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Understanding puberty, reproduction and sexual health is important to support young people to make safer and healthier choices.

While these discussions can make many parents nervous, this parenting guide is designed to support and reinforce a healthy relationship with sexuality.

Children may be entering puberty earlier (the average age of puberty is between 10-12 years), meaning that children are forming attitudes about these topics earlier than many parents think. Many children will be curious about these topics and talking openly about them can reduce the stigma often attached to these issues.

In this parenting guide to sexuality and sexual health you will find…

  1. Navigating conversations about puberty
  2. Simple and tricky puberty questions
  3. Helpful tips
  4. Life Ed Podcasts about sexual health
  5. More puberty resources for parents

 

Download FREE puberty guide

 

 

Navigating conversations about puberty and sexual health with your child

Mother Talking With Daughter At Kitchen TableThe benefits of discussing puberty with your child include…

Prevention of sexual abuse through understanding concepts of consent and how to seek help.

Separating fact and fiction and correcting any rumours or false information they have heard from friends or read online.

Reducing the taboo often associated with these topics, helping you to have open and honest conversations with your child as they continue to develop.

How do I prepare myself to discuss puberty?

Here are some easy steps that Life Ed Qld has provided which you can take to prepare yourself as a parent to navigate these sometimes-uncomfortable conversations.

  • Learn as much as you can from factual sources. You can find more information from these sources on a range of relevant topics below.
  • Arm yourself with back-up information and booklets.
  • Practise saying words that feel awkward. Being confident will make your child feel safe and understood.
  • Plan ahead for tricky topics. Learn how to address tricky questions with our tips below.
  • Aim for a friendly chat. Keeping the conversation casual, normalises the topic and will encourage your child to approach you with their questions again in future.

Stuck on how to approach conversations about puberty with your child?

Try to keep the conversation casual and maintain eye contact where possible. Try to use cues around you such as the television, friends or other media to prompt or extend discussions. Use your own experiences to highlight key points and don’t forget to ask your child for their view on topics and explain your values to them as appropriate.

Simple puberty questions

Is there anything simple about talking to your child about sexual health? Perhaps not, but endeavour to repeat the question back to your child to clarify what they want to know.

Give a simple, clear and factual answer and check that your child has understood what you have told them by asking them to explain it to you in their own words. Ask them if they would like any other information, or if they have other questions. Don’t be surprised if you have to repeat your answer several times! Remember these concepts are new and may take some time for your child to understand.

Tricky puberty questions

More complex questions need a similar approach to simple questions. Start by clarifying the question your child has asked to make sure you understand what it is they want to know. Ask your child what they already know about the topic before answering. This will tell you where to start your answer and inform you as to how much detail to give at this stage. Give your child factual answers and keep the tone of the conversation positive. Be sure to take the opportunity to correct any misinformation. Explain that views on the topic you are discussing may vary and try to set your own boundaries. If you feel something is not right, seek additional help.

Helpful tips

Remember that you do not need to be an expert! Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know!’

This will provide the opportunity for you and your child to find out together. Try to avoid criticising or judging your child and try not to react with anger. Don’t interrupt your child when they are speaking – it is important for their learning journey to articulate their questions and ideas.

If you feel uncomfortable, admit it to your child. It’s better to experience a little discomfort than to avoid the topic entirely. Your child will probably be grateful they are not the only ones feeling uncomfortable!

Other topics to consider

The Talk About It sexual health education module that Life Ed QLD teaches in schools encourages children to communicate with safe adults about personal development. Here are some additional topics that you may want to consider discussing with your child in future:

Our school education modules equip students with helpful age-appropriate strategies to understand puberty and sexual health in their lives. Educators that want to engage Life Ed Qld to deliver a sexual health module at your school, get in touch!

Book My School Browse Primary Modules

Life Ed Podcast episodes about parenting and puberty

Episode 16 – Let’s Talk About Consent With Dr Melissa Kang

As a parent, you’ve probably heard discussions about ‘consent’, but you may not know what it entails or how to introduce the topic to your child.

Although we often think of consent in terms of intimate sexual relationships, consent can apply to other situations as well and is an important concept for children to learn about from an early age. Understanding consent can lead to better relationships with family, friends, peers and eventually, romantic partners.

In this podcast, Let’s Talk About Consent, we investigate how to introduce consent concepts with younger children.

Author of Welcome to Consent and practising physician Dr Melissa Kang says the conversation begins with giving children an understanding of their personal space and boundaries, as well as helping them to understand and identify the boundaries of others.

Lets Talk About Consent Podcast Tile

How To Stop Online Predators Podcast

Episode 10 – How To Stop Online Predators Targeting Your Child with Brett Lee

Few people know as much about the cyber world as Brett Lee.

As a former detective specialising in child exploitation, Brett spent countless hours investigating child sex offenders, posing as a teenager so he could prosecute scores of predators who preyed on children.

After working on high-profile cases handled by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Australian Police Force, in 2001, Brett decided to utilise his experience to educate people on how to avoid the pitfalls of the online world. He founded Internet Safe Education, and has reached thousands of students, teachers, and parents, spreading the message of online awareness and responsibility.

In this podcast for Life Education Queensland, Brett offers some incredible insight into how predators identify and groom their child targets and shares the key things parents can do to keep kids safe online. He says, from the outset, all children need to understand the value of their identity on the internet and grasp how it connects them to the wider world, and potentially, millions of other users.

Since 1987, Life Ed Qld has been an important part of growing up for more than 1.7 million Queensland children. Leave a gift in your Will and empower Queensland children with the knowledge and skills for a healthier life for years to come

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Where can I find more information on sexuality and puberty education?

You can access additional information and resources to support you and your child during this important time.

Cybersafety

Personal Safety

A suggested reading list on these and other topics, is available for download here.

 

Did you find this information helpful? Our vision as a charity is to see healthy Australians thrive. Make a donation today to help every child live safe, healthy lives and reach their full potential.

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WE HAVE MORE RESOURCES TO HELP PARENTS NAVIGATE ISSUES FACING THEIR CHILDREN

 

 

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