We recently conducted a survey with 6th grade students to find out their thoughts on the subject of sex. The survey was not intrusive, but appropriately crafted to get their honest responses. The survey results were intriguing to say the least, but one point really stood out.
A question on the survey asked preteens to note the source for the knowledge they had about sex. Overwhelmingly, the majority selected with “Media” or “Peers/Siblings.” Based on their answers, 70%-80% of what they knew about sex came from one of those two sources. The other 20%-30% came from “school.” Only a few responses noted “Parents” as a source for their information about sex.
While this was shocking, it was not the end of their responses. A later question on the survey asked, “Who would you prefer to talk with about sex?” This question was not multiple-choice, so preteens had to write in their response. 96% of the surveys responded with either “Mom” or “Dad.”
According to this survey taken by our students, preteens are learning about sex from what the see on television and Internet. That is being supplemented by the conversations they have with their peers.
The influence of these outside sources has left preteens with questions and a desire for answers. The truth is: preteens prefer to discuss the topic of sex with their parents. Many parents would not believe this response, even if they read the surveys! Preteens recognize the wisdom and experience of their parents, and they are willing to listen.
Preteens are learning about sex. If parents are the ones owning that conversation, who is? If you are a parent or leader of preteens, how are you talking to preteens about sex?
Stay tuned this week for some tips on talking with preteens about sex.