The birds and the bees

Cassandra Meauret

Downey High School health teacher, Mrs. Nelson, spoke with parents at the PTA meeting on November 9th, informing them why it is crucial to have that ever so dreaded “sex talk” with their children. The inescapable talk of sex crosses every parent’s mind and yet there are still no magic words to be said to make the awkwardness disappear. Nelson conjured up mixed feelings of ease and worries as she revealed alarming statistics that shocked a number of parents.

A reported 50% of teenagers have sex at least once before graduation. Parents should be cognizant that sex is a commonly discussed topic amongst teenagers and the pressures of having sex in high school exist. Other statistics say that 14% of teenagers have sex by the age of 14. This is why parents should not put off having that infamous “sex talk” with their child.

Principal Mr. Houts, who can relate to those parents struggling to bring up sex with their children, feels that a big flaw parents have is assumption.

“Do not assume kids know everything,” said Mr. Houts, “Kids are learning information from their friends and that information is false.”

The topic of sex lies everywhere in today’s society: it is blasted all over the media in magazines, movies, soap operas and billboards on the streets.

“You can’t escape it no matter where you go,” said Nelson.

It is common knowledge that children are being exposed to sexuality at younger and younger ages. Nelson stressed awareness in her discussion. Parents need to be aware of what their children are learning from their friends and the media. Parents have the responsibility to educate their children of the risks involved when being sexually active.  A reported amount of 4 million teenagers have or have had an STI (sexually transmitted infection). Condoms should always be used when having sex, but the best way to avoid an STI is abstinence. What shocked and appalled some of the parents is that ways to prevent STI’s are available for young children. The HPV vaccine can be given to children as young as 9 years old. Nelson believes that the best way to guide students along the right path is to stress good values and be open to communication.

“Some things are worth waiting for,” said Nelson, and the most affective way to prove that to a child is to promote positive influences in their lives.“