Parents' approaches to educating their pre-adolescent and adolescent children about sexuality

Case Studies & Research
153 p.

The report revealed that younger children often approached parents with questions but that parents were reluctant to discuss sexual matters with them for fear of compromising their innocence. According to the report, while parents didn't always respond fully to questions from their younger children, they reported attempting to raise sexual issues with their teenage children. However, such attempts were often blocked by the young people, who were reluctant to talk about the topic. While many parents reported that they were "open" about discussing issues of sexuality in the home, those who felt that schools and parents need to take a shared responsibility for sexuality education were often found to deliver similar information to those who felt that they did not need to undertake much sexuality education. Some parents reported talking about sexual matters at a superficial level. However, it is important to note that they did tend to invite their children to raise issues with them, leaving the onus on the young person to initiate the discussion. Issues such as contraception were often not covered because parents believed that their adolescent was not sexually active, was not romantically involved or had acquired adequate information at school. Even those who believed that sexuality education was the responsibility of both parents and the school tended to rely heavily on the school to deliver that education, according to the report. The authors of the report stressed that parents should be aware that other sources of information which are available to young people, such as media and the internet may not convey the sense of responsibility needed to maintain good sexual health. Parents' role in sexuality education needs to be strengthened so that healthy sexual values are transmitted to young people.

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