Talking to children about sex, relationships and growing up

Speakeasy is an evidence-based programme of accredited courses and shorter workshops which gives parents the confidence and knowledge to talk with their children about, sex, relationships and growing up. It also:

  • Helps parents make talking to children part of family life in order to build resilience
  • Addresses concerns about commercialisation and sexualisation of children
  • Introduces parents to thinking about risky situations for their children and safeguarding in general
  • Helps parents to talk about alcohol and other risk taking behaviour
  • Links with other parenting programmes. It works well with parents of younger children as well as those approaching or in adolescence
  • Helps primary schools engage with parents over sex and relationship education

One parent commented:

'I attended Speakeasy with apprehension at first - I didn't think I needed any 'sex education' and wasn't sure if I would gain anything or even enjoy the course.  Fortunately I was very wrong on both counts.  One of the many things I learned was that the education starts very young and in subtle ways - for example using proper names for body parts. And boy did that start a few conversations!  I told a friend I was doing Speakeasy and shared what it was about. Her response was: 'You need a course for THAT!?' 'It's not just about sex,' I told her. 'It's knowing how to keep your children safe and teaching them how to keep themselves safe.' Speakeasy shows that talking to your children from a very young age is not going to ruin them and make them try things out. It is more likely to help them choose to wait until they are ready - as well as to make informed decisions. Most importantly it is about setting your children up for adulthood so they have the tools they need to keep them on track as they grow up."

The programme ran across Scotland from 2008 to 2011 reaching about 1,000 parents, and continues to run. Parents can submit their work for accreditation through FPA (www.fpa.org.uk).  In North and South Lanarkshire, FPA is working closely with the BBV (blood borne virus) and sexual health training service with funding for a term-time coordinator to oversee the work.

More information

Information on the Speakeasy Scotland programme is at: www.fpa.org.uk/communityprojects/parentsandcarers

See also www.facebook.com/speakeasyatfpa

Or contact the Speakeasy coordinator for Lanarkshire (term-time only) Joyce Innes: speakeasyjoyce@gmail.com or the Speakeasy project lead David Kesterton: davidk@fpa.org.uk