While the statistics on young people and HIV can be scary, it is important to remember that HIV is 100% preventable. At Love Heals, we believe that education and information can save lives—and that communication is the first step. Studies show that open and honest parent-child communication about HIV and its prevention can aid youth in making good decisions.
Alumnae of our Leadership Empowerment and Awareness Program (LEAP) for Girls taught us they often wish their parents and guardians had better information on sex and sexuality, so they could explore these issues within the family. Love Heals brought teens and their parents together to see what they had to say about improving communication in the home regarding sex and HIV. The result of that focus group is Talking With Your Daughter About Sex & HIV Prevention.
My mother doesn’t want me to get the wrong informaton, so she tried to tell me first.
Parents and guardians can help their children by listening to them actively without judgment and sharing information that can empower them to make healthy choices. Talking With Your Daughter guides parents through this process.
Key tips from the booklet include:
- Nurture your daughter’s self-esteem. Teach her to respect and love herself.
- Talk about sex before she hits the teen years. She’ll be more likely to wait for her first time and to use protection when she does become sexually active.
- Share positive messages about sexuality and the healthy role it can play in our lives.
- Find teachable moments when discussions about sexuality fit naturally into everyday conversation.
- Spend quality time with your child and get to know her friends and partners.
- Help her develop decision-making skills rather than controlling her choices and actions—she’ll be more likely to come to you for advice.
I wish that my mother would have just talked to me about sex, instead of screaming and yelling and saying mean things.
Remember, it’s never too late to start talking to your daughter—and to tell her that you love her.
If you think your child needs additional support or is facing a life-changing decision, be sure to seek professional help. Contact us or visit our Resources to find adolescent health clinics that offer individual and family counseling.
Love Heals holds workshops just for parents and guardians in conjunction with this guide. Contact us to learn more.