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12-Year-Olds Are Having Sex

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What can moms do to prevent our kids from taking the same path?

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A newly released study is completely freaking us out.

Middle school youth are engaging in sexual intercourse as early as age 12, according to the study by researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health. According to their research, by age 12, 12 percent of students had already engaged in vaginal sex, 7.9 percent in oral sex, 6.5 percent in anal sex and 4 percent in all three types of intercourse.

Results from this study are published in the April issue of Journal of School Health.

The study found one-third of sexually active students reported engaging in vaginal or anal sex without a condom within the past three months, and one-fourth had four or more partners.

"We need to develop prevention programs that address the needs of students who are not yet sexually active in order to promote skills and attitudes to help them wait until they are older to have sex," Christine Markham, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science at the UT School of Public Health said in a press release. "And we need to provide skills and knowledge related to condoms and contraception for youth who are already sexually active."

These findings clearly indicate the need for open discussion about sexual health at the middle school level, Markham said. "It is critical that health education teachers and school nurses feel comfortable addressing these issues with their students and that their efforts are supported by parents and the school administration," she added.

But of course some of the responsibility lies on us as parents, too. It's important to create an open dialogue, but talking to your teens about sex is never easy. But these five tips from psychologist Pamela Varady can help parents get the ball rolling.

Start early.
The earlier you talk to your kids about sex, the more informed your child will be and the more comfortable they will feel about coming to you with questions. Plus, future conversations will be much, much easier if you start young.

Let them know your values.
Teenagers want guidance from their parents, whether they admit it or not. Don't be afraid to tell them your own views on sex.

Teach teens about emotional intimacy, too.
Sex talks tend to focus on the physical. But you can also tell your child that you feel sex should occur in the context of an intimate relationship, and why.

Don't lecture.
A lecture instantly turns the conversation from two-way to one-way. Talking to your teen about sex effectively has to be a give-and-take. Remember to ask a lot of questions, and encourage your teen to do the same.

Relieve the pressure.
If your child has difficulty opening up, try initiating the conversation while you're doing something else, such as taking a walk or shooting hoops. Being involved in an activity while you talk will take a lot of the pressure off.

Parents of tweens and teens: What do you think about this study?

next: Note from School: Your Kid's Fat!
84 comments so far | Post a comment now
louis vuitton bags May 4, 2011, 10:32 PM

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Justsayno May 12, 2011, 9:31 PM

Maybe in Texas. Twelve is way too young to become pregant or have sex. How old are the guys these 12 years olds are having sex with? Where would they even do it, aren’t people watching their children? Sounds low class and people with no values or morals. Taking advantage of kids, making promises no doubt. Get the sickies off the streets so our 12 year olds will be safe. They have years and years to have sex and only a short time to be kids. This is totally unacceptable.

bryanaharris June 4, 2011, 11:22 PM

ive had sex and bim only 9

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