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Sex education and contraception: Long School Holidays and festivities

Like many moms of teen girls, Grace is struggling with whether to put her 15-year-old daughter on birth control pills. It's not that she wants her daughter to be sexually active; it's that, as she explains, "She's started to see a 17-year-old boy a lot. . . . I don't want her think I don't trust her to be careful with this boy, but I think contraception is a good idea and [that] this needs to be addressed."

She's not alone. I received a number of such concerns especially now during the long school holidays and festivities, Another Mom was very categorical "I absolutely would put my daughter on the pill. Let's be real here — we can teach our daughters about STDs, pregnancy, sex, and love, but in the end, we know they are going to do exactly what they want.”

Talking to our children about sex is never an easy thing, but it can be the most important discussion you have. Sex education is just another way we help our children become adults and teach them how to protect themselves. By providing them with accurate information, we're empowering them to make good and well-thought out choices in the future.

While most of us would love our daughters never to have sex, the reality is a large percentage of girls in their early to mid-teens are doing it. Avoiding talking about sex won't stop your daughter from having it, it just puts her more at risk as she may not have accurate information. In fact, some research says that if parents have open and frank conversations with their children about sex they are more likely to delay having intercourse and less likely to have an unwanted pregnancy. Even if you worry that you're sending your daughter a message that it is OK for her to have sex, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are really too embarrassed or your daughter finds it difficult to talk to her, arrange for her to talk to another trusted adult or make an appointment with a Doctor or family planning clinic. It can be really helpful for dad to be involved in any sex talks, as well as removing the secrecy and encouraging open and honest talk at home, it reinforces that contraception is not just the duty of the woman. The most important thing you can do for your daughter is ensure she feels secure and feels loved. This will boost her self-esteem and make it easier for her to say 'no'. When you talk about sex, be positive and tell her it is an important part of healthy relationships, but that she needs to be ready. Tell her it is fine to say no and not feel guilty.

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