How to Partner with Parents in Teaching About Sex

Good Sex Curriculum Excerpt

Kara Powell | Jan 31, 2011

This post is an excerpt from the Good Sex 2.0 Leader’s Guide: A Whole-Person Approach to Teenage Sexuality and God curriculum for youth workers, by Jim Hancock and Kara Powell. Used by permission.

If we could wave a Magic Parent Wand, we’d love to see you as a youth leader partner with parents of kids in your ministry in line with three goals:

  1. To inform parents about the sexual pressures, thoughts, and feelings bombarding their students, and how kids in general (and maybe even their own kids) are holding up under them.
  2. To involve parents in their kids’ sex education, instead of outsourcing it to the school – or to you!
  3. To encourage parents as they take steps, even baby steps, in discussing the all-too-often taboo subjects of sex with their own teens.

You likely already have some great ideas to help accomplish some of those goals, but perhaps these additional ideas can stir your thinking. They might also help you avoid some angry or surprised emails from parents along the way!

  • Schedule a parent meeting and offer snacks (that means real food, not leftover pizza and stale tortilla chips) as well as a safe place to share honestly about why and how parents can have authentic conversations with their kids about sexuality. Here’s a free sample meeting guide you could use.
  • Forward valuable tidbits from each lesson to parents, especially lists and provocative comments students make (keeping students anonymous, of course.
  • Send a newsletter to parents to let them know what you’re covering when—and how they can be praying.
  • Ahead of time, ask a parent you respect to be on call for an extended length of time—six to twelve months—to help other parents navigate through their students’ tricky questions or struggles.
  • Enlist a team of parents to contact the rest of the parents to ask what else your ministry can do to help.
  • Send out encouraging, anonymous stories from students about how their parents have helped them understand and deal with sex.
  • Ask parents to share personal stories during your youth group meetings about how they handled (succeeded, struggled with, failed, recovered and came to understand) sex when they were teens.
  • Organize a no-holds-barred parent panel on marriage and sexuality in which kids get to anonymously ask the questions on 3x5 cards.
  • Establish a parent advisory board to help all your parents with teen sex and other issues.
  • Recommend TV shows, magazines, and websites to parents that reflect what their kids deal with sexually. Send copies of magazine or online articles (Christian or otherwise), as well as song lyrics, to parents to keep them informed on what their kids deal with sexually.
  • Encourage parents to create special rituals to mark significant conversations or decisions their children make about sexual boundaries and self control.
  • Suggest that families connect with other families to discuss sexuality. It might actually be easier for kids and parents to talk about sex with others around.

Above all, communicate openness and humility (especially if you’re young). Most parents will be glad to know you’re on the same team.

Download a free pdf of a parent meeting guide to get started!

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.

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