ESSENCE Poll: How Do You Determine When to Have “The Talk” With Your Child?

Talking about “the birds and the bees” is a crossroad that’s hard for both parents and children, but one that researchers say is necessary.

A study done by JAMA Pediatrics found that kids who have open conversation about sex with their parents make safer sex choices, reports TIME.

It’s important, says lead author Laura Widman. “There was a significant effect. Kids whose parents talked with them about sexually healthy practices were more likely to take precautions and preventative measures.”

This means that young people that know more about sex are less likely to get sexually transmitted diseases or have unintended pregnancies. The Centers for Disease Control confirm that half of high school kids will have had sex by the time they graduate and STDs are consistently acquired by people between 15 and 24.

The study also found that parental advice when it comes to sex is especially effective when it comes from moms and that boys need “the talk” just as much as girls do.

In a world where schools are less likely to take on the task of teaching children about sex and there’s more exposure than ever to mature material, how do you approach the subject?

How do you decide when the best time to talk to your kids about sex? Let us know!