Parents, puberty & sex education in schools – Part 2
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Part 2 – How do we move forward?
Last month's article on ‘Parents, puberty and sex education in schools: Part 1 – Where do we start?’ looked at the challenges of sex education within schools, often provided by teachers. This month, we will take it a step further by looking at what more needs to be done to include, and support parents in the sex education that is given to their children.
There is no denying that some schools pride themselves in providing effective sex education. However, we need to acknowledge that this is not consistent across all schools as each school has a different approach for providing sex education to its pupils based on their own sex education policy. It is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to truly assess what children and young people are learning and understanding on a consistent basis when it comes to sex and relationships.
As we know sex education happens on a progressive level and it is easy for parents to talk to their young children about how to take care of their bodies (e.g. hygiene), differences between boys and girls, friendships, keeping themselves safe and aim on increasing their self-esteem. However, the problem arises as their children go to secondary school whereby more in-depth sex education is provided that covers aspects of puberty, pregnancy, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, sexual feelings and behaviours.
Parents are often criticised for not talking and/or adding to the sex and relationships that their children receive as they go through adolescence. Although this is sometimes down to their lack of knowledge, the problem is amplified if they don’t know the sex education that is given to their children. If parents were informed as to way sex education was provided, and when, then this would allow them to prepare for conversations that are likely to take place with their children.
Parents are their child’s most prevailing, if not influential educators, so it is ridiculous to say that they don’t teach their children about sex and relationships. However, parents need to feel empowered when teaching their children and a way forward is for 1) to know the sex education that is given to their children, and 2) give parents the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach their children.
Peer-reviewed research has found that if parent’s knowledge of sexual matters is increased, then this in turn gives them the confidence and skills to talk more openly with their children about sex and relationships. A communication model has been developed that addresses the difficulties that parents face when talking to their children, but it is important to overcome some of these barriers and give parents the support they need.
It is time to stop criticising parents for their role in educating their children about sex and relationship education and aim to ensure schools and parents work together so children and young people have the knowledge and skills to make informed choices over their personal relationships and sexual behaviour as they develop into becoming young adults.
Here at Parent-Zone we aim to do just this. Parents can visit our Book Shop as a starting point to become more knowledgeable and gain the support and advice they need to educate their own children about all aspects associated with sex and relationships. Also claim your free e-book on ‘The ten things your kids want to know, but daren’t ask’ ~ a good read that allows parents to be prepared for the things their children want to know more about.
Don’t forget to claim your FREE e-book and check out the ‘Perfect Parenting and Puberty Changes in Your Son: Boys Will Be Boys’, ‘Perfect Parenting and Puberty Changes in Your Daughters: Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ and 'A to Z of Sex: Correct and Slang Terminology That Is Being Used By Kids, which so many parents have already learnt so much from.