In a recent blog, we found out that parents typically think their teens are both more innocent and less interested in the opposite sex than they actually are. It’s no surprise, then, that when it comes to parents talking to their children about sex, they are almost always a step or two behind where they should be! A study by the Rand corporation found that “A large proportion of parents and adolescents reported that they did not communicate about key topics before the adolescents became sexually active.” When they did, “Communication was almost always earlier with daughters than with sons and earlier relative to their sexual activity, which means that parents typically had less time to communicate preemptively with sons.” Unfortunately, and tragically, that means that some of our children will also be experiencing the consequences of their actions before we’ve had a chance to warn them, or steer them toward healthier choices. Sadly, I had a teen boy in one of my classes who looked exhausted from trying to juggle senior year stresses at the same time he was helping raise his baby. I also have a friend whose very first sexual experience led not only to an unplanned pregnancy, but an incurable STD. The decision she made “just once” impacts her still in her 50s. Parents…now’s the time to comment on that TV show or news headline, discuss those lyrics your teen is singing, talk about boundaries for dating, etc. We can’t make them choose wisely, but we can alert them to what “wise” looks like before they are in the middle of a relationship they are unprepared for.