Explaining the Birds and Bees

There are some jobs no parent relishes - changing nappies and mopping up bodily fluids being the obvious frontrunners.

But I would also wager our coveted jumbo bottle of Calpol, there is not a single sensible human being out there who has ever enjoyed explaining the ‘Birds and the Bees’ to their offspring.

Not one.

As somebody who is on a constant quest to improve my mediocre parenting skills, I have shared countless stories and disasters with many friends but the funniest tales tend to centre around ‘that conversation’.

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What I have learned is that, like parenting in general, there is no right way of dealing with this delicate topic and how it handled is the absolute prerogative of parents.

Telling our eldest was pretty straightforward - Mrs Tapp did it while I was doing the dishes but I have been told that it will be my turn once our little lad has a better understanding of the world. Gender equality in its purest form, you might argue.

There are some grandparents who argue that youngsters are exposed to the realities of the world far too soon but then we live at a time when information is everywhere, meaning parents feel they have little choice but to have those difficult conversations earlier than they would’ve perhaps liked. This sea change in society’s approach on how to deal with sex has prompted the Government to get involved and the Department of Education is now preparing to introduce relationship classes which will touch upon issues of consent.

It has been reported that ministers are keen to make these lessons more relevant to a society where online pornography and sexting are a real threat to our youngsters and one where, over a four-year period, there were 30,000 reports of children sexually assaulting their peers.

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Undoubtedly there will be permanently angry people, much like those who regularly participate in radio phone-ins, who will say that it is the job of parents to tackle subjects such as consent and online safety. I would say parents need all the help they can get these days.