Parents have an obligation to provide sexual health information to their kids or, at the very least, to provide access to that information. And if you don’t feel like you are perfect in this regard, take heart – kids benefit from (and relish in) discovering that their parents are far from perfect.
This blog intends to give you the information you need, as parents, to help your kids be sexually intelligent and have healthy, fun, safe sexual lives. Parents play a critical role in forming ideas about sexuality for their kids. At the end of the day, when you have open lines of communication when it comes to sex, you’ll have kids with better self esteem, respect for self and others and an understanding of informed decision making.
And who doesn’t want that for their kids?
My big plan is to support parents and others who help raise young people – like counselors, teachers, coaches and more – so that you can engage in meaningful conversations about sex and sexuality. I’m hoping adults can challenge themselves, learn a bit and have ongoing conversations with their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, and students about sex. Together we can reframe the conversation and raise generations of people who take responsibility for their sexual wellbeing by understanding how their bodies work, by protecting their sexual health, and the health of their partners, and by nurturing life long self respect and sexual fullfillment.
In this blog, I’ll
- Sometimes muse, critically assess, and generally respond to issues of sex and sexuality that can be shared with adults who are really listening, and really talking, to the young people in their lives.
- Wade through the amazingly diverse but far-to-often inaccurrate and monolithic sex and sexuality information that is accessible within the world wide web. I’ve already seen far too many things I’d rather I didn’t, but every once in a while, I find something great – useful, enlightening, funny and I’ll draw your attention to it, and where applicable, will suggest ways for you to use the material.
- Unpack some of the values behind sexual acts or expressions – the ones that make you want to run for the hills – and repackage them to help you more easily communicate in developmentally appropriate ways. I’ll give you ideas for conversation starters and suggest resources for additional information.
- Engage in conversations. I’ll do so in the spirit of learning, understanding and sharing. I will challenge myself to always be responsive to different perspectives and respectful in how I share my own perspective. I’ll post and respond to comments where I think the banter will give a fuller picture of the issue, and further assist adults to have meaningful conversations with young people.
- Read books and review books. Also articles, lectures, websites and other available resources on the topic. Maybe even an academic paper or two.
- Draw attention to school curricula requirements, highlight ways to improve the sexual health and relationship education (SRE) that kids receive in schools and suggest ways to seek improvements.
- Pay attention to the forms of media geared specifically to young people. Whether it’s the latest sharing app, music video, blockbuster teen flick, novel or video game, I’ll share my perspective or seek thought leaders and other experts to share theirs.
- Find and follow other experts in the field. I’ll outreach to them, liaise with them, quote them, interview them and otherwise draw on their incredible knowledge and skill.
Finally, I’ll tell stories. Lots and lots of stories. The stories might be cute, or shocking or embarrassing and I’ll tell them not to be gratuitous (or make the rest of us feel better about how we manage ourselves) but to make a point and share a lesson.
People have a right to good sexual health information. People have the right to feel power over and ownership of their bodies. Now, if you add ‘young’ before the word ‘people’ and my perspective hasn’t change. There may be some qualifiers or nuances to what that looks like, but at its core, regardless of age, I believe that:
- Each person has the right to decide if, when and with whom to have sexual relations. In making that choice, individuals have the right to choose whether or not to use contraceptives and sexually transmitted infection safety methods, and whether or not to have children and when to have children.
- Individuals ought to be free to express their sexuality in different ways.
- Individuals have the right to be free from exploitation, abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
- Every person has a right to accurate sexual health information and education and safe, legal, professional, affordable and accessible sexual health care services.
Okay then, let’s get busy!