Tough Talk

Parents Too Late for Sex Talk

In the face of a perennially awkward situation, a new study has found that parents are waiting too long to explain the birds and the bees to their kids and that more than 40 percent of adolescents had already had intercourse by the time their parents brought up issues such as safe sex, birth control, and STDs. “A lot of parents think they had a conversation, and the kids don’t remember it at all,” said one doctor. “Parents sometimes say things more vaguely because they are uncomfortable and they think they’ve addressed something, but the kids don’t hear the topic at all.” According to the California study, 42 percent of teen girls and 70 percent of boys hadn’t discussed the effectiveness of different methods of birth control with their parents. Experts suggest that in lieu of one all-encompassing and possibly intimidating conversation, parents engage in a series of conversations with their kids, dealing with issues as they arise and at the appropriate age.