Dads will talk 'birds and bees with kids' when prompted
Although mothers are usually the ones who have "the birds and the bees" talks with their children, with targeted prompting and guidance, fathers will also step up to the plate, a new study has claimed.
For the study, the researchers analyzed mothers' and fathers' responses to a public health campaign about the benefits of having parent-child talks about delaying sexual activity.
"Our findings show that fathers can increase communication frequency on a potentially awkward topic. Then, as their children age and even more important and sensitive topics come up, these fathers will have developed the kind of relationship with their children that can help conversation flow more smoothly," Jonathan Blitstein, lead author of the study from RTI International, said.
The 18-month study utilized data from the Parents Speak Up National Campaign (PSUNC).
Results show that fathers of pre-adolescent and adolescent children exposed to a multi-media campaign increased their communication efforts compared to the control group.
Mothers exposed to the same campaign did not increase their communication significantly, perhaps because they were already engaging in these discussions.
Engaging in these talks has critical implications the authors wrote, since previous studies show such conversations can also influence other positive, healthier sexual behaviours like more use of contraceptives - including condoms - and having fewer sexual partners.
"Parental emotional bonds with children, parental monitoring of adolescent behaviour and parental communication about sex are all linked with better sexual health outcomes among youth," Aubrey Spriggs Madkour from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said.
"Public service announcements or PSAs can reach fathers 'where they are,' and hold great promise for engaging them in these important discussions with their children," she said.
The study has been published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.