What should parents tell their teenagers about the pitfalls of having sex too early?

May 01, 2008|By CARROL LOURIE

Several years ago the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families commissioned a survey to assess knowledge about and attitudes toward teen sexual behavior in Washington County.

Among other things, this survey revealed that more than 70 percent of teens regarded parents as the persons who most influenced their decisions concerning sexual activity.

However, the survey also revealed a disagreement between teens and parents as to whether conversations on sex-related topics were actually occurring.

Either some parents are not addressing the topic effectively or often enough or some teens are not listening.

There have been a number of initiatives within our community to address the need for effective parent-teen communication about sex.

The Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition (WCTPPC) developed a free "toolkit" to assist parents in talking with their children about sex.


The coalition and Washington County Hospital have cooperatively produced a spring health forum designed to generate conversation on specific sex-related topics.

The Authentic Community Theatre is employing the arts to initiate thoughtful interaction between generations on issues relevant to teen sex. And, last fall, some of our churches committed their Sunday sermons to stressing the importance of parents and young people communicating with each other on the topic of sex.

We would like to hear from our young people about what makes for a good conversation with parents? What advice would you give to an adult about talking to a teen about the consequences of sexual activity and teen pregnancy?

Carrol Lourie is the executive director of the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition.

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