Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators

We believe that parents and caregivers are the primary, and most important, educators of their children about sexuality (and faith)… And we know parents and caregivers don’t always feel equipped to have these conversations in the ways that they would like. Let’s face it, most of us didn’t get great sex ed (nevermind education about consent, healthy relationships, etc) when we were young!

The information and attitudes that adults share with their children—intentionally or by default—carry extraordinary power. It is a power that many adults struggle to wield effectively and confidently. Often, their own experiences, perspectives, and worries get in the way. We are committed to supporting parents and caregivers in this role. To that end, I want to assess if there would be interest in a ‘Parents and Caregivers as Sexuality Educators’ program concurrently with the OWL program at Saanich Neighbourhood Place. These sessions would invite parents and caregivers to find support and courage with one another.

This program would offer ten sessions that invite parents and caregivers to explore their role as the primary sexuality educators of their elementary through teenage children. We will cover best strategies for talking with kids about all of this and how to answer any questions they may have from the OWL program (or elsewhere). The 60-minute sessions engage adults in topics including :

  • Session 1—Hopes and Concerns for Kids’ Sexual Health
    This 90-minute session creates a welcoming space that invites parents and caregivers to engage with one another and form a commitment to this series of group meetings. Participants begin to share hopes for and concerns about the sexual health of their children and youth.
  • Session 2—Communication: How Do We Talk about Sex?
    Many parents and caregivers avoid talking about sex and sexuality for fear of doing it wrong. Yet even imperfect conversations can build an adult’s comfort and skill, a child’s trust, and positive, healthy communication around sexuality-related matters. In this session, participants recall both…
  • Session 3—Gender Identity: Exploring Emotions Around Gender
    Parents and caregivers help to shape a child’s healthy understanding of both their own gender and the gender diversity out in the world. This session calls participants to explore their ideas and feelings about gender and the values about gender they are teaching their children, explicitly or…
  • Session 4—Sexual Orientation: Supporting Self-Discovery
    In a liberal religious community, parents and caregivers may be reluctant to share any discomfort they may feel about a child’s emerging sexual orientation. This session opens a nonjudgmental space for adults to be honest with themselves about feelings, questions, and concerns. Participants…
  • Session 5—Relationships: Guiding with Wisdom
    Relationships bring potential for love, loss, increasing levels of sexual contact, and emotional or physical abuse. They may develop in a variety of ways and stages, from the initiation of dating through different levels of physical intimacy and sexual contact. …
  • Session 6—Sexual Health: Be a Trusted Source
    Many adults worry, long before their children’s puberty, about sexually transmitted infections (STIs, also called sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), abusive relationships, unintended pregnancy, and other sexual health hazards. This session helps adults channel their worries into a long-term,…
  • Session 7—Decision Making: Ready, Set, Let Go!
    Parents and caregivers, of course, worry about what might happen to their children. As children move toward puberty, adult concerns expand to include harm that can result from a child’s own decisions. With sexual decisions, the stakes can feel quite high. While worry can tempt parents and…
  • Session 8—Consent: Building Healthy Boundaries
    Parents and caregivers are rightfully concerned about their children’s exposure to unwanted touching or sex. Adults cannot control the sexual opportunities, risks, or coercion their children will encounter. However, parents and caregivers can be role models for self-care and mutual respect. And…
  • Session 9—Social Media: Integrity in a Changing World
    Interactive media define the social worlds of many children and most youth today. Because the youngest generation is always on the forefront of new modes of communication, kids may inhabit a social landscape that is a little (or a lot) unfamiliar to parents and caregivers. In this session,…
  • Session 10—Pornography: It’s Not Sex Ed
    Sexual imagery is so prevalent in advertising, on television, and on the Internet that even young children are exposed to it, despite adult efforts to limit access. Whether they deliberately seek it or not, today’s children are likely to encounter Internet pornography before they become teenagers.

Program Dates:

The program has begun and registration is closed. If you are interested in joining the next round please email Arran@VictoriaUnitarian.ca to be put on the waitlist.