A lot of parents would never or rarely ever talk about sexual activity to their teens or about how to protect themselves. It is important that both parents and children know that it is okay to talk about sex in an educational manner. Approximately 20 million people with new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every year and 110 million infections annually (CDC).
Access to contraception is always being threatened, worldwide. In order to avoid teen pregnancies and STIs, these conversations need to happen before the child is sexually active. Prevention is better than having to look for solutions.
When you do talk to your child about sex, be detailed. It is important to cover not just the educational side but also to help the child become familiar with his/her own physiology. Talk about what is menstruation and about evaluating the child’s cycle to sense abnormalities.
Talk about what changes to expect as puberty gets closer and at the door. Do not let the schools or the internet educate your child with myths, tell them the truth, openly and honestly, about reproductive health.
You may also want to have a private discussion with a pediatrician and with the patient to discuss, sex, STIs, contraception, pregnancy, healthy relationships, and consent. An 11-year-old may seem too young to have these conversations, but each patient is unique.
Evaluate the child’s maturity level to be able to assess what can be discussed. Never EVER assume that a child is/isn’t sexually active just because of his/her age. Reports say that 47 percent of females ages 15 through 19 have engaged in sex already.
Oral, vaginal, and anal sex, as well as manual stimulation should be discussed with the child so that they know what is going on.
You may want to use this opportunity to discuss other kinds of experimentation other kids may or may not be doing: tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Unfortunately, some teens are under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs when they experiment, because their guard is down while medicated. Discuss how dangerous driving under the influence is. And also discuss what consent means: no is no.