Your Role as a Parent

As parents you want to provide your child with the guidance and knowledge that they need to become responsible, healthy and happy adults. Teaching your child about sexual health and sexuality is part of your role as a parent. You are already teaching your child many things about sexuality and have been since the day they were born. They learn from:

  • the way they are physically touched by others
  • the way their bodies feel to them
  • what your family believes is okay and not okay to do and say
  • the words that family members use (and don’t use) to refer to body parts
  • watching the relationships around them
  • observing male and female roles

They are also picking up a great deal from outside the family whenever they watch television, movies, listen to music and talk with their friends.

Sometimes parents may feel scared or uncomfortable talking about sexual health and sexuality because they:

  • feel uncomfortable talking about reproductive body parts and their functions
  • the topic of sex wasn’t talked about when they were growing up
  • may wonder if talking about sexuality will encourage their child to experiment.
  • aren’t sure what their child needs to know and at what age they need to know it
The fact is, young people whose parents discuss all aspects of sexuality with them tend to delay becoming sexually active, compared to those children who do not discuss this topic with their parents.

 

In talking about sexual health with your child, you have a chance to:

  • answer their questions honestly—tell your child what they want to know using words they can understand
  • provide correct information—studies show that young people tend to obtain most of their information (or misinformation) about sexual health from friends
  • start conversations—some children never ask about sexual health
  • share your beliefs, concerns and values—your child needs to know where you stand
  • help your child make good decisions and stand by their decisions
 
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