Research Summary: The importance of parental communication in supporting children’s and young people’s relationship and sexuality development

The HSE has developed a short, easy-to-read summary of research on the topic of the importance of parental communication with young people on relationships and sexuality.

This summary is designed to support those in parental roles to initiate meaningful, useful and age and stage-appropriate conversations with children and young people on relationships and sexuality.

Talking About Sexual Behaviour of Young People in Ireland

Sexual activity is an important component of physical and mental health and wellbeing. Norms, behaviours and practices around sexual activity begin to be established during adolescence. The provision of appropriate sexual health education and information is a key facilitator of positive sexual health behaviours and relationships throughout the life course. This report uses data from the ‘98 cohort of Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) to examine when, where and how young people receive information on sex and relationships, and the role of this information in shaping sexual competence (or readiness) and behaviours among Irish adolescents.

Supporting Parents Communicating with Children Aged 4 to 9 Years about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up

The research was commissioned to gain an understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by parents when communicating with their younger children about relationships, sexuality and growing up.

The report provides a fascinating insight into the experiences and feelings of parents around this subject and a deeper understanding of the issues they face.

The research was led by Dr Catherine Conlon, Assistant Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin. The findings will inform the implementation of the National Sexual health Strategy 2015 – 2020 to develop supports for parents to engage with their children around relationships, sexuality and growing up.