Article by Natalie Dye
It’s certainly a huge shock to find out that your teenage daughter is pregnant, or your son is about to become a dad. You may well feel angry or resentful as your plans for your child’s life have taken a sudden and unexpected turn.
But this is a time when your teen needs your support the most. You’ll need the opportunity to adjust too and possibly help to sort out your feelings. What’s most important, though, is to stay calm – and keep talking to your teen. Teenage pregnancy advisor, says on www.parentchannel.tv that if your child has come to you with this news, it’s important to see it as a positive step.
"It means they...
If you need advice or support on any parenting or family issue, call our free helpline on 0808 800 2222
By a Parent from Families Together London
Ever since he was three, I knew my son was a little different from a number of boys. His friends were nearly all girls and he always had unusual interests. Of course, I didn’t then just assume he would be gay, but I always kept the possibility in mind.
Some of what follows represents what I feel I should have done, rather than what I actually did do. I hope this helps other parents who want to support their gay sons or lesbian daughters.
Your questions answered by agony aunt Suzie Hayman...
Parents of teenagers continue to be extremely anxious about the risk of teenage and underage pregnancy, but despite the headlines that seem to assert all teenagers are sexually active from an early age, the reality is not so extreme. Only a quarter of teenagers have had their first sexual experience before they are 16.
Family Lives encourages parents to show that they are there for their teenagers, ready to listen and talk when their child wants it. Once the lines of communication are opened up, it will be much easier to talk openly about sexual relationships and to give easy to understand messages on contraception and the importance of safe sex.
All the facts show that if children have been told about sex and relationships from an early age, especially...
For teenagers who decide to go ahead with a pregnancy, there are a wide range of education and training opportunities available to them. They can stay at school up until the birth and then return to school afterwards (with a maximum 16-week break immediately before/after the birth.
Some areas have specialist units for teenage mums, and if they are under 20, the government’s Care to Learn scheme can help with up to £160 a week (£175 in London) towards childcare costs. The Learner Support helpline is on 0800 121 8989 and can advise on a wide range of part-time and full-time flexible courses.
Sheila King of the Nationwide Community Learning Partnership (NCLP), part of the charitable arm of The Prospect...
Article by Natalie Dye
It isn’t a case of if a young person will be exposed to pornography but when, according to The Sexualisation of Children, a government report published in February 2010. The average teen spends one hundred minutes a week surfing for porn, according to research by cyberSentinel.co.uk
“Finding porn online is so easy, and it’s not always deliberate,” says psychologist Corinne Sweet, an expert on pornography, relationships and addiction.
“Young people are naturally curious. If they see a pop-up window they might click on it and be led to porn, or be sent links to it in junk mail.”
The Home Office report adds that online porn is increasingly dominated by themes of aggression, power...
Article by Natalie Dye
Your child can be a victim of homophobic bullying, gay or not. Part of the reason is the rise in the use of the word ‘gay’ as a term of casual abuse between youngsters.
It’s heard amongst the youngest primary school children, long before they even know what the word really means.
“Every generation has a word which they use as a term of offence,” says Sue Allen, chair of FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), who is also a teacher at a primary school in Bristol. “Today it is ‘gay’. Primary-age children use it to refer to anything that’s naff or abnormal. So, by the time they reach secondary school, they have a negative view of being gay.”
Chris Gibbons, Senior Education Officer for the lesbian, gay and...
A powerful film by the gay charity Stonewall is changing the way children and teachers think about how they use the word ‘gay’ FIT is a film developed by Stonewall to help tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. It aims in particular to challenge the casual homophobia of school life – an environment where the word ‘gay’ has become a term of everyday abuse; where everything from not liking sport, wearing the ‘wrong’ trainers or even sporting a new haircut can be termed ‘gay’.
The film follows six young people who think that all they have in common is that they have to take Dance and Drama because they’ve been kicked out of all the other classes. As the story develops, it tackles issues including homophobia, sexual identity and acceptance. Viewers are encouraged to...
“My daughter was ‘outed’ in the sixth form. Prior to that she’d been pushed into doorways, and people wouldn’t sit next to her in case they ‘caught’ it. She went to a teacher she knew and trusted, to ask for advice, and the teacher simply quizzed her on why she thought she was gay. Then the teacher asked her if she’d been abused.” Sue’s daughter came out to her when she left school and told her about the teacher’s comments some years later. “I was appalled by the teacher’s behaviour,” says Sue. “Luckily my daughter tried talking to another teacher who found her some support groups for gay people, and she hasn’t looked back.’”
Alan, 13, secondary school, Scotland*:
“I get called names all the time at school, especially...
Paula Hall, Relate psychotherapist, advises:
- Don’t automatically assume that your child has been seeking out porn if you see sexual words on their search history. They may have been looking for information on sex education or sexual health matters, or clicked on a link from another site.
- A lot of young people use the internet for sex education and health concerns, so if you decide to put parental controls on their computer, do your research. Choose one which blocks porn but still permits access to sexual education sites.
- Don’t believe young people don’t want you to talk about it. It’s important to chat about the impact of porn and the negative effects it can have in a general sense. Ensure they know...
Share your values and beliefs but don’t treat them as facts. For example avoid statements such as ‘sex before marriage is wrong’ but ask them what they think about issues. This shows you what they know and understand, and makes them feel that sex is a subject which can be openly discussed.
Books and leaflets are really useful for explaining things in a child-friendly way and can help you to overcome embarrassment. You could look at them together or let your child look at them alone before bringing up the subject again. You can view a list of useful books here.
Discuss relationships, not just the biology of sex, especially with older children. Emphasise the importance of a caring relationship,...
0808 800 2222
Join our Forums
Ask other members a question or browse a wealth of parenting challenges and solutions.