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It's your choice
It's your choice

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For Parents and Educators


The Florida Abstinence Education Program, as part of it’s “It’s Great to Wait” abstinence education campaign, sponsors a number of community outreach activities designed to increase public awareness of sexual abstinence as the healthiest choice for youth. Components of the campaign include annual youth rallies, parent workshops and educator training classes held regionally across the state.

During the rallies, parents are provided with their own mini-workshop which focuses on communication skills and techniques for talking to their kids about though subjects like sex, drugs, STDs and choices. The workshops are held at no cost to participants in many cities across Florida. For 2007 Rally and Workshop dates and locations click here.

Educators click here

Parents - talk to your kids!

  • Be available to talk to your teens; treat each other with respect and trust.
  • Ask your teen questions about their opinions, friends, schools or movies, but let your teen tell his or her story.
  • Try asking open ended questions such as “What was the best part of your day?”
  • Support their goals. Ask what your teen’s goals are, both for the long range and for the short term and share your support.
  • Encourage, educate and empower your teen to make healthy choices.
  • Give your teen the guidance, information and skills to be successful.

If you made poor sexual decisions when you were young that should not keep you from guiding your teen to healthier decisions. Many of today’s parents were teens when they began having sex. Now we know more about STDs, the limits of condom protections and the consequences of sex at an early age.

Help your teen develop refusal skills

You cannot go everywhere with your teen, so it’s important for your teen to choose good friends. Get to know their friends and what they are doing. But even when your teen’s close friends are making healthy choices and avoiding sex, your teen will probably be in situations that are unexpected. So he or she needs to learn how to refuse. Let your teen know that you understand peer pressure and how strong it can be. Then help your teen think though and plan what he or she would do in a tough or uncomfortable situation.

Teach your teen the “N.I.C.E” way to say “No.”

Teens are sensitive to peer pressure. They do not want their peers to make fun of them or ridicule them. So when your teen is confronted by a situation that violates their values, comfort or safety, they should be prepared to say “no” firmly, but graciously, by following these four steps:


– Say “No.” Not “maybe” or “later.” Teach your teen to set boundaries and be decisive. If your teen makes the decision not to have sex before being confronted by pressure to have sex, it will be easier to say “no” when the situation arises.


Follow with an “I” statement: “I plan to wait several years before I have sex.” Or "I’m not going to have sex until I marry.” Or “Sex isn’t part of my game plan right now.”


If the pressure continues, “Change.” Teach your teen to change the topic: “Did you see the game on TV last night?” Or change their conversation partner: “Julie is over there. I need to ask her something.” Or change the location: “I’m going back into the kitchen."


If these strategies do not help, your teen needs an “Exit” plan. Teens should leave a bad situation immediately. If your teen does not have a way home, you or some other trusted adult will need to pick him or her up. It is a good idea for you and your teen to have a pre-arranged code phrase that means "Come and pick me up. And hurry!”

Practice these steps with your teen. Make sure your teen remembers the steps by asking, “What would you do if…” Then listen to how your teen would handle risky situations. Help your teen to know how to show affection and caring without engaging in sexual behavior.

Source: Parents, Speak Up!  U.S. Department of Health & Human Services


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