In a world where sex sells everything from cars to washing powder and where it’s a mainstay of television and film, children will learn about sex whether we want them to or not. Many of the messages that are given about sex by the media are contradictory: on the one hand it can be portrayed as sinful or dirty; and on the other it is often glamorised. Combined with playground gossip and changing emotions, sex and relationships can be confusing issues for young people to deal with alone.
Although sex and relationships education is given in schools, at present only the biological basics are mandatory. This means that whilst some schools may provide comprehensive education, others may only teach the bare minimum. This leads to the consistent criticism from young people that what they learn in school is “too little, too late and too biological”. In terms of providing young people with an opportunity to prepare for the challenges of adult life, then, school based sex education can often fall short of the mark.
Though many parents feel anxious or embarrassed to talk to their children about sex and relationships, research shows that the children of those who do can benefit, because they are more likely to delay first sex and when they do have sex to use contraceptives. This in turn reduces the risk of both unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Most people see abortion as a very sensitive subject, so talking to your child about it may feel like a daunting prospect. Abortion can be discussed in a safe and sensitive manner though, and giving age appropriate information can help to dispel the many myths that surround this particular subject. One of the most common myths, for example, is about the effect of abortion on fertility. To find out more about this, click here.
Discussing abortion in this way sends an important message that it’s ok for your child to talk to you openly and honestly about sex and relationships and will ensure that your child feels able to come to you for help and advice should they ever need to.
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