Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2015

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Page 18 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 19 By ELORA TOCCI F rom the very fi rst questions about sexuality — "Where do babies come from?" — parents might seize up with anxiety. And we know the questions are only going to get more diffi cult as they grow. Whether you have a preschooler questioning the logic of a stork de- livering his baby sister or a teenager who wants to go on birth control, there are plenty of ways to make talking about sex with your kids a healthy, productive discussion. And Planned Parenthood is here to help. More than just a health care provider, Planned Parenthood has made education and family planning its mission for the last 100 years. In addition to their 700 health centers nationwide, Planned Parenthood provides educational programs for parents and teens, like the "Let's Talk" program held every October. "Let's Talk Month provides an opportunity to highlight the im- portant role that parents play as the primary sexuality educators of their own children and emphasize that honest, open communication in families has signifi cant benefi ts," says Jessie Moore, MPH, CHES, and sexuality education coordinator for Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hud- son Valley. During the month-long program, sex education providers and advo- cates across the country encourage parents to communicate with their children about sexuality. Sexuality Planned Parenthood gets the conversation started (Continued on Page 20) the ever-changing world in which our children live. Transcend the media So many parents believe that they can't compete with the bombard- ment of negative sexual images and messages coming from the media. However, the research in this area is optimistic: a parent who starts early and is open, honest, and clear about the issues can supersede the nega- tive voices and role models of the media that constantly bombard our youth, especially young girls. Be a role model When we demonstrate to our chil- dren that we can model a healthy, open discussion about sexuality and can be trusted to respond to their concerns, ideas and confusions about these areas instead of trying to repress them, we do more than just communicate with them. We demon- strate to them that when and if they encounter problems in their lives — not only in the areas of sexuality and intimacy but also in every area of their development — we are the people who can be trusted to help. Planned Parenthood hosts parent workshops. P. 20 Start discussions about sex and intimacy early and don't be concerned that you're starting too early. Most kids are curious very early in life but often feel too uncomfortable to bring up the topic.

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