Parents/Carers > Introduction

My experience in Love for life is that young people and their parents are under tremendous pressure from conflicting messages about many issues, but particularly that of sex and relationships. 

Effective communication within the home is invaluable; parents are the first and most important educators in their children’s lives.  For all of us the goal is to help our children become balanced, confident, responsible, mature adults with a healthy self esteem and an awareness of the value and uniqueness of themselves and others.

It is our experience that parents/carers want help addressing important issues with their teenagers and this need can be best met through discussion with other parents learning from the views, ideas and experiences in a group setting.

Love for Life aims to facilitate this by holding events to inform and encourage parents to talk to their children about relationships and sex.


Parents/Carers > Presentation

At present most of our presentations are held in towns throughout the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) area in a range of settings with parents of children attending schools in the area invited.

Invites to these presentations are sent to parents through the local schools - this process is administered by the SELB.  Parents of other children (without an invite) may still attend an arranged presentation by simply turning up on the night.

Parent evenings are also organised through individual schools, church groups and community organisations.

The presentations are relaxed, informal affairs where parents not only have the opportunity to receive relevant information from the speakers but also have the opportunity to join in group discussion.  We believe that this is an excellent way to learn from the ideas and experiences of others.

It is planned to expand this programme to cover the whole of Northern Ireland.

Parents/Carers > Parenting Video

In September 2002, Love for Life launched a video specifically for parents entitled 'Talk Sex … Who me?' 

At the launch Dr Joe Hendron, MLA said ... 

“Parents are on the front line when it comes to helping their child make good decisions and it is vital that they are given all the help they need in fulfilling that role.” 

... and Mr Danny Kennedy MLA, while praising schools for their excellent contribution to relationship and sexuality education also acknowledges the vital role of parents. 

 “Revealingly, most young people say that they would rather find out about sex from their parents than their friends.  In families where sex is discussed, teenage pregnancies may decline by as much as 35%, and the age of first sexual experience is delayed.”

The 'Talk Sex ... Who Me?' resource contains a video and accompanying workbook.  The package can be used as a stand alone video presentation or can be used in conjunction with the workbook to form the basis of group discussion among parents.

The resource can be used in schools, churches, or community settings to empower parents and carers to communicate effectively a positive message about sexual choices to their children.

The video highlights issues such as media influences, peer pressure, risk taking behaviour and its consequences, boundaries and communication.

Parents/Carers > Parenting Skills

The key element in any relationship is communication. Effective communication with children and particularly teenagers is essential if we are to establish meaningful relationships with them.

We realise that many parents juggle parenting, home and employment but spending time with children will pay dividends.  We need to be aware of their world, this is particularly vital when parenting teenagers.

All children need boundaries.  If we as parents are to provide guidance, encourage mutual respect and protect our young we must have limits and standards of behaviour. Teenagers like boundaries in their lives, as long as they are fair, because they show in a very tangible way that they are loved and cared for.

Are you dreading the day of the BIG TALK?  Don’t.  Sex education as with all other aspects of learning for our children should be an ongoing process.  Talk about relationships answering questions openly and honestly, giving age appropriate answers.  Parents themselves know how much information their children need and will understand.  Talking about general changes such as growing taller, changes in body shape and growth of body hair will introduce the whole topic of puberty in a gentle way.

Perhaps the greatest influence on teenagers comes from their peer group.  The need to ‘fit in’, to be accepted is immense but not all peers will have positive influences on each other.  Of course we can’t police our kids 24 hours a day, therefore it is important that we know who their friends are, where they are going and what they are doing.

Relationships are part of growing up.  The average person will fall in love 6 or 7 times in their lifetime.  So how can we prepare young people for the rollercoaster of adolescence?   Are they aware of the possible consequences of choices that they make particularly in the area of relationships and sexuality?  

Encouraging young people to delay sexual relationships for as long as possible will reduce the number of sexual partners, which in turn will reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and consequential emotional damage.

Sex - Contraception, Emotional Hurt, Teenage Pregnancy

“Safe sex”, medically more accurately described as safer sex is widely promoted and contraception is freely available, even without parental consent or knowledge. 

There is no method of contraception that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.  While condoms provide some protection from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), it provides very little protection from the most common STI in Northern Ireland, the Human Papilloma Virus (wart virus) and the contraceptive pill while more effective in preventing pregnancy will give NO protection from STI’s. 

It is also important to note that contraceptives will not prevent a broken heart and damaged self-esteem, which can result if relationships involve sex for teenagers.

Emotional Hurt
Many teenagers who do become involved sexually express regret.  A reported 80% of girls and 60% of boys in a recent survey wished they had waited. 

Teenagers get involved sexually for a variety of reasons including peer pressure, pressure within the relationship or they just get carried away in the heat of the moment.  Also, increasingly, young people are becoming sexually active as a result of alcohol misuse.  Sadly some cannot even remember the experience at all. 

As parents we want our young people to enjoy sex in the context of a loving committed relationship not something that they will live to regret.

Teenage Pregnancy
Northern Ireland has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe









Your welcome again.