Uneasy and uninformed.
That is apparently how many parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teens feel when it comes to talking to them about sex and dating, according to a study published in Sexuality Research and Social Policy.
The study – which included 44 parents of LGBT teens between the ages of 13 and 17 – noted how parents faced many challenges in trying to educate their teens about sex, including their general discomfort in talking about it, and feeling unable to offer accurate advice about safe LGBT sex.
According to Michael Newcomb, who is the associate director for scientific development at Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, and who authored the study, parents play an important role in helping their children learn how to have healthy sexual relationships.
But with the struggle in discussing this with their LGBT teens, it is worth stressing that “we need resources to help all parents – regardless of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity – overcome the awkwardness and discomfort that can result from conversations about sexual health.”
Specifically, if programs can be designed to strengthen the communications – thus the relationships – between parents and their LGBT children, this could have a tremendous impact on LGBT teens’ health and wellbeing.