Cornwall Council via its Public Health Team is asking parents and carers to send in those difficult questions they worry their children will ask about relationships, sex and growing up.
The Sexual Health and Teenage Pregnancy Team have made an online resource for parents that will help them to answer the questions you may struggle with answering. Rather than saying “go and ask your mum”, or “that’s one for your dad to answer”, or even “Google it”, the team want to help you talk about relationships, sex and growing up in an age appropriate way.
Evidence shows that children and young people who have on-going and open conversations at home with their parents about relationships and sexual health initiate sex at an older age, have less sex during their teenage years and use condoms more consistently than their peers. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.
Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up. This is why we want to support parents to be positive and confident sources of relationships and sex education for their children.
A short video has been produced for social media – showing some examples of difficult questions, and encouraging parents to submit their own using an anonymous form. The more questions the team receive the better the resource they will be able to create.
Film below (please have the sound on):
For me, I am fully supportive issues like this are being highlighted. It is really important that we speak honestly to our children about relationships and sexual health in an age appropriate way whenever they ask. Fobbing them off or dodging the questions will only create more difficult issues to deal with as they get older. I know I have had those difficult questions asked, and have after the initial shock, have sat down with my son and talked about it.
Furthermore, we have reduced our teenage pregnancy rate in Cornwall by more than half since the national reduction strategy began, and we want to ensure that we continue a downward trend.
As parents we can often be caught off guard by our children’s inquisitive nature. But, if we get this right from a young age, by encouraging our children to come to us as a reliable source of information we are establishing great building blocks for their future. If parents do not answer their children’s questions they may turn to a far less reliable source.
Talking about sex does not encourage young people to have it either! Not talking about sex means young people have to find things out from sometimes far less desirable sources. It is very hard to control the flow of information into our children’s lives…. We need to make sure they are getting the right information from us.
Young people tell us time and again, they want to talk to reliable adults about relationship, sexual health and growing up
Parents can submit the difficult to answer questions they’ve been asked, or are worried they might be asked, online at www.cornwall.gov.uk/teenagepregnancy
Studies have found:
- Young people who talk to their parents were more likely to wait longer before having sex.
- Young people who had recently had a ‘good talk’ with a parent about sexual health were twice more likely to use condoms than those who hadn’t.
- People who have conversations with parents about sexual health are more likely to use contraception every time they have sex.
- People who said school and parents were their two main sources of information about sex are less likely to have unsafe sex and less likely to be diagnosed with an STI.
Whilst most parents and carers want to be a good source of relationship and sex education, many admit that they are not talking to their children. This can be for many reasons such as embarrassment or simply not knowing what to say. Likewise young people say they want to have these very important conversations with their parents and carers but often don’t know how to initiate them and so look for information from less reliable sources such as the internet or friends.
We want to support parents so they not only have the knowledge and confidence to answer those difficult questions but to raise the subjects in the first place. Supporting parents to be positive sources of relationship and sexual health is vital to supporting children and young people to develop into healthy, happy individuals.
If Young People are able to have difficult conversations at home with their parents, it enables them to build the skills they need to have good communication with their partners about relationship and sexual health in later life.