Parents, puberty & sex education in schools – Part 1

Parents, puberty & sex education in schools – Part 1
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Part 1 - Where do we start?

Last month's article on ‘supporting parents across the world’ looked at why it’s important to understand some of the difficulties parents face when talking to their children about sensitive subjects associated with sex. This month, we will take it a step further by looking at parents, puberty and the challenges of sex education, often provided by teachers in schools.

When it comes to parents and sex education in primary schools, the first thought that comes to my head is ‘when do we start talking to children about sex?’ The simple answer is … we don’t! What we do though is that from as young as they can learn and understand, we teach our 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. Some refer to the teaching of these subjects as ‘Sex Education’ which causes much hysteria and debate, when in fact the information given to children is centred around ‘Personal, Social and Health Education’.

Parents do a great job in teaching their children before they go to primary school and then teachers reinforce and add to this, so ‘YES’ I agree with Simon Blake the Chief Executive of Brook who in a Guardian article said that “It is completely misleading to say that four-year-olds are being taught about sex”. However, Lucy Emmerson the Co-ordinator of the Sex Education Forum in the same article has hit the nail on the head when saying that “a planned curriculum is needed and that this should be built upon year by year to address pupils’ needs as they learn and develop”. The question is … where do parents fit into this education and what is their understanding of what is being taught to their children as they reach puberty and develop into young adults?

In reality parents know that their children will be taught about puberty and given sex education in secondary school. The thing that parents often don’t know is what topics are taught, and when. As a result parents do not know when to initiate conversations with their children, which acts as a barrier for discussing sexual matters openly with their children.

Admittedly some parents get embarrassed when talking to their children about aspects of puberty and sexual topics with their children, but this is mainly because they had poor sex education themselves. However, this does not mean that parents do not want better for their own children and therefore they want to talk to their children, just as children want to talk to their parents about sexual matters. Children trust their parents and therefore this closeness allows for intimate issues to be discussed. Is it therefore not the case that instead of just focusing on giving young people the sex education they need that we also give parents the sexual knowledge, skills and confidence to teach and talk openly with their children about sexual matters?

Here at we aim to do just this, but parents would be helped massively if they knew about sex education in schools and the related topics are taught to their children and when ~ an area that schools need to build upon.

Read Part 2 of this article here

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.

About the author

Dr Triece is Founder and MD of A website that is devoted to improving sex and relationship education and the sexual health of young people by working with parents, schools, health care professionals and different organisations.