Sex Education Needs To Start At Home

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Parents, if you believe your teenager is 100 percent exempt from engaging in sex because of the way you raised them, you are wrong.

As your children grow and develop, they need to know some basic facts about human sexuality.

Before talking to your children about sex, discuss your feelings with your partner and come to an agreement -- this gives you a starting point to address the values and messages you, not the media or their friends, want to convey.

Even though talking about sex can be uncomfortable, parents need to be the first adults to talk openly and honestly with their children about sex.

If you don't know the answers, plenty of age-appropriate resources are available -- look up the answers together.

Just can't talk about sex? Give your child permission to attend educational, abstinence-based programs. Teens can learn about the MAZE, by calling Michelle DeRouin at Rim Guidance Center (928) 595-0127. New Beginnings Pregnancy Center also has confidential counseling at (928) 474-7466.

Sex education needs to start at home and at an early age.

By age of 5, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said, "a child should know they have the right to say "No," to unwanted touch."

ACOG recommends, "by age 10 children should know the facts about reproduction in humans and animals," and by age 12 they should "know what changes to expect in their bodies, including menstruation and ‘wet dreams.'"

Sexual intimacy can be pleasurable between adults, but if your child doesn't know about sex or has the wrong information, they can get pregnant or contract sexually transmitted (STD) diseases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, STDs are on the rise among teenagers while Arizona has the second highest teen pregnancy rate in the country.

The risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease increases exponentially with the number of sexual partners.

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) crosses all sexual boundaries and is deadly; herpes means you get to spend your life taking medication, and even then, your partner can get it.

If you believe your child should abstain from sex until marriage: tell them.

Follow up your convictions by knowing their friends, keeping track of where they are going, setting a curfew limit, and being involved in their lives.

Give your sons and daughters a sense of self-esteem: tell them that having them in your family is a source of joy, even when times are tough.

But even education is infallible. If your teen becomes sexually active, let them know that losing their virginity is not the end of the world. They can choose to move forward and be abstinent until they are in a loving, mature relationship.

If your teen stays sexually active, you should remain involved.

Show them how to use a condom correctly; know what kind of birth control your daughter is using.

Parents can do these things so that the risk of living with the consequences of life-altering words like, "I got a girl pregnant," or "My best friend missed school because she had an abortion," or "I need to treat your child for gonorrhea," are decreased.

You should do your best because you love your children, even when you don't like their actions.

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