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“Let’s Be Honest” Workshop: Recap & Reflection

As a parent, it can sometimes be difficult to determine how to approach discussing physical development, sexuality, and sex with your children. As a result, USES decided to host a workshop facilitated by a Planned Parenthood parent educator to help provide parents with the resources and skills to comfortably and confidently engage in conversations about sex and sexuality with their children.

On Monday, February 3rd, Planned Parenthood's Ran Courant-Morgan came to USES to facilitate the Let’s Be Honest workshop. Ran was incredibly knowledgeable, but also created an environment where participants felt comfortable opening up and sharing. The objective of the workshop was to:

  • Understand why it might be difficult to discuss sex and sexuality with your children;
  • See the importance of having these conversations; and
  • Introduce some valuable resources that can support parents when discussing these topics with their children.

The workshop introduced all the different ways that kids learn about and are exposed to sex and sexuality-school, peers, the internet, books, family, etc. This further demonstrated that while parents cannot control if  kids learn about sex, they can control how.

Furthermore, talking to your kids will allow them to be more prepared to delay sex, more able to engage in healthier sexual relationships, and to make better decisions! Combining interactive activities that allowed parents to connect with one another with instructional support, the facilitator created a “brave” environment that led to honest discussions and sharing. The result was a framework for how to engage with your children around the topic of sex and sexuality;

  • Validate their questions or feelings
  • Clarify what they meant or were asking, and provide them with a fact about what they are asking
  • Express feelings relevant to the conversation (i.e., "isn’t amazing to know where babies come from?")
  • Attach personal values ("It is important in our family that we know the names of our body parts")

Ran also provided parents with a variety of tips about where to have these conversations and what to do if your kids are not asking questions. She recommended having general conversation openers, staging conversations for them to overhear, or even creating an anonymous question or comment jar. Having these conversations in the car, where you can think about your reply while your child is in the backseat, or doing an activity where you can multi-task, such as cooking dinner, can help take the pressure off.  Rather than attempting to condense a wide breadth of information into one formal and often uncomfortable talk, engaging in multiple little exchanges as specific questions and observations arise is far more productive. Openly addressing relevant and important conversations with your children can go a long way and will likely encourage them to come to you for support in the future.

Parents also left the workshop with a children’s resource book about development, sex and sexuality. We look forward to continuing this important work with Planned Parenthood, and provide parents with more opportunities for learning and sharing! If you are interested in learning more from the workshop, notes are attached here!

Highlights from Evaluations:

  • 88% of parents or caregivers felt more comfortable and confident in their ability to communicate with their children about sexuality and sexual health.
  • 76% of parents or caregivers increased their resources and skills to confidently talk with their kids about sexuality and sexual health.
  • 100% of participants said they would use resources provided to engage in effective conversations surrounding sexuality and sexual health with children in their lives.
  • 100% of participants would recommend this event to other parents and caregivers.

“Ran was great! Learned so much.”

“This was great, I came in scared to talk with my son. Now I have confidence. Thank you.”

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