The Gregg School

Sex And Relationship Education

Sex and relationship education has been in the news recently, with various different headlines popping up. With our children heading back to school this month many will be beginning sex and relationship education (SRE) for the first time.

Schools And SRE

Each school decides what they will teach about sex and relationships, and how they will go about it. Primary schools are obliged to teach the biology of human life-cycles, and secondary schools must teach human production, as well as inform about HIV and AIDS. Outside of these, it is down to each individual school to decide what they will cover. Your child’s school may have a SRE policy which will show you what is covered and at what point.

Parents And SRE

Good sex and relationship education covers more than just basic human biology. Your child may have PSHE lessons which cover these sorts of things, but it’s also important to approach the subject at home.
The advantage of talking about sex and relationships at home is that it can be more informal and spontaneous, just coming up in conversation in response to something you see on TV or hear about a friend.
Many parents find it hard to have this sort of conversation with their child, and children will usually be horribly embarrassed to talk about these things with their mum or dad - but research shows that SRE is more effective if both home and school are involved.
These days with the internet and mobile phones, it’s so much easier for our children to be involved in things without our ever being aware. It’s important that we ensure the lines of communication are open with our children, and they know that they can talk to us.

Here are a few tips to help you approach the subject of SRE with your child:

●    Read a book, watch a DVD or read leaflets with your child but don’t think reading one book ticks this off your list forever.
●    If you feel too self- conscious to bring it up, try talking about the characters in a soap or a film instead.
●    A great time to bring this up is while you’re doing something else. If you’re out walking, driving somewhere or doing housework together it can take the pressure off. And the lack of need for eye contact can allow a child to be more forthcoming.
●    Try not to judge or be horrified; if you react badly to something, your child will think twice about revealing more. Instead, listen quietly.
●    Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know or aren’t sure. You don’t have to be the font of all knowledge on this, and it’s perfectly acceptable to say "let’s Google it together because I’m not sure”
●    Don’t avoid the subject or brush off their questions as "being silly” - this might make them think it’s wrong to talk about sex and relationships, or that you don’t want to discuss it.
●    Don’t tell them they’re too young, and you’ll talk about it when they’re older. If they’re asking questions they need answers, and if they don’t get them from you they may look elsewhere.
●    Don’t panic that something is going on and begin to bombard your child with questions. If they’ve asked a question that concerns you, gently ask why they’ve brought it up, but don’t push it.
●    Try to make it more of a conversation than a lecture; children have lectures all day at school and don’t want to come home to one from you.
●    Ask your child’s opinion on things; it shows you value their opinion and that you don’t claim to have all the answers.

Sex and relationship education can be a scary subject to approach with our children; no parent likes the idea of their child growing up and exploring sex. It is important though, to discuss it out in the open, and not to brush it under the carpet.

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