Louisiana: Parents of Middle School Students Learn to Discuss Sex
March 18, 2004
Parents may not feel comfortable talking about sex with their middle school-age kids, much less about oral sex. But it is an important discussion in an era when middle schoolers' sexual activity often involves oral sex, which girls consider safe despite the STD risks. This will be the focus of Thursday's annual spring program sponsored by the Parents Council of New Orleans (PCNO). "Our goal is to get parents talking about it in ways that they feel comfortable with it," said PCNO President Lynda Warshauer.
The program for parents of 5th- to 9th-graders is "Straight Talk About Sex in Our City: Getting the Conversation Going," sponsored by the Parenting Center at Children's Hospital, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Junior League of New Orleans.
The program features certified sex therapist and marriage counselor Anne Gonsoulin, who will provide guidance on talking with teens about sexuality, understanding healthy adolescent sexuality and imparting sexual values. She will cover the stages of sexual development from pre-adolescence to the late teen years, providing parents with an understanding of what is and what is not appropriate behavior. Following Gonsoulin's talk, a Q&A session with three local guidance counselors will help assess the local situation.
"One way to make it less embarrassing is to talk about what the other kids are doing, what the peer group is doing," said Gonsoulin. "If they know you're comfortable talking about it, they'll be more comfortable talking about it." Parents can initiate conversations about sexual references and images during "teachable moments," for example, such as enjoying music or TV together.
The free program is March 18, 7-8:30 p.m., at the Junior League of New Orleans Headquarters, 4319 Carondelet St. For more information, telephone 504-896-9591.
03.15.04; Barri Bronston
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.