Relationships, Body Awareness & Sexual Health – What is it all about?
·Who to talk to
·Who can help
You may be unaware that Scotland has the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe and NHS Fife has the highest rates in Scotland.
Parents and Carers need to speak with their children to ensure they have the correct facts.
Children need to know that if they are worried or concerned they can turn to you for help.
Knowledge for children eliminates fear.
Talking about relationships and sexual health with your children as they grow up can help them look after their sexual health when they start having sex. Talking with your child about these subjects is extremely important; it can have a positive impact on their future relationships and sexual health and indeed on all areas of your child or young person’s life.
For further information on the figures relating to teenage pregnancy rates please click this link.
The relationship that you share with your child may have a huge impact on their lifelong self-esteem and the success of their future relationships. There are a number of ways to do this:
· Be interested in your child.
· Be a good role model – Children learn from example.
· Build trusting relationships – show them how to trust others.
· Encourage friendships – this teaches negotiation and the importance of having good friends.
· Help develop empathy – help them focus on other people’s feelings.
· Encourage equality and diversity – help them see everyone is different, encourage them to understand individuality.
Access the following links for further information and advice:
Both these links are from the www.handsonscotland.co.uk website, their home page is accessible from both the above topic pages.
Communication is a crucial way to ensure you form an ongoing relationship with your child and it is never too early to start. Research has shown that face to face interaction between newborns and their caregivers provide the foundation for the development of communication skills and social interaction is critical for a child’s developing brain. Even at this early stage there are many things you can do to aid communication with your newborn:
· Make eye contact
· Talk softly to your baby
· Cuddle your baby
· Read to them, tell them stories, sing nursery rhymes
· Tell them what you are doing
Often Parents and Carers feel silly talking to their newborn but it is at this time babies learn things at the fastest rate. By communicating with your newborn not only will they learn about language but they will learn about the world around them and it is a great way to bond with your newborn. They will understand that you are the one who will look after them and be there for them when they need you. These are all crucial elements for your child’s growth and development as they get older. As your child gets older sharing your thoughts and ideas with them can be done in a number of easy ways from the early years through to adulthood. This can be done by:
·Playing with your child
·Washing up together
·Watching TV together can often spark conversations around specific topics
Access the following Website for further information and advice:
Further Information and Q&A Topics
All these will allow you to interact with your child and keep the lines of communication open. The more you talk with your child the more likely they are to share information with you and the more likely they are to come to you for advice.
Talking about relationships, bodily changes and sexual health can be daunting and sometimes embarrassing but it doesn’t need to be. Rather than setting aside time for one ‘big talk’, make ‘small talk’ with your child, whilst watching TV or out on a family walk. Many individuals wait for their children or young people to ask questions but it is ok for you to initiate the conversation if you feel the child is at the appropriate age and stage. Some general pointers when speaking with your child:
· Cover the basics early on - Young children don’t get embarrassed so you won’t need to.
· Use their comments about Television Programmes, Advertisements, Books and Conversations with their friends as a starting point.
· Be truthful and honest.
· Use humour – it can be light hearted.
· Get some books or use a good website.
How much you tell your child depends on how old the child is and what stage they are at in their development. It is important to realise that most children will ask for more information if they feel you have not answered their question fully enough.
The following question and answer section is courtesy of the Family Planning Association (FPA) website (2013).
For further information and advice from FPA including a comprehensive Parents and Carers section and lots of resources please click on the link: http://fpa.org.uk