‘Let’s Talk Month’ encourages parents to have open conversations

October is known as “Let’s Talk Month”. During this month parents are encouraged to have an open conversation with their children regarding love, sex, and relationships.

Starting age appropriate conversations early and into early adulthood will help young people make smarter decisions regarding their sexual health.

Parents are encouraged to listen to what the teen has to say without getting upset or judging. Believe it or not, these conversations will get easier the more often you have them.

Don’t just have one conversation, this is a conversation that must be ongoing. Parents should be the main sex educators of their children.

Parents should:

• Clearly define family values

• Build communication skills and create a bond between parent and child

• Help them feel at ease about who they are and their sexuality

• Help them cope with their feelings and deal with peer pressure

• Help protect them from sexual abuse

Here is a guide for parents to talk to their kids about by age:

Ages 3-5 years

Toddlers need to know:

• Love should make people feel good, safe, and wanted.

• Bodies are different sizes, shapes, and colors-and that’s fine.

• Their bodies belong to them.

• There is a difference between a “good” touch and a “bad “touch.

Ages 5-7 years

Children need to know:

• How to develop, maintain, and end (if necessary) friendships

• Family members ‘roles and duties

• How to be themselves without feeling the need to act a certain way within their gender

• That people can come from different homes, and no single one is the “right “one.

Ages 8-12 years

Pre-teens need to know:

• How to make and maintain friends and relationships

• What can happen if they have sex, including teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s)

• Basic human anatomy, including reproduction

• About sexual abuse, abusive relationships and ways to protect themselves

• About family values, community and peer norms regarding dating

• About puberty and what to expect physically, emotionally and psychologically as they mature

Ages 13-17 years

Teens need to know:

• It’s okay to wait to have sex - not everyone is doing it

• They are responsible for their choices

• About birth control options

• Details about STI’s and HIV and how to prevent them

The Axis I Center of Barnwell will have banners up in all three towns (Barnwell, Blackville and Williston), a billboard, and Facebook messages on the Axis I page.

Parents can also come by the Axis I Center for more information from Cheryl Banks or Pam Rush.