October is Family Sex Education Month, sponsored by Planned Parenthood. While the majority of parents I know have a hard time even thinking about approaching how to talk to their kids about sex, it is one of those parenting responsibilities that cannot be avoided. So, to help you along with that conversation, I am suggesting a platform that will actually help you with two parenting must do’s at one time. Lets talk about how sex and learning to drive a car can be taught hand in hand. Perhaps if you think about the big “Sex Talk” in these terms it may not feel so daunting, or maybe it will still seem daunting, who knows, but it’s worth a shot.
I’ve written another article in this similar format: Sex and Taxes. Feel free to refer to the instructions of that article to get the full benefit of the duality.
1. Know all your parts and how they function: You can’t get behind the wheel of a car without knowing what all the buttons, knobs and pedals do. You must familiarize yourself with all the functions of the inner workings of the car. You don’t actually have to see the engine running while you go down the road, but it’s a good idea to know how it starts and what is making it run. Body parts as related to sex work much the same way. Don’t take it for granted that a kid knows what and how everything works. Even if you are accused of being “Captain Obvious” explain to them when to turn on the blinker and where the gas and brake pedals are.
2. You cannot drive without insurance: You would never dream of putting your new driver behind the wheel without loading up on insurance. If there is an accident you want to make sure everyone is protected. So, why would you not also do the same for your child when it comes to sex. Explain what condoms are for and why they are so very important. If there is no insurance, the car doesn’t leave the garage, so to speak.
3. Defensive driving: Do you remember those horrific videos in drivers education? The one’s where teenagers drove recklessly and caused fatal accidents? Blood and gore and all the “in your face” reality of why careful driving was so important. Well that same concept can be applied to “The Sex Talk” as well. Google up images of STD’s and make them look and label them all. While you’re at it, have them spend a week with a new parent. Have them get up and feed and change the baby every two hours with the mom and make them pack and carry the diaper bag on every outing.
4. Never, ever drink and drive: This lesson will hopefully stay with them way into adulthood. Outside of the above mentioned hazards of alcohol impairing their ability to be a defensive driver, this talk could keep them from getting a D.U.I. (aka. doing it under the influence). Even if not behind a wheel of a car, alcohol can certainly cause a wrong choice on who to let into your car, if you get what I’m saying!
5. Tune Ups at least once a year: At least once a year it is important that you take your car in for service to make sure that everything is running properly. Even if it seems that everything under the hood is working and in order, sometimes an experienced mechanic will catch a minor issue before it blows up into a full blown need for an overhaul. Make sure your kids are getting a yearly checkup, especially if you suspect they are sexually active. They may be more willing to speak with a doctor about concerns or issues. Give them that opportunity.
Ok, jokes aside, talking with your kids about sex is something you must do. Here are a few statistics from Atlanta’s CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that speak to why:
Birth rate for 15-19 year olds: 42.5 live births per 1,000 population as of 2007.
Adolescent girls ages 15–19 years had the largest reported number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases (409,531) when compared to any other age group. (November 2009)
6,685 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 diagnosed with AIDS/HIV in the United States through 2008
No child should have to disrupt their adolescence, suffer for the rest of their life or more tragically, die because they weren’t given the information that could prevent a sexual mistake.
If you do not feel that you are comfortable enough to talk with your child yourself, there are many books, videos and healthcare professionals that can help you get your child on the right path to sexual health. All you have to do is ask. Whether it comes from you or someone you trust, get them informed, insured and say a little prayer every time they leave the house.
This article originally published at Angel’s column at Examiner.com