Sex education for teens brought into the workplace in US trial

Parents of teenagers should be taught sex education in the workplace, researchers say.

Following demands by several leading sexual health charities for children as young as four to be taught about body parts, sex and relationships, a report in the British Medical Journal by Mark A Schuster from Harvard University said a trial programme conducted in the workplace had proved ‘successful’, and should be brought into the workplace.

Almost 600 parents employed at 13 large public and private workplaces in California were taught how to discuss difficult topics with their teenagers in workplace training programmes, Schuster said.

Participants were taught to listen to their children without interrupting or ranting, as well as how to impart skills such as decision-making, assertiveness, and confidence when interacting with peers.

Periodic surveys found communication between parents and children had improved, and teenagers’ knowledge of related issues had increased compared to those who did not take part in the programme.

“Parents are desperate for advice on how to talk with their kids about sex,” said Schuster. “They know it’s important, but their own parents didn’t talk with them, so they don’t know where to begin.”

Schuster said the programme was modelled on workplace health promotion programmes for quitting smoking and weight loss.

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