For general tips on how to get the conversation started and ideas of what to talk about, visit OAH’s Talking with Teens pages on these topics.

Research shows that teens who talk with parents about these topics begin to have sex at later ages, use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex, have better communication with romantic partners, have sex less often than other adolescents, Children often begin asking questions about where babies come from at a young age.

“The number-one benefit is safety,” says the father of two grown children.

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”) and, if applicable, divorce (“Dad, how can two people love each other for years and years, then stop being in love? Having an imperfect romantic résumé yourself does not disqualify you from initiating this conversation.

You might say, “I haven’t always made the wisest decisions when it comes to love, but I’ve promised myself that the next time I become involved with someone special, I won’t settle for anything less than a healthy, honest relationship.

However, you might not recognize it as dating per se.

The recent trend among early adolescents is for boys and girls to socialize as part of a group.

Get to know your children’s friends and their families.

Also, be sure to monitor what your children are reading, watching and listening to, and encourage your children to think about consequences from behaviors they may be exposed to in the media. Dating during adolescence is common and can be part of healthy development.

Topping their list of questions is, “How do you know when you’re in love with somebody?

” They are also genuinely curious about their parents’ courtship and marriage (“Mom, did you fall in love with Dad at first sight?

Ensure your child has regular visits with a medical provider.

Sometimes a young person will feel more comfortable asking a doctor or other medical professional specific questions about sex and reproductive health.

These are great opportunities to lay the foundations for later talks about your expectations and values about sexual behavior and relationships. Be clear and specific about family values and rules about when it’s okay to start dating and your expectations around dating and sexual behavior.