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Can Washing Prevent STDs?

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As a mother herself, Snyder tells WebMD that parents should begin a dialogue with their kids as early as age 10. To get started, here's what she suggests:

  • Ask your doctor for guidance and age-appropriate handouts.
  • Check Internet sites for additional information.
  • Focus on body awareness and developing self-respect.
  • Avoid fear messages, which aren't yet relevant to them.

But it's OK to tell children what you think is right, according to Marcia Rubin, PhD, MPH, the director of research and sponsored programs for the American School Health Association. "Kids learn the basics at school, but they look to their parents in setting boundaries for their behavior. That's why an ongoing dialogue with mom and dad has been shown to delay sexual activity," she explains.

The idea is to make a connection and deepen your bond. So to keep kids coming back for more, here's what Rubin recommends:

  • Tell them why you believe what you believe.
  • Learn the facts and share them calmly.
  • Offer kids the benefit of your mistakes.
  • Try not to tell your children what to do.
  • Talk with them, not at them.

 

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