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Essay Nonfiction Social Sciences

Talking to Parents About Adolescent Sexuality

By Amie M. Ashcraft, PhD, MPHa and Pamela J. Murray, MD, MPHb, 2017

The importance of parents, guardians, and other caregivers (henceforth referred to as “parents,” but inclusive of the adults who function in a parenting role) in all aspects of adolescent development cannot be overstated, but their role in sexual education is crucial. Parents are the single largest influence on their adolescents’ decisions about sex, and parents underestimate the impact they have on their decisions.1 For most parents and their children, the prospect of talking about topics related to sexuality creates anxiety and apprehension, and this may lead to avoidance of discussions (Table 1 provides a list of common sources of anxiety associated with talking about sexuality).

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