Principal endorses Parent Guides

In a video interview Heather Norton, former principal of Firbank Girls’ Grammar School, in Melbourne discusses Parent Guides with publisher Eileen Berry.

Heather said the school had been fortunate to get funding from their Parents Association to bring Drugs 101, Social Media 101 and Sex 101 to Firbank. “To be honest, I can’t think of a better use of the Association’s money. It cements the fact that we are raising our children together – parents and the school. We have received nothing but positive feedback from our parents and the benefits for our students are knowing that their parents are learning about issues that matter,” Heather said.

When it comes to sex, the internet is not the devil

Bettina Arndt

Bettina Arndt

I know there a lot of scary talk about teenagers and sex, but the sky is not falling in. It’s simply not true that all kids are being sexualised too early or are madly into porn or pressured into sex before they are ready.

I actually think is a really good time now to be a teenager with so much information online to help them learn about their bodies and prepare for sexual experiences. When I was first working in sex education back in the ‘70s I used to smuggle slides of penises and vulvas into the country so I could show people what normal genitals looked like. Now there are great websites showing all the normal variations and teaching young people about their bodies. It’s amazing. Read more

How to help your children develop empathy

Empathy

Source: Ambermb / Pixabay

As parents we need to help our kids step up when they see hurtful or hateful behaviour. We need to help them critique their assumptions about what kinds of behaviour everyone else thinks is OK. In adolescence, children place high value on what friends think, and they use that to guide their behaviour because they want to belong.

When you talk about these assumptions, children may find that actually their mates don’t want to be that kind of
mate or that kind of boyfriend. Instead, they want to be a good friend, and our children need to think about what that means in terms of their behaviour towards other people. Read more

LGBTIQ

Sexual Attraction

Source: Parent Guides

Family support for same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people is important.

It is important for parents to support their children regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. The LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning) community is diverse. Data presented in the Safe Schools Coalition’s All of Us teaching resource reveals that Australian and international research had found that about 10 per cent of people are same-sex attracted, about four per cent are gender diverse or transgender, and about 1.7 per cent are intersex. Read more

Sex Education at home and in school

Woman Front of Blackboard

Source: Pixabay

Most young Australians receive sex education, many in primary school. Experts say they should learn about body parts and respectful relationships from a young age, both at home and at school.

The fifth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2013* found 86 per cent of Australian teenagers had received sex education at school. More than one in 10 (10.4 per cent) hadn’t and 3.6 per cent didn’t know.

Sexuality and relationship education is mostly taught by teachers (83 per cent), with people outside the school (34 per cent), and/or the school nurse (22 per cent) sometimes involved. School counsellors (10 per cent) or chaplains (four per cent) were less likely to be used. Read more

Contraception & Safer Sex

Contraception

Source: GabiSandra / Pixabay

Sexually active teenagers are generally responsible, but some don’t use contraception and a small percentage have sex that results in a pregnancy.

The fifth National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health 2013 (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University) found 58 per cent of sexually active secondary students used a condom and 39 per cent used the contraceptive pill the last time they had sex. Fifteen per cent used the withdrawal method. Read more

Consent and Respect

Debbie Ollis Parent Guides

Debbie Ollis

Consent means free agreement, and it’s important that young people understand that. So if someone has been drinking they can’t give consent to sex. If someone is asleep they can’t give free agreement. If someone is under age they can’t give consent to sex either.

Talking about sex with our kids isn’t easy but it is necessary. Research tells us that young people trust the information they get from their parents, particularly their mothers. As parents, we need to talk to our teenagers about the importance of asking a partner ‘is this what you would like to do?’. They can’t assume consent because they think they understand the body language of their partner – they have to ask. Read more

Masturbation and Physical / Emotional Changes

Rear view close up of young teenage pair

Source: iStock

Parents and carers should be open, honest and supportive during puberty.

Puberty can be a challenging time for children and their parents and carers, who may find it difficult to answer questions about sexuality and relationships. There are no perfect answers but support and honesty are important as children enter puberty, which can start as young as eight in girls and nine in boys.

Parents, carers and families are the most important source of sexuality and relationship information. They should also admit when they don’t have an answer and offer to find it together. The internet provides a wealth of starting points. Programs such as WA Health’s Talk Soon. Talk Often offer tips for parents and carers who are unsure about what to do or say. Read more

Sex and the Law in Victoria

Sex Laws

Source: iStock

Victoria’s sexual assault laws cover a range of offences that parents of teenagers should be familiar with. Essentially, forcing someone of any age to take part in any sexual act is an offence. Having sex with someone who is underage is also an offence, but there are some defences available in exceptional circumstances.

Teenagers should know about laws relating to sexual assault and harassment, and that they can talk to their parents and carers if they feel an offence has been committed against them or a friend.

It is important to tell police or employers as soon as possible if you become aware of an offence.

Parents and carers should also ensure that young people know they are never at fault if someone assaults them sexually or sexually harasses them, and that help is available. Read more

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