May 14 2012
PHOTO CREDIT: bizjournals.com
Being a parent is probably the hardest work you'll ever do in your life. And as your child grows up, your responsibilities change, too. From diapers to training wheels -- and eventually driver's ed, parents have to constantly adapt.
At some point, you'll have to have "the talk." It can be stressful and awkward, but every parent knows that day will come. And talking to children about sexual health has a strong tie to their overall health -- it reduces the chances of unplanned pregnancy.
Nicole Angresano, VP of Community Impact at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, says parents can make a huge difference.
"Parents need to be their young person's primary sexual health educator," she said. "Even though kids may flinch or make faces, they really do want parents to talk with them about their sexual health."
To get the conversation started, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee has set up a website called babycanwait.com. It's filled with tips on how to bridge that "awkward" gap with your child.
"You don't have to sit down and have 'the talk' like we used to talk about in the olden days. You have to have many, many talks over many, many years," Angresano said.
The United Way is striving to reduce the teen pregnancy rate in Milwaukee 46 percent by 2015. While there's still a ways to go, the rates are verifiably going down. And the message is starting to sink in with teens.
"We're over half way to our 2015 goal, but I think is really important is that we don't become complacent or self congratulatory," Angresano said. "We still have a lot of work to do to get to that 46 percent reduction."
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