It’s been few months now since the release of Usher Raymond’s sexual health status. That news did some numbers on social media, didn’t it?! Whew!! We are all now aware of Usher’s alleged virus diagnosis that he never disclosed to the public or to the female accuser. The court documents have “revealed” that these two adults have clearly made some poor decisions and are now possibly facing some pretty interesting consequences.
All of this brings me to the question: How can we, as parents, provide our children with the knowledge of sexual transmitted diseases (STD) and provide them with accurate insight for them to protect themselves and others?
With African American children being at the highest risk for an STD, we should try to convey knowledge to our children at a young age, as soon as they become sexually aware and not at the point when they are already sexually active. There is a lot of material available to assist with having “the talk” with your children. A website that I regularly visit, http://kidshealth.org/, is an educational site that focuses on children’s health. It provides practical advice in a kid-friendly way. It is not only for parents, but it is also an available resource for kids and teens. Below are some of the takeaways from the site and some additional things I have gathered along the way:
1st – Always try to stay informed and up-to-date. Make sure you have done your research, and you are up-to-date on the transmission of the diseases and prevention. Do not misinform your child with incorrect information. If your child has asked questions that you do not know the answers to, reach out to a reliable source to get your answers. Another great reliable source is Planned Parenthood; this organization has a ton of resources to help make these types of conversations easier. Planned Parenthood will also provide a tip sheet for guidance on talking to children of all ages.
2nd – Talk to your children to see what they already know about STDs and what they have already learned. What they provide to you may be semi-incorrect or completely incorrect, just be sure to listen carefully, and provide them with correct and accurate information so that they can make the right decisions and protect themselves accordingly.
3rd – Ask your children what they think about sexual scenarios that they hear or see in the media. This may help you lead in to talking with them about safe sex and risky behaviors.
4th – Encourage your children to share their fears, questions, or concerns with you. Ensure them that you are open and non-judgmental so that they are comfortable with being open with you. Also, make sure to not lecture them, and allow them to take the lead in the conversation.
5th – Explain to them that the only sure way to remain STD-free is to not have sex or any intimate contact with anyone outside of a committed, monogamous relationship, such as marriage. However, for those who are already having sex, discuss the use of protection in order to protect them against getting STDs.
African American children are at the highest risk of contracting an STD, higher than any other race. This is just one of the many reasons why this topic is extremely important, and this is also another good way to lead into having “the talk” with your children. In 2015, a study that was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that African American adolescents were affected by chlamydia at almost three times the rate for Hispanic teens and five times the rate for Caucasian teens. And, numbers were a lot higher for syphilis and gonorrhea.
We must get this under control with our children. Without the proper tools, our children are making poor decisions and this could have them face some extreme consequences just like what has happened to Usher Raymond. Talking about sex and STDs with your children is an anxious act, but a necessary one to have. Review references listed in the article to assist you with having “the talk” with your children.
Having “the talk” with your children, in this day in age, is extremely important. It is never too early or too late to have “the talk” and anytime is the right time! Just DO IT!