Sharp Facts Talking to Teens About Sexual Responsibility

Here are the kinds of questions kids say they want to discuss:

• How do I know if I'm in love? Will sex bring me closer to my girlfriend/boyfriend?

• How will I know when I'm ready to have sex? Should I wait until marriage?

• Will having sex make me popular? Will it make me more grown-up and open up more adult activities to me?

• How do I tell my boyfriend that I don't want to have sex without losing him or hurting his feelings?

• How do I manage pressure from my girlfriend to have sex?

• How does contraception work? Are some methods better than others? Are they safe?

• Can you get pregnant the first time?

In addition to being an "askable parent," be a parent with a point of view. Tell your children what you think. Don't be reluctant to say, for example:

• I think kids in high school are too young to have sex, especially given today's risks.

• Whenever you do have sex, always use protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases until you are ready to have a child.

• Our family's religion says that sex should be an expression of love within marriage.

• Finding yourself in a sexually charged situation is not unusual; you need to think about how you'll handle it in advance. Have a plan. Will you say "no"? Will you use contraception? How will you negotiate all this?

• It's okay to think about sex and to feel sexual desire. Everybody does! But it's not okay to get pregnant/get somebody pregnant as a teenager.

• One of the many reasons I'm concerned about teens drinking is that it often leads to unprotected sex.

• (For boys) Having a baby doesn't make you a man. Being able to wait and acting responsibly does.

• (For girls) You don't have to have sex to keep a boyfriend. If sex is the price of a close relationship, find someone else.

By the way, research clearly shows that talking with your children about sex does not encourage them to become sexually active. And remember, too, that your own behavior should match your words. The "do as I say, not as I do" approach is bound to lose with children and teenagers, who are careful and constant observers of the adults in their lives.

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100 Health Tips

100 Health Tips

Breakfast is the most vital meal. It should not be missed in order to refuel your body from functional metabolic changes during long hours of sleep. It is best to include carbohydrates, fats and proteins for an ideal nutrition such as combinations of fresh fruits, bread toast and breakfast cereals with milk. Learn even more tips like these within this health tips guide.

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