Young people soak up information and messages everyday including
those about sex and relationships. Young people learn about sex
from friends, TV, and magazines. Sometimes this information is
patchy and inaccurate. This is why it is important to speak
to the young person in your care.
Educating young people about sex and relationships means helping
them understand the information they need to keep themselves safe
and healthy. Young people don't only need to know about how their
bodies change or about how babies are made, they need to learn
about relationships and respect for themselves and others. They
also need to know from you what you expect of them.
Starting at a young age as appropriate and building up slowly is
the best way.
As they grow up, young people need to be able to talk and learn
about these things:
- Their developing body. They will do some
learning about puberty at school but you need to talk about this at
- Respect for themselves. Your child needs to
know that they are loved and cared for and that they deserve to be
healthy and happy in their personal relationships.
- Respect for others. They need to understand
that we are all different and regardless of being male or female,
heterosexual or gay or lesbian, each of us is important and
deserves to be treated fairly.
- How to communicate. They need to understand
that good relationships happen when people can talk to each other
about what they want and listen to what their partner wants.
- Develop confidence. They need to be able to
resist pressure, to wait to have sex until they are ready, to say
no and eventually to negotiate safer sex when they feel
- How to protect themselves. They need to find
out about how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted
It's not always easy to talk about sexual matters with your
children, but the evidence shows that if you talk openly and
honestly young people are more likely to delay having sex and to
use contraception when they do. If they don't get information from
you, they may get it from less reliable sources.
Although it is best to begin answering questions at a level they
can understand, from the time your children are toddlers, it is
never too late to begin. Talking will help you establish a trusting
relationship that will continue into your children's adult
Let your child know you love them and always will, even if you
don't agree with their opinion, or don't like their behaviour.
Teenagers especially respect an open, non-judgemental approach.
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