Why—and How—Parents Should Help Teens Develop a Healthy Understanding of Sex
At Camp Kupugani, our Midwest overnight summer camp near Chicago and Madison, we strive to empower our campers by having them get reliable life information from good sources. As a recent Washington Post article (at this link) posited: “In a culture where abstinence-only programs have taken the place of real sex education, and where many teens lack the resources to prevent pregnancies or STIs, let alone the ability to deal with these situations if they occur, it is common for teens to feel shame, fear and anxiety about sexuality. And many feel like they cannot turn to adults for help when they need it.”
At camp, we have an optional sex and sexuality forum to help them learn about sex and consent from a reputable source. In our parent handbook, we provide our parents a list of questions to help both pre- and post-camp to help parents foster a productive dialogue about what is sometimes a difficult subject for families to broach. The Post article discusses the importance of teens developing a healthy understanding of sex. Bullets below.
- Support comprehensive sex education in your community.
- Attend school board meetings and speak up about the importance of sexual education.
- Speak with your children’s principal.
- Make sure teens understand consent (See our blog on 5 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Understand Consent and Prevent Sexual Assault).
- Consent means pressure is not involved.
- No comment does not mean yes.
- Consent once does not last forever.
- Support healthy teen relationships.
- Connect with your child’s “partner”.
- If you have concerns about the relationship, share them.
- Teach them to communicate.
- Help them know and express their limits with their partner.
- Sex should be mutually positive.
- Create an environment in which your children can talk to you.
- No topic should be off limits.
- Awkward or not, it will help your child.
- Help teens access reproductive health care.
- Find places where they can receive information from health professionals.
- Help them set up reproductive health appointments.
Original article source: Washington Post