When Cut Video taped young kids and their parents having the birds-and-bees talk, 10 million folks went to YouTube to see moms and dads struggling with the facts of life, and kids struggling to understand.
Mother 1: How did Mommy and Daddy make you?
Daughter 1: Magic.
Father 2: What makes me a man and your mother a woman?
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Daughter 2: Your hands are bigger?
Father 3: So there’s nothing from me you want to know about sex or how people have babies?
Son 3: I do not want to know!
As tough as that sex talk is, fast-forward to when your kids are preteens or teens. You know when they’re that age you need to discuss why to wait, what’s safe and how to avoid pregnancy. (Fully 32 percent of ninth-graders in the U.S. have sexual relations, and there are around 600,000 unintended teen pregnancies annually.) But there is good news.
A recent study found that when moms talk to adolescents about sex, it helps protect kids (especially girls) from unsafe sexual practices. Other research shows that talking about birth control and pregnancy helps kids postpone having sex.
So be brave! Ask questions (don’t lecture), and listen to what your tween or teen has to say. Then share your thoughts and ideas, focusing on the facts about relationships and sex. You’ll remember those talks with your kids (we sure do), and you’ll be glad you had them. It’s an important part of providing your kids with a bright and hopeful future.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.