New resource to help parents talk to children about relationships and sexuality

A new resource to help parents talk to their children about relationships and sexuality has been launched.

The HSE initiative is a response to research that found that more and more parents are asking for support and advice on how to tackle the sensitive subjects.

Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne said she was delighted to launch the project, which has been developed by the HSE’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP).

“It will enable parents to have guided conversations at home and to build a foundation for positive sexual health and wellbeing,” she said.

Programme lead Helen Deely said a suite of materials would be available to parents.

“We are keenly aware that parents are the primary educators of their children and have a crucial role to play in supporting their child’s development,” she said.

“This resource has been developed in response to research with parents of young children, which finds that they want additional support to help them to have more open conversations with their children about relationships, sexuality and growing up from a young age.

“This resource will support parents to talk to their younger children about relationships and sexuality in a gradual, age-appropriate way.”

The HSE also released the research report that informed the development of the resource.

Trinity College’s Dr Catherine Conlon, who led the study, said: “The research finds that while different parents approach communicating with their younger children about relationships, sexuality and growing up in different ways, parents generally considered it to be a difficult or tricky topic and one that did not come easy to them – mostly due to the culture that prevailed as they themselves had grown up.

“Parents overwhelmingly want to be able to have open and honest conversations with their own children. However, they report lacking confidence in doing this.

“They want to have the skills to be an effective and reassuring source of information for their children, but many feel unprepared to do this and requested support in this area.”

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- Press Association

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