Having both mother and father is essential for the development of a child. Both parents are a vital component for a child's emotional balance, stability, self-esteem, mental and sexual health.

Prior research has neglected the influence a father may have on an adolescent's sexual behavior. However, researchers from New York University have found a correlation between a father's influence and children's risky sexual behavior.

Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University in New York City, and colleagues conducted an assessment to evaluate the role of the paternal influence on children's risky sexual behavior. The review contains 13 studies published between 1980 and 2011 that targets adolescents between 11-to-18-year-olds. The analysis also focused on the paternal parenting process.

The emotional quality of a father-child relationship was the most frequently studied paternal influence.

Guilamo-Ramos found compared to a mother's influence, a father's impact is independently linked to adolescents sexual behavior. The study revealed that father-child communication regarding sex is directly linked to an adolescent's sexual behavior.

"Our review makes clear that fathers have the potential to uniquely influence adolescent sexual behavior, yet have been overlooked in family-based intervention development," the authors write. "We argue for greater research to identify potential mechanisms of father-specific influence that will support successful development of father-based interventions and expand the opportunity to support adolescent health and well-being."

If you're a parent and you need help discussing sex with your children, Web MD suggests:

  • Starting young, many health experts say children become curious about body parts as young as three.
  • Do not use pet names for body parts.
  • Use current events and movies as an opportunity, for example the movie Juno, which discusses teenage pregnancy.
  • Discuss different types of sex such as oral, anal and missionary.
  • Don't leave anything out.

This study was published in the journal Pediatrics.