PARENT / CAREGIVER Zone
No one has a more important job than a parent or caregiver of young people. More information than ever exists about how to do this job well, and yet there is one topic that continues to feel hard for so many parents/caregivers: sex. While most parents understand that sexual development is a part of human development, the stigma that exists around “the talk” still looms large.
It doesn’t have to be so hard, though! At EyesOpenIowa, we have lots of tips and tricks for helping you gain greater comfort in this role, one step at a time.
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST BY ADDING YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO THE FORM - AND WE WILL SEND YOU OUR CAREGIVER RESOURCE, TOP TEN TIPS FOR TALKING WITH YOUR TEEN.
THINKING ABOUT THE TALK?
Will your teen come to you with questions about sex? Learn ways to help facilitate conversation with your teen about sex.
Teens report that the people they most want to hear from about birth control, relationships and sex is their parents! We have put together a list of resources to help you start this conversation - and keep it going.
WHAT IS YOUR KID BEING TAUGHT?
SEX ED IN SCHOOLS
Iowa’s Human Growth and Development mandate requires all public schools to provide age-appropriate and research-based instruction in human growth and development including instruction about human sexuality, self-esteem, stress management, interpersonal relationships, domestic abuse, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and the availability of a vaccine to prevent HPV, and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in grades kindergarten through twelve. Each district determines its own programming to cover these required topics, so you can contact your child’s principal or district administrator to learn more about the specific sex education program your child will receive. EyesOpenIowa’s WISE program works with a number of school districts throughout the state, providing schools with resources, support and training regarding best practices for sex education. To learn more about the WISE program, click here.
Below are some common FAQ’s that parents and caregivers often have about sex education:
What can I do as a parent to get involved in my child’s sexual health learning?
Get involved! Familiarize yourself with what your child’s school is teaching and what policies are in place. Sex ed is a on-going lesson that doesn’t take place with one talk but is most effective as a conversation that takes place on a regular basis.
How do schools know what is appropriate to teach kids at different ages?
Iowa's mandate provides the following definition of age appropriate: “Age appropriate means topics, messages and teaching methods suitable to particular ages or age groups of children and adolescents, based on developing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral capacity typical for the age or age group.”
What is the effect of teaching our youth about sex? What happens when we teach kids about birth control?
Research clearly shows that comprehensive sex education programs do not encourage teens to start having sexual intercourse; do not increase the frequency with which teens have intercourse; and do not increase the number of a teen’s sexual partners. At the same time, evaluations of publicly funded abstinence-only programs have repeatedly shown no positive changes in sexual behaviors over time. Young people need honest, effective sex education – not ineffective, shame-based, abstinence-only programs.
I’m not really sure how to talk to my kids about sex, can you offer guidance?
Yes! There are numerous resources, tools, and guidance materials available through organizations such as Advocates for Youth, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies, Answer-Sex Ed Honestly and www.asktxtina.com. Please contact EyesOpenIowa if we can provide any assistance in this process.
SHOW YOUR FEELINGS
SEND A CARD THAT MATTERS
Tell them you love them just the way they are with cards from Kim T. Cook, author of Teen World Confidential.