The parenting SAFER model: Sex, sexting, consent and porn.

When it comes to the topics of sexuality and relationships, sexual decision making can be one of the most important yet challenging conversations to have with your child. Unfortunately, in our hyper-sexualised society, there are a lot of unhelpful and even harmful messages produced in and around the topic of sex. One of the loudest messages projected within our culture is that ‘sex is no big deal.’ This message has been communicated for a long time now through pop culture, youth culture, movies, tv shows, social media etc and in many ways, has been one of the biggest contributors to the ‘hookup culture’ that exists in society today.

This belief that sex is a trivial matter means that unfortunately, young people aren’t always recieving the holistic education around sexual decision making that they deserve. Important topics like the psychological implications of sexual activity, STI’s, sexual ethics, pressure, coercion and sexual abuse are just a few out of the bountiful list of important conversations that are so often missed within the education that society has to offer around sex.

The truth is that the birds and the bees style, one off, one sided conversation never really worked well with teenagers. The reality is that it probably didn’t work for you as a teen and it definitely won’t work for your child.

We believe that in order for young people to make healthy choices in this space that are right for them personally, they deserve to have clear and explicit conversations around sexuality and sexuality decision making.

We are passionate about equipping parents to confidently be at the forefront of leading this conversation.

We believe that every parent has the opportunity to frame the discussion around sexual decision making with their kids before the world begins to shape their understanding on these topics for them.

This is where The SAFER Model comes into play. We have created this model for parents as a simple yet effective framework to navigate conversations around sex with their kids.

Start. We encourage parents to start the conversation with their kids as early as possible. It will prove beneficial for your child to introduce the topic sooner rather than later. Finding age appropriate ways to address topics such as sex, the human body, consent, privacy etc can go a long way towards creating a strong platform for ongoing meaningful discussions.

Answer the questions openly and honestly. There’s often a temptation from young people to seek information and guidance from their friends or from google around the topic of sex. Parents are the safest place for young people to turn to find the answers they’re looking for. It’s important that as parents, we don’t avoid these questions, but answer them as honestly and explicitly as possible.

Frame the topics. We believe that family values hold a really significant place in this conversation. We also understand that whilst every family might hold different values, it’s important that your family values are threaded throughout the conversation around sex with your kids. For example, things like respect, love, commitment and trust might be at the heart of your family values. By leading this conversation with your kids, parents have the opportunity to bring those values into the discussion.

Equip your child. It’s so important that within these discussions, parents are using up to date information and clear language when it comes to sex. This will equip your child to confidently make positive choices, call out inappropriate behaviour in others, recognise inappropriate behaviours within their own self and understand the risks associated with sex.

Regular conversations. A parent who has followed our SAFER model for a while now referred to this last one ‘Regular conversations’ as the gift that comes when you have done the work of SAFE. You’ve Started the Conversations, Answered their questions, Framed the topics, Equipped your child, and now you get the gift of an ongoing relationship with your child where you can openly, honestly and meaningfully discuss these topics with your child in a way that helps them and protects them.

Our kids deserve the very best. Young people are desperate for conversation and education around these very important topics. I want to encourage you to be the one to have this conversation with your child.

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