Healthy living

Talk soon. Talk often. A guide for parents talking to their kids about sex

As a parent you will answer thousands of questions but the ones about relationships and sexuality are often the most challenging to answer. Some parents can be so worried about giving an absolutely perfect answer that they end up saying nothing at all.

You and your family are the most important source of relationships and sexuality information for your children. More than anyone else, you will lay the foundations for well adjusted, confident and healthy children who go on to experience positive, respectful relationships.

So what is the best way to handle these very important questions? It’s simple - talking a little and often makes a positive difference to your child’s sexual health.

In response to advice that parents needed support in their role as the primary sex educators of their children, WA Health has developed Talk soon. Talk often:a guide for parents talking to their kids about sex. This free resource has been developed to help parents initiate regular and relaxed conversations with their children about relationships and sexuality education.

First published in 2011 and updated in 2019, this resource includes:

  • age and stage guidance for parents of children 0 to 18 years
  • how to answer tricky questions on topics such as how babies are made, puberty, sexting, contraception and sex
  • conversations starters
  • key messages on preparing your teen for healthy sexually active lives, consent, contraception and sexually transmissible infections
  • Western Australian and Australian statistics
  • references to services and reliable websites and books.

Talk Soon Talk Often. A guide for parents talking to their kids about sex (PDF 5MB)

A Top tips sheet (A4 flyer)  outlining the top 20 tips for talking and the 10 reasons why it is important to talk soon and talk often is also available. These key messages can also be found on pages 10-11 and 76-77 of the Talk soon. Talk often book.

Tip sheet (PDF 280KB)

Yarning quiet ways

Yarning quiet ways is based on the Talk soon. Talk often book. and was developed in consultation with Aboriginal families.  It gives tips to parents of young Aboriginal people to help make yarning about sex and relationships a little easier.  

Yarning quiet ways (PDF 5MB)

Research

The Parent Sexual Health Resources project was commissioned by the Department of Health in Western Australia (WA), following consultative research with young people in WA about their own experience of sexual health education.

This study concluded that there is a need for resources to support parents and family members as sexuality educators of their children.

    Due to the high demand for the parent resource, 'Talk Soon. Talk Often', the book will only be posted to Western Australian postcodes. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Talk soon. Talk often. order form

    To order copies of these resources please complete the following online form. Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

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    Where to get help

    • Kids Helpline (external site) – Kids can talk confidentially anytime for any reason with a trained counsellor on 1800 551 800 (24 hours. Free from a land line only).
    • Get the Facts (external site) – A website for teenagers with information about sexual health and relationships. Includes an ‘ask a question’ function where young people can email a question that will be answered by a health professional.
    • Healthdirect (external site) – For trusted general health information call healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
    • Sexual Health Quarters (external site) – For a range of professional services including testing and treatment of STIs, contraception, unplanned pregnancy, cervical screens and sexual health counselling.
    • Sexual Health Helpline (external site) – For confidential information and referrals from clinicians, phone the 9227 6178 (Metro) or 1800 198 205 (Country)
    • Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) – For help with sexual abuse or assault, phone the SARC (24 hour emergency line) on 6458 1828 or 1800 199 888 for country callers (free from land line only).

    Acknowledgements

    Public Health


    This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

    Text: Let's talk about sex. Information about safe sex, STI, relationships and more.