Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Birds, Bees and embarrassed Dads...

First, major apologies... a whole slew of deadline work has kept me away from my blog this week. But I just had to come back to it when I read the headlines yesterday about the new research from Parentline Plus about why Dads don't talk to their children about sex.

Yes, I totally understand that the fathers deeply believe that the reason they don't is because it would ruin the time they spend with their kids. Particularly if parents are separated and visits to children are limited, it makes perfect sense that Dads don't want to start talking about the birds and the bees on Saturday afternoon access visits. Besides, sex talk - Dads apparently feel - deals with tricky subjects, ones that could lead to defensiveness or argument.

Oh dear. Here's a chance for fathers not only to be of use to children - children who talk to their parents about sex are significantly more likely to have sex later and less likely to get pregant. It's also a chance to strengthen the bond, to talk about real stuff, not just whether Liverpool should have slaughtered Portsmouth or whether Kylie is going to be any good on the Christmas Dr Who special.

How to handle emotions, how to build relationships, how to have enjoyable and responsible sex lives - these are the things that Dads should be talking to their kids about. The fact that they are scared of doing so - for I do believe that's what underpins these fathers' views, whether they realise it or not - is deeply, deeply sad.

2 comments:

John R said...

"How to handle emotions, how to build relationships, how to have enjoyable and responsible sex lives - these are the things that Dads should be talking to their kids about". Perhaps Dads are scared of talking to their children because they haven't much clue about these things themselves?

Susan Quilliam said...

Completely and utterly agree, John. If there's anything worse than survey results showing that women didn't get the sex education they needed, it's the results showing that most men didn't get any sex education at all - or if they did it was behind the bike sheds. In addition, the pressure our society puts on men to 'perform' and 'get it right' means that they are likely to be less confident about sex than their female counterparts. There is a little light in the darkness - the new forum International Platform for Sex and Relationships Education is aiming to improve this situation worldwide for both young people and adults (contact y.ohlrichs@rng.nl).