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Tips help parents talk to teens about sex

 


Tips help parents talk to teens about sex

Oct. 28, 2004

A UMNS Report
By Amy Green*

Sex talk at church?

United Methodist leaders believe church is one of the best places for teens to learn about sexuality.

"The church offers a unique opportunity to give quality guidance and education in this area," the United Methodist Book of Discipline says. Congregations increasingly are offering programs to help families open up when they are too squeamish to take on this tough topic themselves.

But parents have responsibilities, too. "Parents still are the best people to give their kids the tools to deal with decision making," says Tim Farley of Laguna Hills, Calif., a United Methodist and a sex education instructor for 15 years. "I think kids ultimately want their parents to care about what they’re doing."

Parents must talk to their children about sex, Farley says. Some 900,000 American teens from the ages of 15 to 19 get pregnant every year.

Here are some tips:

  • Take the opportunity to talk when it presents itself. Use a TV show, news article or book as a prompt for discussion.
  • Don’t lecture. Ask questions, but don’t interrogate. Encourage children to open up through dialogue.
  • Make the dialogue ongoing. Encourage children to continue asking questions.
  • Give them additional people to talk to, such as a youth counselor or pastor.
  • For spiritual guidance, urge them to read the Bible books of Genesis, 1 Corinthians, Proverbs and Matthew.
  • For more information, check out the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at http://www.os.dhhs.gov/, and the United Methodist Church’s Social Principles (go to "The Nurturing Community" and click on "Human Sexuality"; go to "The Social Community" and click on "Rights of Children"), at /interior.asp?ptid=1&mid=1686.

*Green is a freelance journalist based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org

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