We’ve all heard the news. A former Sydney schoolgirl. A petition. Literally thousands of stories of sexual assault. Non-consensual sexual encounters that are claimed to be common-place occurrences at parties for teens.
As is usually the case when matters like this come to light, there tends to be a lot of finger pointing, especially in sensationalist opinion pieces, current affairs programs and social media.
Some say…. schools should do more. There should be more education about consent and sexuality, more talks, more guest speakers, more strategies, more mentions in assembly, more hours spent throughout the curriculum.
Some say…. parents should do more. It’s all the fault of unsupervised parties, relaxed attitudes to alcohol and thinking it’s a good idea to allow minors to go to schoolies on the Gold Coast. (I do actually tend to agree with this sentiment).
Others say… this is an inevitable product of our hyper-sexualised society. The easy access to pornography, children having devices 24/7, and the acceptance of demeaning sexual antics on mainstream tv shows (Love Island, The Bachelor/ette, Big Brother, Sex in the City and Jersey Shore among many others, for example) have casualised and devalued the intimacy of sexuality in appropriate relationships.
This is a hugely complex issue and one that will not be solved in a few paragraphs written in a School Principal’s newsletter. It is a multi-layered issue for which we all must take varying degrees of responsibility to help the young people in our care grow up into mature, functional adults who are confident in life.
The good news is we are not starting from scratch. Our curriculum takes a strengths based approach helping to empower all students to make wise choices in life and around the issues of relationships and sexuality. I am also grateful that we have so many parents in our community who are, on a daily basis, engaged in the substantial and significant task of helping their children grow into maturity. Let me encourage you in that endeavour. Yes, it is tough, but we are in this together.
So how can we personally tackle this issue? How are we supposed to talk to our children – our teenagers – about consent, respect, staying safe, and all of the risks our teenagers face? Between us not knowing what to say, or when or how to say it, and our children not willing to hear it, we’re in a tough spot. But we have to have the conversations. We must. So where do we start?
Cedars Christian College has registered for a webinar for all of our parents where Dr Justin Coulson attempts to answer those questions for us and give us useful advice and strategies when talking to our young people.
Dr Justin Coulson, one of Australia’s leading parenting experts and father to six daughters, has put together answers in an online seminar, “Sex, Consent & Staying Safe”, designed specifically for parents of Sydney and New South Wales high school students. In this seminar, you’ll hear:
- What Sydney’s teenagers are getting up to in terms of sex, pornography, alcohol and drugs
- Why they think they know everything (and why it’s so hard to teach them anything)
- Simple ways to have the conversations your teenager needs to have in a way that invites them to want to listen
- The critical things every parent must do to reduce the risk that their child will be either a perpetrator or a victim of non-consensual sexual activity (assault)
This webinar is a FREE, live event on Wednesday 26 May at 7.30pm for our parents.
Parents please let me to encourage you to take part in this opportunity.
(Note – this is a live webinar, but a link will be available for 7 days after the event in case of timetable clashes so you can catch up and watch it later. Please register.)