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"Let’s Talk Month" - All About the Birds and the Bees

October 21, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - October is "Let's Talk Month," created to help encourage conversations between parents and children about sexuality. Rhonda Ruby, health education manager for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, knows it can be difficult for parents to know when to have that conversation and to what extent, but she says there are benefits to consider.

"We know that when those conversations are taking place, young people are much more likely to delay having sex, they are likely to have fewer partners, and they are much more likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control."

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has advice to help parents begin the conversation, as well as guidelines on age-appropriate information, on its website, says Ruby.

"It's never too early to start having that conversation. Of course, you want those conversations to be age-appropriate because what you say to, perhaps, an eight-year-old is going to be different than what you say to an 18-year-old. It's kind-of a process, where you can do it in phases."

She says the biggest fear they hear from parents is that if they bring up the subject, it will be interpreted as giving consent to have sex. She adds research has found that just isn't the case - and in fact, young people want to hear the information from a parent.

The website is www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/index.htm.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA