Using Sex Ed To-Go materials with a group of young people instead on one-on-one with your own child can be a good option for some families. Some young people might feel more comfortable in a group setting or having these conversations with a non-parent adult. It provides an opportunity for young people to learn from each other and potentially feel less alone in their experiences or questions. Multiple parent/caregivers can share the work. On the other hand, you’ll have less control over the conversations and how your child’s questions are answered.
If you choose to work with a group, here are a few things to consider:
Being broadly aligned on values will make this partnership easier. Being interested in joint sex ed lessons is a great start, but some topics you might dig a little deeper on are abstinence, LGBTQ+ topics, abortion and porn. You don’t need to have complete agreement but it helps if you’re similar in values. You might also ask their comfort with sex positive messages (e.g. “sex can be fun when approached responsibly” and “healthy sexual relationships are an important part of a healthy, happy life”) vs. traditional fear and shame-based messages. Also consider your young person’s relationship with the others in the group. Are there any social dynamics that might make this more or less difficult for them?
One suggestion is to have any parent/caregiver leading a lesson to complete our three-part Let’s Talk series for parent/caregivers so they have some basic skills and self-knowledge. Someone leading multiple lessons might want to take some of our teacher-facing courses:
Values-based questions often include “should/shouldn’t” or “okay/not okay” language. Best practice for sex educators is to answer fact-based questions and to redirect values-based questions to parents/caregivers; your group could set this expectation.
All kinds of things can come up in these conversations, from funny questions to disclosures of abuse. Plan ahead for what lesson-leaders can or should share with other parent/caregivers, and what they shouldn’t. Best practice for sex educators is to keep as much private as possible (so no gossiping about hilarious misunderstandings!) but to share anything that affects the physical, emotional or mental safety of a young person.
** Talk about these agreements with the young people in the group upfront and make sure they follow them too. That might sound like, “In order for everyone to feel safe and be able to learn, we all need to agree that what happens here, stays here. None of us will share what questions anyone asked or any personal information shared with anyone outside this group. That includes me telling your parents anything, with one exception: if I hear something that makes me worry about your physical, mental or emotional safety, I will need to share that with your parents.”
For more information or questions about Sex Ed To-Go, email us!