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Talking to Your Kids About Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talking to Your Child
Supporting Your Child's Well-Being
- Providing good role models—Children can learn from your example and the example of other good role models like older siblings, relatives, and friends.
- Promoting self-confidence—Praise honesty, independence, talent, effort, responsibility, and good decision-making. This will promote self-confidence, which can help your children overcome peer pressure and make good decisions about sex.
- Encouraging positive feelings about sex—People who have positive feelings about sex, their bodies, and masturbation may be more likely to protect themselves from STDs, unintended pregnancy, and sexual abuse. Try to instill these positive feelings in your children.
- Fostering good decision-making skills—Offer options instead of giving orders. By making choices from an early age, children gain practice in making good decisions.
- Developing trust—If your children know that you will be there for them no matter what, they may be more willing to trust you with information about their sexual activity and ask questions. Try to be patient and reasonable to foster this trusting relationship. Respecting your children's privacy, personal space, and individuality can also help gain trust.
- Reassuring your child—Children can feel isolated and depressed going through the teen years. Stress that "being different is normal" and that other teens have similar feelings.
Caring for Your Child's Health
What to Do If Your Child Has an STD
- Make sure your child goes to his follow-up appointments and takes the recommended medicines.
- Encourage your child to tell the doctor if his symptoms worsen or if new symptoms develop.
- Note: Sometimes the symptoms of STDs can be mistaken for other conditions, or the infection may not have any signs at all.
- Offer your child emotional support. Reassure your child that having an STD does not make him a bad person. Also, your child may want to talk to a therapist about what he is going through.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America http://www.plannedparenthood.org/
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/STD/
Sex Information and Education Council of Canada http://www.sieccan.org/
How to talk about sex with your teen. Healthy Children.org, American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/dating-sex/Pages/How-to-Talk-About-Sex-With-Your-Teen.aspx. Updated May 2, 2012. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Recommended immunization schedule for persons aged 7 though 18 years—United States, 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/7-18yrs-schedule-pr.pdf. Updated December 23, 2011. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Sexually transmitted disease program: resources for parents. County of Los Angeles Public Health website. Available at: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/std/parents.htm. Accessed May 31, 2012.
Talk to your kids about sex. Health Finder.gov website. Available at: http://www.healthfinder.gov/prevention/ViewTopic.aspx?topicID=77&cnt=1&areaID=5&TopicContentID=493. Accessed May 31, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 05/2012
- Update Date: 05/31/2012