the birds and bees: Talking to your kids about AIDS/HIV, STDs and
unintended pregnancySend a link to a friend
[FEB. 8, 2006]
-- The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a
statewide campaign to raise awareness of AIDS/HIV, sexually
transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy among adolescents.
Talking about sex, diseases and pregnancy to teenagers is not an
easy or comfortable task, but it is an important one. Teenagers
today are growing up faster than ever before and, consequently,
parents need to maintain an open dialogue with their children.
Here are some tips for parents
tackling the subject of sex and its consequences in an effective and
Really get to know
As children go through emotional and
physical changes, it is important to try to understand what is
happening in their lives. Frequently ask your kids what they are
thinking and how they are feeling.
Begin with a
Breaking the ice can be a
challenge. Use events from everyday life, whether it be their
friends or your own experience. Begin by discussing these
situations and then steer the conversation to personal issues.
Be direct and
When you show that you are open and
nonjudgmental, your child will be encouraged to also speak
candidly. Do not use the "birds and the bees" terminology;
instead be direct in your language choices. Your child will
benefit from learning the correct terms.
It is helpful to give examples or stories because children
have difficulty grasping some information. Relate an experience
you had growing up.
your child.Stop whatever you are doing to focus
your attention and listen to your child. Make eye contact.
Acknowledge what your child is saying to show that you
understand and, if you don't understand, ask for clarification.
do not have the answers, simply let your child know that you are
not sure how to answer his or her question. However, do not turn
children away when they have expressed an interest in discussing
the door open.
Let your child know that you are
available and willing to continue the conversation anytime.
To confidentially speak to someone about
communicating with your child about AIDS/HIV, STDs and unintended
pregnancy, call the Illinois AIDS/HIV and STD line at 1 (800)
The following fact sheets on HIV/AIDS, STDs and
unintended pregnancy are also available: