Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

As a parent, having ‘The Talk’ is probably one of the most difficult and challenging moments of parenthood. It can be difficult to believe that your kids even understand what you’re talking about and worse knowing how to begin. But parents shouldn’t feel like talking to their kids about sex in any way makes it seem like they are condoning it. Having “the talk” can empower your kids to say no and set and respect boundaries.

This is the age of the “Connected” generation. They are wired in, have access to more information than you could possibly imagine, and have probably been exposed to more sexuality than you want to believe. Because sex is pervasive in advertising, television programming, and magazines, even if you try to limit their exposure, your kids rely on you to help them sort through everything and see it through the lens of your boundaries and beliefs.

Talking about sex doesn’t lead to having it…and teaching your kids about safe sex doesn’t mean you condone it.

But let’s get real. The fact is, more than 10,000 kids under the age of 22 are diagnosed with HIV, and the majority of those cases are due to unprotected sex. The United States has the highest rates of HIV and teen pregnancy of any industrialized country.

You don’t have to condone sex to talk about how to be safe. And when you’re talking about how to be safe, you can also talk about things like date rape, the importance of having boundaries – and respecting others’ boundaries, the faith-based or morality-based beliefs of your family, and the emotional impact of having sex before you’re ready.