Being a parent of a teenager sometimes keeps me awake at night, especially after I read an article about an unwanted teenage pregnancy, abandoned babies, incest and such. I am sure that this is a concern that is shared by most parents if not all.

Coming from a typical Asian family, the words sex, relationships and such were words that when used could get your mouth washed out with soap or filled with red chillies, literally. Even in this era of information dissemination, topics like sex and relationships are taboo. It is very difficult for the kids to realize what is happening around them as they see all subtle sexual overtones in the television serials and other places. This naturally causes questions in their mind and they learn about sex from unwanted sources.

Information from unwanted sources

Teenagers today are not like they were in the 90s and the resources that are available to them regarding sex is unlimited. If parents don't want to talk about it at home, there are always friends who are willing to discuss this or better still go online and the internet provides limitless information. However, are they getting the right kind of information? A respectable news channel reported recently that the rise of teenage pregnancies in Asian countries were increasing at an alarming rate with 7 out of every 10 pregnancies being teen related and mostly involving teenagers below the age of 19.

A true story

When interviewed about her pregnancy, a teenager confessed that she had had sex with her boyfriend as she felt unloved and alone and was under the impression that by giving herself to him, he would stay with her forever. Sad to say that this fairytale did not have a happy ending and the teenager was left alone, pregnant and rejected not only by society but by her family as well.

Teach your kids about sex

Just like we taught them how to take their first steps, to ride a bike, recite the alphabet, we should also teach them about sex. With the increase of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases the need for our children to be given proper sex education is dire. There is no given age limit when sex education should start but surveys show that starting young before the child reaches puberty and building up on the knowledge basing on the child's physical, emotional and mental development provides a good and solid foundation for sex education.

Parents and teachers are responsible

Sex education should start at home with parents having open, honest and informative conversations with their kids and enhanced in schools, where the information provided is more organized, factual and given objectively. Parents and teachers can work together by interacting on the modules being taught and use this as a basis for interaction at home and open up avenues for discussion. As parents and educators, sex education should be our responsibility.

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