Parents urged to talk teenagers about sexual health before Leavers Week

The Department of Health is encouraging parents to talk with their teens about sex and relationships before Leavers’ Week, which runs from 21 November.

Conversations leading up to Leavers can help young people feel prepared and less likely to engage in risky behaviours in the spur of the moment.

“It’s important to talk about informed decision making and how this might be impacted when celebrating, especially when alcohol and other drugs may be involved,” Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program Manager, Lisa Bastian said.

“Parents hope their children will come to them with questions, but research tells us teens are often waiting for parents to make the first step. “While the influence of peer pressure is real for teenagers, family beliefs and values form an important part of how they identify themselves.

“It’s important to give advice, while also showing confidence that teenagers can weigh up different points of view so that they are empowered to make informed decisions about their own health.

“We need to be talking to our teens about respect, affirmative consent, contraception, sexually transmissible infections, condoms and where to go for additional help.”

The use of condoms is less likely during unplanned sex, which can result in unintended pregnancies and STIs.

It’s not about one big talk that you have to get perfect, but lots of little conversations – little and often, to show that your child can come to you for advice and support.

The Department’s Talk Soon Talk Often resource offers parents practical tips, and scenarios to open up conversations with their teens. School leavers can find more information about free condoms and STI testing at Healthysexual, Western Australian Department of Health – Leavers WA Health is also coordinating the medical zone at this year’s Leavers’ celebrations in Dunsborough.

OIP Staff

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