NHS Cambridgeshire is encouraging parents to talk to their children about puberty, relationships and sex as part of national Sexual Health Week which starts on Monday (September 12).
Many parents and carers find it difficult to talk openly and honestly to their children about sex and relationships. The Facts of Life campaign as part of sexual health week will give parents the information and confidence to talk to their children.
Young people say their preferred source of information and advice are parents and carers but that 40 per cent of young people report getting little or no information from them.
Parents often worry that they do not know enough about key topics such as the onset of puberty to feel able to talk with authority about them and to give their children the right information. The FPA (formerly known as the family planning association) have developed free online resources at: www.fpa.org.uk/factsoflife to address the issues parents struggle with including:
* Concerns about what age they should start talking to their children or what to say.
* Becoming embarrassed when talking about puberty, relationships and sex.
* How to keep their children safe and build up their sense of self-worth.
* Peer pressure. How to encourage and explain to children that it is best to wait until they are older before starting sexual activity.
* Anxiety about internet safety, social networking, mobile phones and exposure to pornography
Kathryn Faulkner, Cambridgeshire Chlamydia Screening Coordinator says: “Parents can play an important part in communicating to young people that looking after sexual health is just one important part of looking after their complete wellbeing. For example they can remind young people in a matter of fact way that it is normal and recommended practice for all 15-24 year olds to take a Chlamydia test at least once a year. By normalising this themselves they help remove the stigma traditionally associated with sexual health issues”
Val Thomas, Consultant in Public Health for NHS Cambridgeshire said: “We welcome this national campaign focussing on the role parents can play in educating their children about sex and relationships. Through building trust and communication together, parents will become the first person their child goes to for advice and information.
For more information about local sexual health services go to: www.sexualhealthcambs.nhs.uk