October Is “Let’s Talk” Month
October is “Let’s Talk” Month. This public health education campaign encourages parents and youth to become more open and comfortable with having conversations around sexuality-related issues, which is known as Sexual Communication. No, it is not what you may think it is—Sexual Communication is deliberate discussions about sexuality-related issues as a means of communicating information, values, beliefs, and skills. Frequent, positive parent-child communication about sexuality can support sexual health in young people but rarely occurs due to discomfort and fear.
With the increased number of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) including gonorrhea and chlamydia, steady teen pregnancy rates, increased violence among teen relationships, increased suicide in our LGBT teen communities; it is highly important that parents and other responsible adults talk with their youth to help them get through a challenging time in their lives—ADOLESCENCE! We must recognize that youth carry their sexual orientations, gender identities, personal health concerns, romantic feelings, and anxieties over peer norms and cultural stereotypes everywhere they go (Romeo & Kelley, 2009). We want to make sure that our youth grow into Sexually Healthy Adolescents, which is not defined by whether an adolescent has been sexually active; its more so it is about youth;
- Appreciating their bodies.
- Taking responsibility for their behaviors.
- Communicating with their parents and families about sexual issues.
- Communicating effectively, appropriately, and respectfully about sex with all genders.
- Expressing love and intimacy (emotional, vulnerable connections) in ways that are age-appropriate.
If you need help navigating these conversations, our 4-H Public Health team is equipped with Health Educators who are skilled and knowledgeable in facilitating sexuality conversations, with parents and youth. Our team has a wonderful curriculum, Parents Matter! that can help develop the skills that parents need to overcome the fear, along with providing them with the factual knowledge that is needed to guide these conversations.
For information about Let’s Talk month, visit the Advocates for Youth website.
Parents, if you don’t have the answers, don’t worry. Our partners at SHIFT NC, has a text line for your teens to use called BrdsNBz if they have questions that you cannot answer. To use BrdsNBz:
- Text ncteen to 66746 to opt-in to the service. You only need to opt in the first time you use the service.
- Text your question to 66746.
- You will receive your answer within 24 hours.
Message & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 66746 to opt-out. Text HELP to 66746 for help.
For more information about the text line, visit their website (must be logged in to view the page).