[avatar user=”krider” size=”150″ align=”left”]

October is Let’s Talk Month, a national campaign to encourage family chats. While the main focus is on communicating with your kids about sexuality, there are many other topics parents can include in these conversations.

Yes, it is important to talk to your kids about sex, but it is also important to be an “askable” parent. This means that your child should feel comfortable enough with you that he or she can talk to you about all of the pressures of adolescence.

Alcohol, bullying, drugs and sexual activity are just a few of the topics that should be discussed with teens before they find themselves in a situation they don’t know how to handle.

Educating your child on the dangers of these activities will make for a stronger child. He or she will be more likely to say no to peer pressure if they know exactly what they are getting themselves into.

With the age a teen begins risky behaviors getting lower, it is becoming more and more important that parents communicate with their children early. Alcohol should play a role in this talk as there is a correlation between teens that drink alcohol and early sexual behavior.

According to a two-year study done by Columbia University, teens who drink or abuse drugs are much more likely to have sex at a younger age and with multiple partners than those who do not. These young teens (age fourteen and younger) are two times more likely to have sex if they are abusing alcohol than their peers who do not. Drug abuse raises the risk to four times more likely.

Parents, talk to your kids about the pressures they face on a day-to-day basis. This is their time to learn about themselves and who they are as a person, and if they are too busy participating in activities meant for a more mature crowd, they may not be able to go back to the innocent child they once were.