It's more important than ever that we teach both our boys and girls about the necessity of sexual consent. Parents should begin talking about relationships and sex with their kids in elementary school and middle school before big questions arise, and conversations about sex don't always have to be the big 'birds and the bees' talk. We can talk with our kids about relationships and consent through consistent smaller conversations, which makes these conversations easier in the long run. This page is here to provide you with resources and tools to help you become informed about the issues facing youth today, and to equip you with the resources you need to support your children as they strive to develop healthy relationships.
Families Connected Parent Resources
Families Connected videos - expert advice in under two minutes
In these two videos, Jennifer Elledge (Barber), MPH, CHES, a Families Connected expert contributor, shares helpful sexual consent awareness advice for parents. as well as advice for parents to help prepare their children for healthy relationships as young adults.
You can make a difference — talk with your kids about sexual consent
Consider sharing our “Consent - Advice for Teens” from Jennifer Elledge, MPH, with your teen.
Recommended Families Connected Expert/Parent Blog
You can make a difference — talk with your kids, and keep in mind…
Our kids are savvy. Most kids today have access to the world in the palm of their hands. Through their devices, an overwhelming amount of information and images come at them on a daily basis, and the culture around how they connect is completely different than what we experienced. Keeping that in mind, own what you don’t know. Consider starting with, “I’m curious about what it’s like in the dating world right now?”
About those images coming at them, a high percentage of teens are getting a lot of their sex education and concepts of relationships from online porn, even before they’ve had their first kiss, or first conversation with a parent or educator. This adds both a huge layer of complexity and urgency to the importance of these conversations. Unfortunately, our kids can’t “unsee” what they’ve been exposed to, but we can help them understand that what is depicted in porn does not represent heathy sexual relationships, or what either party actually wants.
Teens highly value their independence. Before sharing your insight/ knowledge with them, ask permission. In practical terms, this might be saying, “Hey, I found this interesting video called “Tea Consent” (see videos below). Do you want to take a look at it?”
If your teen says “nope”, don’t press it, and don’t get discouraged. We often strengthen our connections with young people when we find ways to honor their autonomy.
Come from a place of compassion and remember that we are hard-wired to seek romantic relationships and connection. Be sure to acknowledge that reality and not shame your kid. This will help open the door to future conversations. Little conversations starting early are the way to go. This topic, like most, can’t be tackled in one BIG TALK, or the “Birds and the Bees” lecture. It’s a process.
Related Resources on the Families Connected Website
A Curated Gallery of National Videos, Articles & Resources
Two great videos to watch and share
Articles and insight about the problem with porn and teens
Clicking on any article title below will take you out of the Families Connected website and into the website of the publisher (noted in parentheses). Please note that, unlike the Families Connected website, these articles will include pop-up ads.
What Teenagers are Learning From Online Porn, (New York Times Magazine, 2/18)
Porn; Many Teens Watch It, and Two Reasons That's a Problem (Huffington Post, 6/14)
Is Pornography Dangerous for Teens? (ChildMind Institute -- a video)
Consent education and tools that you can use
Clicking on the logos or images below will take you out of the Families Connected website and into the website of the resource described. Please note that articles listed will include pop-up ads.
Break the Cycle inspires and supports young people 12 - 24 to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. Break the Cycle provides outstanding, free, and downloadable handouts, quizzes, videos, and education modules and awareness campaigns. Click on the logo on the left to access their [Real]source Center to access content and healthy relationships curriculum in English and Spanish.
Check-out Let's Be Real and consider encouraging your teen or young adult to join. It’s not a club, it’s not a group, it’s a movement. By young people, for young people, about relationships. Let's Be Real provides youth with online and in-person opportunities to have real conversations about their experiences, tap into their creativity, and apply their individual gifts and talents towards building a culture without abuse.
The Red Zone is a stretch of time between when a student first arrives on college campus in late August and Thanksgiving break, when college students are more likely to be sexually assaulted than at any other time in their college career. The Password: Consent campaign provides important information about The Red Zone and the tools to facilitate conversation and education to help end it.
It’s On Us is a national movement to end sexual assault. The campaign was launched following recommendations from the White House Task Force to Prevent Sexual Assault that noted the importance of engaging everyone in the conversation to end sexual violence. Tools for parents and youth: A Sexual Consent Discussion Guide and Bystander Intervention Tips.
Too often, when we talk with young people, we talk about the dangers of sexual behavior, and we leave out the positive feelings. Young people need to hear from us, the caring adults in their lives, about the pleasure as well as the responsibility of sexuality. (Advocates for Youth)
Most young people are keen to find out all about sex – but generally not from their parents! However, the fact remains that discussing sex and consent needs to happen sooner rather than later, and be part of an ongoing discussion as they mature. (theline.org)
A list of parenting action items, created in the hope that we can raise a generation of children who have less rape and sexual assault in their lives. (Huffington Post)
Awkward question - how do you talk to your teenage son about sex and consent, especially given recent stories about sexual violence against women on college campuses? (NPR)
Consent awareness education material
A popular speaker in the South Bay, Jen Elledge (Barber) has taught thousands of parents and young people the importance of being sexually healthy. She is the Founder of The Talk Institute. Below are links to some of her online blogs.