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Fathers' Influence: Helping Teens Avoid Sexual Risk Behaviors

Teens are influenced by their parents’ values, beliefs, and expectations of appropriate behavior. Research has largely focused on mothers. However, recent findings suggest that fathers may parent in ways that differ from mothers, and therefore represent an additional opportunity to support the health and well-being of their teens—separate from the influence of mothers.

Photo: father and daughter talking

Ways to Influence Your Teen's Sexual Risk Behavior: What Fathers Can Do [pdf 158K]

Fact sheet providing steps fathers can take to promote their teen's health

What can fathers do to help their teens avoid sexual risk behaviors?

CDC researchers reviewed published studies and identified ways fathers influence teen sexual risk behaviors.1 The following selected actions reflect recommendations from experts in the field:

  • Monitor and supervise your teen to provide guidance, clear expectations, and encouragement
  • Be involved in your teen’s life; spend time together in shared activities
  • Talk with your teen regularly to reinforce the importance of making healthy decisions
  • Share your values and be a positive role model

(More detailed action steps are provided in the CDC fact sheet: Ways to Influence Your Teen's Sexual Risk Behavior: What Fathers Can Do, available at the top of this page.)



  1. Guilamo-Ramos V, Bouris A, Lee J, et al. Paternal influences on adolescent sexual risk behaviors: A structured literature review. Pediatrics 2012;130(5):e1313-1325.


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