Parent Action for Healthy Kids Releases Six Ways Dads Can Help Delay the Early Onset of Their Teen’s Sexual Activity

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Research shows that dads are an important influence on whether their teenagers become pregnant or cause a pregnancy. A dad’s behavior and his connectedness with his child at every stage of development can influence future decisions they make about sexual activity and contraception use.

Barb Flis, Founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids

A dad’s behavior and his connectedness with his child at every stage of development can influence future decisions they make about sexual activity and contraception use.

Research shows that dads are an important influence on whether their teenagers become pregnant or cause a pregnancy. A dad’s behavior and his connectedness with his child at every stage of development can influence future decisions about sexual activity and contraception use. Parent Action for Healthy Kids releases six ways that dads can help delay the early onset of their teen’s sexual activity.

Look for teachable moments:
When spending time with your kids, be aware of what is happening in the moment and make it teachable. When listening to the radio and a song with sexually explicit lyrics is played, that's a door opener to talking about sex. Try to push through any embarrassment or fear and before you know it, those two inhibiting feelings will be gone.

Listen more than you speak:
Nobody wants a lecture, especially a kid. Instead of getting on your soapbox, dads might ask their teens what they think about sexual situations they see in a video game or read about on Facebook. When listening to their answer without lecturing or judging you will build respect, trust, and have a better idea of the direction of your teens’ thinking.

Be inquisitive:
Open-ended questions allow dads to better gauge what their kids are thinking. Instead of “how was your day?” try, “tell me one cool thing that happened to you today”.

Keep the conversation going:
Having "The Talk" only one time is about as effective as giving one swimming lesson and then expecting your teen to swim the length of the pool. Frequent small talks spread over time (pre-school through high school) are less embarrassing, make you a more askable parent, and build communication skills, which means the talks are much more effective.

Know when opportunity knocks:
Never miss an opportunity to learn more about your kids and their friends. For example, kids need someone to chauffeur them. When carting the kids and their friends around, listen to what's going on in the backseat. Especially with middle school kids, it's amazing the way they have conversations as if parents are not even in the car.

Stick to them like glue:
The teen brain is a work in progress. They are working primarily off the emotional part of their brain with little assistance from the prefrontal cortex. This means they are on an emotional roller coaster without the benefit of a fully developed prefrontal cortex to help calm down, think rationally and make good decisions. Dads need to stick to them like a well-paid consultant. Who better than dad to help a teen practice skills such as assertiveness, the payoff will be enormous. When in their mid 20’s and that brain is fully developed, they will say what a great job their dad did.

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Barb Flis, Founder of Parent Action for Healthy Kids, is an advocate for parents, and a published parenting and children’s health expert. Her focus lies in connecting families, schools and communities for the purpose of promoting the well-being of children’s social, emotional and physical health. Barb lends a parent voice for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Michigan Surgeon General’s Michigan Steps Up campaign, American Cancer Society Coordinated School Health Leadership Training Institute, Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm to coordinate the Talk Early & Talk Often initiative, the Michigan’s Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) initiative and, in March 2010, assisting with the development of the parent toolkit for the First Lady's Let's Move initiative.

Over the past fourteen years, Barb has amassed significant professional and educational experiences while advocating for both parents and children. In addition to keynotes, professional development workshops, webinars, and motivational speeches, Barb produces customized training sessions, and focus groups on the topics of Coordinated School Health (CSH), HIV/Sex Education, Nutrition and Physical Activity, Bullying, Mental Health, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (GLBTQ) youth. Her “parent-to-parent” approach has garnered her much praise and national media attention.

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