For parents, ‘the talk’ may need a reboot   Leave a comment

By Sarah White, Special for USA TODAY

Since Jan. 1, California 12-year-olds can get prevention services for sexually transmitted diseases — including the HPV vaccine, hepatitis B vaccine and HIV post-exposure medications — without parental consent. California joins a handful of states with STD-prevention language in their minor-consent laws, including Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, North CarolinaSouth Dakota and Washington, D.C.

The key to STD prevention is catching kids before they have sex, which is by ninth grade for nearly one-third of teenagers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Right now, minors in all states can be diagnosed and treated for STDs without a parent’s involvement.

Tips for parents about discussing sex

•Use the teen’s daily life. Whether it’s a Twilight story line or a pregnant classmate, the sexual behaviors around your teen provide great conversation starters, says Carol Ford, chief of adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Ask your teen, ‘What’s your take on that?’ when they’re talking about something happening to their friend” to gauge how your teen sees things and help teens shape their own views.

•Talk early and often. “Plant the idea that you will listen in a non-threatening way, which builds trust,” says Abigail English, director of the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law. If teens can’t ask you for help, send them to an aunt, grandparent or friend’s mother.

•Be “askable.” Teens are more likely to talk when they feel they won’t be judged, says Claire Brindis, professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco. Try leaving pamphlets on contraception or STDs lying around and asking your teen what he or she thinks.

•Don’t be alarmed. Parents might be upset to see an STD vaccination listed on a health insurance explanation of benefits. But remember, those vaccines are for prevention and do not mean your teen has actually had sex.

Posted January 19, 2012 by greggornation in Dating, Family

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