Free workshop to give parents resources for talking to teens about sex, abstinence

By Spectrum Health

BIG RAPIDS – Reed City Area Public Schools is hosting a free workshop designed to provide resources, tips and empowerment for parents to have conversations with their teen children about abstinence and sex.

The workshop will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, at Reed City High School and includes a free dinner.

The nationally recognized workshops, called Talk Early and Talk Often, are two-hour sessions designed to help parents and caregivers of middle school and high school youth recognize opportunities for open conversations. The workshops will help parents and caregivers listen and respond to their children with greater confidence and skill.

The free workshop is organized by Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals, with grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

“Parents are the primary educators of their children,” said Scott Lombard, manager of community education at Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City hospitals. “Continued communication at home is vital in helping our youth avoid the serious consequences of sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. We’re pleased to partner with schools and parents on these workshops, which empower parents on an important issue affecting families.”

The workshop will provide parents skills to:

  • Open the door to conversation about abstinence and sexuality.
  • Address sticky situations and uncomfortable topics.
  • Recognize and use teachable moments.
  • Become an “askable” parent.

“Young people want and value information from their parents,” said RCAPS Superintendent Tim Webster. “When young people have a positive relationship with their parents they are less likely to engage in sexual risk-taking behavior. Open and honest communication about abstinence and sexuality between parents and their children is necessary from childhood through adulthood.”

The Talk Early and Talk Often event is for adults only. Child care will be provided for parents with young children at no charge. Dinner also will be provided to children. Those who attend will be entered into gift prize drawings. Seating is limited.

To register, parents should call (231) 592-4207 or register online at