We’ve all heard the depressing statistics about sexual activity and unprotected sex among youth today. The question is, “What can we do about it?” According to this article below…
I love it. It’s been great seeing various media sources talk about the positive results of parents talking to their kids about real issues. (Not to mention other reports of kids actually enjoying time spent with family)
I’m referring to an article in my own Sacramento Bee yesterday titled Teens and Sex: Can We Talk? The article reveals some recent California statistics about how many kids are having sex, and what parents can do about it. (If you think California is vastly different– be sure to check out the national stats from the Center for Disease Control… I think you’ll be surprised).
Here’s just a snippet:
Children are engaging in sex at younger ages than in the past, experts say, and research indicates that about 40 percent to 50 percent of 15- and 16-year-olds in California are having sex.
Combine that with a steady increase in sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers and a rising teen birth rate, and you have a growing need for parents to educate their children.
“Comprehensive sex education really makes a difference,” said Dr. Glennah Trochet, Sacramento County’s public health officer. “People always think teens aren’t influenced by their parents, but studies show that what their parents tell them, especially if they are very clear, really does influence young people.”
Sacramento County has essentially had an epidemic of chlamydia and gonorrhea among 15-to-24-year-olds for the past nine years, she said.
About one of every 25 females and one of every 80 males ages 15 to 19 in Sacramento County had a reported case of chlamydia or gonorrhea in 2008, according to the state Department of Public Health. And those are only the reported cases, said Trochet, who explained that people may go for years without knowing they have a disease.
Sacramento County ranked fourth and third in rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea, respectively, among California counties last year.
“Young people are having unprotected sex, and we need to do a better job of sex education and maybe getting kids to delay sexual activity,” Trochet said.
Birth rates among 15-to-19-year-olds also rose to 38.8 per 1,000 in Sacramento County last year, up from 37 per 1,000 in 2006, mirroring a national trend.
Given those statistics, what’s a parent to do?
That’s good advice. I teach a parenting workshop again this weekend… and that’s really a big part of the advice I give parents. Get into their world (that means learning about youth culture), dialogue with them (I share how to do that here), build a relationship with them, and begin building lasting values.
(ht to Lori- thanks for the article baby!)