Through education, we are helping our children to build a tool kit, to navigate friendships and relationships with more ease and clarity.All blogs
So what are the ten C's in RSE?
All children are naturally curious about bodies and asking why. This is a natural part of human development, it is healthy and it is to be encouraged. As parents/guardians we can help our children by meeting this curiosity with active listening, factual information and clear boundaries.
"Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning" - William Arthur Ward
Have you clarity as to why you engage or don't engage with child about RSE? Spend some time thinking about your own RSE experiences and learning, and the invitation now is to become clear on what you want for your child. Reflection allows us to become clear on the areas we may need support in.
"Clarify what you are for, not against. This is true power" - Annie Zalezsak
Developing critical thinking skills is essential in the 21st Century. Never have a generation of people had such access to information and ideas through tech. Learning to question the world around us, going beyond the obvious. Encouraging independent, reflective thinking in our children will help them to identify and understand the early signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships.
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically" - Dr. Martin Luther King
Relationships and Sexuality education that is comprehensive will include all aspects and elements, not just the topics that we are comfortable with. Comprehensive education will include discussing Gender, Sexual Health, Sexual Rights, Pleasure, Sexual Violence, Diversity, Relationships. This comprehensive approach will enable our children to be fully informed and empowered in their choices, equipping them for healthy, fun, safe future relationships.
“Life requires all the pieces, not just the ones that we tend to like.” - Craig D. Lounsbrough
Having open conversations in our families about bodies, relationships, sex, and feelings now, means that we are preparing our children for their young teen and adult friendships and relationships, where they will be making their own choices and decisions. Help them with education and debate, so they will be fully informed in their future choices. They will understand that choices all have consequences and this is a fundamentally important thing to learn.
"We are our choices" - Jean-Paul Sartre, Philosopher
The issue of Consent is fundamental to the understanding of sexual violence. Consent is ongoing, one can change their mind during the sexual acts. Consent is given voluntarily and enthusiastically, without coercion, and one is fully conscious. Consent is communicated clearly both verbally and non-verbally, you need the words. The age of Consent in Ireland is 17 years old.
" A person consents to a sexual act if he or she freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in that act." - Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017, Ireland
Learn to listen, to really listen to your child; The better you become at the listening, the more they will talk. Practice Active Listening. Be aware of your non-verbal body language, make eye contact with the child, drop distractions like your phone when they're talking. Ask them open questions, say "Tell me more...". Reflect back to the child what they tell you, and help them explore options that they have to solve their own dilemma. Finally, summarise what they tell you, and thank them for the conversation. These conversational skills will help your child to be a clear communicator in their teen and adult relationships.
"The process of attentive listening makes the other person feel important, valued, and heard." - Susan C. Young
Adults are key to raising confident children, who can express their needs, wishes and wants. For our children to be confident unconditional love needs to be present. The adults need to be aware of the language that they use to describe themselves. Try and spend some quality 1:1 time with each child. Confident children are less anxious, more resilient and they can manage peer pressure with greater ease. Ultimately a confident child will be in healthy friendships and relationships, and the confident child will have the confidence to walk away from situations that are unsafe and unhealthy in their teen and adult years.
"I am not afraid of the storms, for I am learning to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott
Human connection is a fundamental need. And we learn so much about ourselves in connection with others, in friendships and relationships. Parents, Guardians and children all want to feel connected to each other. By practicing healthy open conversations throughout our child's development phases, we will improve the child-parent connection. And as our children move into teen and adult relationships, they will feel comfortable discussing their worries and challenges with us, as the connection and relationship is strong. The strength of this connection, will support them to be in independent healthy relationships in the future.
"The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food" - Dean Ornish
We learn through sharing our vulnerabilities with others. Right now as a parent or guardian, you do not need to have all the answers to your childs RSE questions. Support is available from others, seek it out. Reach out. Join a Digital Community. Our e-learning course for PG's of 10-12 year old's has a community built in. And finally get to know your child's community, their friends. This is especially important as they move into the adolescent phase.
"It takes a village to raise a child" - African Proverb