My number one takeaway for parents is always:

TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK

Talk to your kids about sex whenever and wherever you can.  You want to normalize the topic.  This does a few things,

it makes the topic less awkward because it’s a topic that is discussed frequently.  It makes discussions less formal.  Your kids aren’t worried that if they want to have a discussion with you they have to wait until Sunday after church wearing their suit or dress, sitting straight-backed in the front parlor…you get the idea.  Because Mom and Dad talk to me when we garden, at the dinner table, while we watch TV, or driving to soccer practice, I can talk to them anytime too.

I have an aunt and uncle that are really good at this.  They regularly have discussions, often around the dinner table, about what their teenagers are experiencing outside of the home.  Their children feel comfortable enough that they come to their parents and bring up locker room talk and other things they are exposed to at school.  They don’t just take their peers’ word for it, they get the truth from their parents.

My mother also was a good example of teaching us to pay attention to the messages we received in the media, recognizing truth, and rejecting unhealthy messages.  Even though, when Mom would say, “what message is this commercial teaching us?” we would often respond with eyes rolling, “if we drink beer we will be super attractive to everyone, we will get all the ‘hot’ guys/girls, we will be super popular, and live on a beach,” it made a huge impact in my life.  While it wasn’t always about sex, I still automatically analyze commercials looking for the message they want me to believe.