Parents & Caregivers as Sexuality Educators Session 4
Sexual Health: Be a Trusted Source
Many adults worry, long before their children’s puberty, about sexually transmitted infections (STIs, also called sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), abusive relationships, unintended pregnancy, and other sexual health hazards. This session helps adults channel their worries into a long-term, proactive strategy to support their children. It guides them into practices that demonstrate caring, respect, and faith in their children as decision makers about their own bodies and relationships. It is never too early to nurture a child’s sexual health.
Sexual health information evolves constantly. No parent or caregiver can have complete and fully current facts. However, adults can establish an atmosphere of open, nonjudgmental talk. They can point children and youth toward accurate information about sexual behaviors, risks, and precautions. Most importantly, they can nurture a child’s holistic sense of well-being across emotional, psychological, and social aspects of life.
This session asserts that sexual health is relevant to everyone, whether they are sexually active or not, whatever their genders and orientations, whether they are neurotypical or neuroatypical, and regardless of whether they have mobility limitations, cognitive disabilities, or sensory or mental health challenges.
The participants will reflect on their own experiences, which for some may include a sexual health crisis. Some may have experienced an STI or an unintended pregnancy. Some may share in the group. Others may not disclose, yet may quietly hold a painful story. No one should inquire about anyone’s personal history. Head off judgmental, stigmatizing, or belittling comments about unintended pregnancy, violence in relationships, and other sensitive topics. Maintaining a respectful tone will keep participants engaged and comfortable while modeling how they can respond to a youth who might confide in them.