Parents and other family members are children’s primary sex educators. From birth, family members have been communicating, both verbally and nonverbally, messages about sexuality. Therefore, home-school partnership is key.
Home Builds the Foundation
From home and family, children develop attitudes and behaviors without being aware that they have been learning about bodies, puberty, gender, and sexuality. These messages come from the way parents/caregivers dress their children, the toys given to children, the way children are touched and spoken to, and the gender roles family members fill. The school can help students understand and honor what they have already learned, and build upon that prior knowledge to fill gaps and clarify misunderstandings.
Parents and other family members are also responsible for setting the expectations for behavior outside of school. Often, parents wonder if the limits they have set and the disciplinary consequences they enforce are reasonable because children love to say, “Everyone else is allowed to….” This can leave parents feeling unsupported. School staff can support and reinforce the protective boundaries parents have for their children. Schools also enforce high expectations at school that provide additional protection for children.
Partnership Increases Protection
Young people are less likely to become prematurely sexually active when homes and schools work together to teach children what to expect during puberty and how to postpone sexual intercourse. Providing consistent messages and reinforcement of skills at home and school increases the likelihood that sexual behavior will be delayed and school success will result. Yes, home-school partnership is key!
Additional Resources for Parents:
- Preparing Parents for Puberty, an online course for parents and caregivers
- Book lists for parents and other trusted adults to share with children
- Tips for parents to influence their children’s sexual behavior
- How to Teach Puberty at Home
- Parent Resources
- Messages for adults to share with pre-teens and young adolescents
- Infograms on sexual behavior