in preparation for the United Nations Conference on children later this month. The upshot of the document is to advocate for the sexual rights of our kids. You read that right- the document says that every child has the right to make his/her own decision when it comes to sexual activity. Furthermore, they advocate that kids should have access to sexual counseling and services without their parents’ knowledge. Even if they’re 11 years old.

Let’s put political, religious and even ethical views aside for a moment. Let’s simply look at kids and some medical facts (outlined in my book Your Kids at Risk ).

  • 20 million Americans contract a new sexually transmitted infection every year in the US and about 50 % are in kids and young adults.
  • 1:5 people over age 12 tests positive for genital herpes
  • 1:4 teens (all teens- not just those having sex) get a sexually transmitted infection every year
  • HPV causes 99% of all cervical cancers and teen girls are more prone to getting cervical cancer if infected because of differences in their anatomy
  • 40% all girls 14-18 y/o state that they have sex that they don’t want to have because they don’t want to let their boyfriends down
  • According to a medical study released in Sept 2001, if we don’t dramatically change course (teach our kids to put the brakes on), by the year 2025 (how old will your grandchildren be?), 30 % of all men and 40% all women will test positive for genital herpes.

Shall I continue? If you question the validity of the above numbers, I have an extensive bibliography.

Regardless what you think about Planned Parenthood, think about this for a moment. We now know, through extensive research done by neuroscientists, that teens are not capable of full abstract thinking. This means that they lack the ability to understand in a meaningful way that action A leads to consequence B in 5 days. That’s why your 17-year-old son genuinely believes he can drive his car 90 mph into a tree and walk away from the car. He just doesn’t get it.

Planned Parenthood knows this. It’s made national news in the past few years. So what gives, then, when it comes to sex education? Physicians universally agree that in 2011, sex for kids is really risky stuff. They shouldn’t have it. It is no longer a religious or moral issue; it is a medical one.

Why then, would the document from Planned Parenthood state in Exclaim! that kids have sexual rights when they aren’t capable of understanding that disease is very real and that if they buckle to sexual pressure, their lives could be at stake? I can think of one reason they would write this and sacrifice the health of our kids: keep sexual freedom alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sex hater. As a matter of fact, when I speak to teens across the country, I always begin by shouting, “Sex is amazing!” to the kids. I tell them that sex is too great to waste on the teen years because scientists know that if they start having sex at 15, their chances of getting an infection are exponentially higher than if they wait. Then I talk to them about their hearts, their feelings.

Many out there don’t have their facts straight- including Planned Parenthood. They are not an organization of physicians, they are social activists. So do right by your kids. It’s a tough sexual climate out there and they need you to step up to the plate and do the real educating. Make them put the brakes on and tell them why. They’ll love you for it.

Ways to Protect Kids from STDs

Helping kids avoid sex is no longer a moral or religious issue; it is a medical one. If I didn’t believe that we can be effective in helping our kids delay their sexual debut, I would stay silent. But we can help. You can help.

Here are seven crucial ways to protect your kids from the deadly epidemic that has claimed too many young lives already.

  1. Know the data. Teens today face greater threats than we did, with the twin (and related) epidemics of sexually transmitted infections and depression. Know the facts to prevent your teen from becoming a victim.
  2. Get to know your teen’s friends. The best way to find out what your teen is involved in is to ask what his friends are up to. You can bet that whatever your kids’ friends are doing, your own children are doing as well.
  3. Don’t just talk. Listen. If you really want to get closer to your kids and get them to open up, just gently ask questions and then listen without responding or interrupting. You must wait (sometimes days) to give your opinion—if you want it to make an impression on your teen.
  4. Engage, don’t bail. Teens need—and want-parental involvement even more than toddlers do, even though they’ll likely deny it. (An angry 16-year-old with a set of car keys is more dangerous to himself than a 2-year-old running towards the street). Stay connected and stay present.
  5. Persevere and never take kids personally. Always remember that your job is to raise healthy adults, and screaming 13-year olds aren’t there yet. Never take juvenile hissy fits personally. Even if it seems you’re not making progress, keep at it. Persistent parenting pays off in the long run.
  6. Stick to your instincts. Most parents don’t like skimpy clothing, vile music or inappropriate tv shows, but they let it go because if other parents allow these things, they should too, right? Wrong. Healthy parental protection actually makes teens more secure and builds higher self-esteem. Adults’ instincts are more mature than teens’ instincts. Seventeen-year-olds don’t have full cognitive development. She may not understand why she shouldn’t wear a tiny top that leaves nothing to the imagination, but you do. If you tell her that you care about how she presents herself, she’ll know how much you love her and her self-esteem will grow.
  7. Let your kids know you are not the enemy. Often parents and kids fall into the trap of thinking they’re on opposing teams. You’re not. In the great culture war for our kids, you’re on the same team. The opposing team is not you and your spouse—it’s the toxic popular culture that markets sex to make money off kids. That culture doesn’t care about your kids safety, health or future. You do.