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Campaign urges parents to use car time to talk to kids about relationships and sex

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The Finger Lakes Sexual Health Coalition is kicking off "The Sex Drive," a campaign that encourages parents to have brief but important conversations with their kids about relationships and sex.

Coalition co-chair Kate Ott says one of the best places for these talks is in the car.  For one thing, she says, no one can leave the room.

"But, the other side of that is, if it's a short trip you know that it's close-ended, so the agony will be over in five or ten minutes,” Ott said. “Both parties know that; the parents know that and the child knows that."

Ott suggests that parents open the conversation with a question or observation about a movie, television show, or commercial they know their child has seen.

"A popular show has been Pretty Little Liars for adolescents. Pick out a situation there, or just simply ask, 'What do you think about that show? Do you think teens are portrayed realistically in that show? Why or why not?' Or talk about a specific character who you know is having sex on that show, and ask, 'What do you think about that?' "

Even if children are not yet dating or sexually active, Ott says they will remember that their parent was willing to talk about it and may be more willing to approach the subject in the future. 

More tips and conversation starters will be posted on the coalition's Facebook page.

To hear an interview with Kate Ott, click on the LISTEN link above.