October is Let’s Talk Month, a public awareness campaign highlighting the importance of conversations about sexuality and sexual health between young people and the adults they trust. Parents and other caring adults play a pivotal role in the sexuality education of young people. Unlike educators in California classrooms who are required by law to provide unbiased information when teaching sex ed, parents and other caring adults have an opportunity to share their experiences and values when communicating about sexuality with their children.
We also know that young people value communicating with their parents and other caring adults about sex. Teens report that their parents have the most influence over their decisions about sex, more than the media or friends. Parent and child communication about sex also protects young people and is associated with young people delaying the first time they have sex and whether they use condoms.
While it may not feel this way because of recent partisan campaigns to undermine sexuality education, the majority of parents and other caring adults, regardless of political party, support and value comprehensive sexual health education in both middle and high school. ASHWG members have the opportunity to play a role in supporting parent communities to feel empowered to become one of the primary sexuality educators of their children and to encourage them to utilize what is getting taught in school as a topic in what is hopefully an ongoing conversation.
Here are some helpful resources we can share with parent communities to get the conversation started: