Parents play a crucial role as primary educators in sexuality education, starting from the home environment. From the moment a child is born, parents begin shaping their understanding of relationships, love, and affection. However, due to cultural taboos and personal discomfort, discussing sexuality and health within the family can pose challenges for some parents. This blog explores the importance of open communication, common family hurdles, and practical suggestions for fostering a safe environment for these discussions.

Parents as Sexuality Educators: Setting the Foundation

Parents unknowingly assume the role of sexuality educators from the moment their child enters the world. They lay the groundwork for their child’s comprehension of relationships and sexuality through both implicit messages and explicit discussions. As children naturally inquire about topics like “Where do babies come from?” during their developmental journey, these early interactions shape their approach to sexual conversations throughout childhood and beyond.

The Impact of Parental Guidance: Shaping Understanding

Research indicates that parental guidance significantly influences a child’s understanding of sexuality and health. Positive parent-child sexual communication correlates with favourable outcomes such as delayed sexual activity, fewer partners, and safer sex practices. However, these discussions are often infrequent, narrow in scope, and delayed. Many parents struggle with initiating these conversations due to uncertainty about what to say, assumptions about their child’s interest, or uncertainty about timing.

The Benefits of Early, Quality Sexuality Education

Early exposure to comprehensive sexuality education yields numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being. It equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to challenge misconceptions, safeguard against exploitation, and foster healthy sexual development. By fostering open communication, parents bolster their children’s overall well-being and empower them to make informed decisions regarding their bodies and relationships.

Practical Tips for Creating a Safe Family Environment

1. Start Early and Adapt to Age:

Initiate age-appropriate conversations about sexuality early in a child’s life, customizing discussions to their developmental stage.

2. Foster Open Dialogue:

Encourage an environment where family members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and questions, promoting trust and understanding.

3. Embrace Discomfort:

Acknowledge and address the discomfort that may arise during discussions, accepting differing perspectives to reinforce family values and critical thinking skills.

4. Utilise Teachable Moments:

Seize everyday situations to initiate conversations about sexualized messages encountered in media or daily life, sharing personal beliefs and values.

5. Embrace Uncertainty:

Accept that it’s okay not to have all the answers and encourage curiosity and learning by exploring questions together.

Leveraging Resources and Expertise

Building a safe space for open discussions about sexuality and health requires ongoing dedication, empathy, and bravery. Ensure content is suitable for your child’s age by utilizing reliable sources like and consider integrating recommended books from organisations like Sex Positive Families. Explore community resources such as libraries, community centers, and local organisations for additional support and information.

When faced with questions beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from counsellors, educators, or healthcare professionals who can offer accurate, up-to-date information and guidance.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Seray Soyman is working as a Clinical Psychosexologist within the Willingness team, providing psychosexual education and sexual support sessions, as well as delivering training and workshops. She has a master’s degree in Clinical Psychosexology from the Sapienza University of Rome. Seray’s research interests are sexual communication, sex-positive behaviour, LGBTQIA+ studies, and sexual health.