Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here.
Today’s question is one for you to put to your tweens: “What do you know about STIs?”
Often when we refer to tweens, we’re talking kids in the 10-12-year-old range…so still relatively young. But not necessarily too young to start learning about STIs.
The advantage of a head start
Research tells us that youth who start learning about sexual health early in adolescence, before they become sexually active are more likely to practice safer sex when they’re older.
There’s also a lot to say about STIs. There are different illness, different symptoms, different treatment options, different outcomes, and different strategies for risk reduction. As families, I personally feel it’s far easier and effective for us to put STIs on our kids’ radars early so that we have the option of discussing it over time, rather than slamming them with one massive safer sex lecture.
This question isn’t about Telling Our Tween Everything They’ll Ever Need To Know About Sexually Transmitted Infections Right Now. It’s more like, Chapter One: I Thought You Should Know STIs Are aA Thing.”
Some tweens already know a bit about STIs and safer sex. They may have heard about it online or from an older sibling or another student at school. They might have noticed a poster or ad somewhere. It may have already come up in a past conversation you’ve had with them.
If, however; your tween is new to the concept of STIs, you might explain it like this:
“Sometimes when people have sex, they pass infections or viruses along and they can get sick. There are a bunch of different STIs. Some are pretty easy to treat, others can be really serious. There are ways you can protect yourself and your partner and reduce your risk of getting sick. We can talk about that now or we can come back to it another time – maybe when you’re closer to being ready for that kind of sex.”