Do you feel it is time to discuss sexually transmitted diseases with your child, but the idea is nerve-wracking? Feeling nervous and finding it difficult to discuss the topic is only natural. Many parents share the exact same sentiments. However, it is vital to set aside your anxieties and address sex with your child.

In this day in age - where many children depend on the media and friends and not their parents for answers - it is recommended to approach your child first. At an early age, I was taught about intimate relationships and sexually transmitted diseases. The conversation was meant not to frighten me, but to educate me on the subject. My niece and nephew were taught about abstinence, sex and sexually transmitted diseases before their teenage years.

The reason behind teaching children about intimate relationships and sexually transmitted diseases at an early age is to help them understand how to make healthier choices and the consequences if the wrong decisions are made. When you demonstrate interest in discussing important matters with your child - in this particular case, sexually transmitted diseases - there is a greater chance that your child will be content to receive the information and not shy away from it.

Below are four ways to address the topic of sexually transmitted diseases with your children:

Open the lines of communication

. Set a private time alone with your child - perhaps a dinner or a walk in the park - and initiate the conversation. If your child becomes visibly uncomfortable with the subject, do not withdraw from the conversation. Let your child know you do not want him to feel out of place. On the contrary, you want him to feel at ease to come to you at any given time with any questions or concerns.

Discuss relationships and peer-pressure

. Children deal with all levels of peer pressure and at times they are inclined to experiment sexually just to fit in. Therefore, take advantage of quality time alone and explain the many types of peer pressure there is in relationships and in friendships. Explain to your child that being a follower is not the answer and can very well affect his life in a negative way. Sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies affect the futures of both the boy and girl.

Be prepared for questions

. Your child may ask you questions for which you are unsure of an answer. Do not fret. Let your child know you are unclear of the answer, but you are willing to research the answer along with them.

Care and support your child

. Keep informed of your child's well-being. For example, if your teenage child happens to be in a relationship, initiate a trust between you and your child. Let him know that you are there for him if any problems come up.

Even though discussing sex with your children causes uneasy feelings, do not allow those feelings to overcome you. Remember to maintain a relaxed demeanor. You want to talk with your children, not talk at them. Being open-minded and keeping the lines of communication open will bring parent and child closer.

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