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.
Children have acquired attitudes and behaviors without consciously knowing that they have been learning about puberty and sexuality. These messages come from the way parents dress their children, the toys given to children, the way children are touched and spoken to, and the sex roles family members fill. The school can help students understand and honor what they have already learned, and build upon it to fill gaps in knowledge 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 can also enforce high expectations at school that provide additional protections for children.
When parents and schools work together to teach children what to expect during puberty and how to postpone sexual intercourse, young people are less likely to become prematurely sexually active. By providing consistent messages and reinforcement of skills at home and school, this home-school partnership increases the likelihood that sexual behavior will be delayed and school success will result. Yes, home-school partnership is key!
Additional Resources for Parents:
- Book lists for parents and other trusted adults to share with children
- Tips for parents to influence their children’s sexual behavior
- Messages for adults to share with pre-teens and young adolescents
- Infograms on sexual behavior
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