What are your kids learning?
This document breaks down the mandated laws and regulations of all areas of health in schools in great detail, including sexuality education, sexually transmitted diseases education, and human growth and development education. Youth spend most of their time in school, so it is important that as parents you know what information and messages are being relayed to your children.
The HECAT is provided by the CDC and is meant to help schools to conduct a clear and complete analysis of health education curricula based on the National Health Education Standards. HECAT results aid schools in developing appropriate and effective health education curricula. Information on the curricula of all components of school education is presented, including personal health and wellness, sexual health, violence prevention, and comprehensive health education.
Here, you can find both national and, more importantly, state education standards in Rhode Island. These include pieces about health education, sexuality education, and freedom from discrimination, bullying, and dating violence. Our goal with these two site pages is to make it easier to understand what kind of standards are out there and affecting sexuality education so parents can better understand the landscape and be able to advocate for comprehensive sexuality education if your children are not receiving it.
Thrive is Rhode Island’s Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) and was founded in 1994 after receiving funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The goal of the program is to prevent life-threatening health problems and to improve educational outcomes. Thrive provides information about all components of a healthy school, including a breakdown of sexuality education involving HIV/AIDS and STD’s, comprehensive sexuality programs, teen pregnancy, and the LGBTQ youth community.
Confused about what kind of things your kids are thinking about and when it’s appropriate for them to be thinking them? Sexuality is a life-long process. From infancy to adulthood, humans are naturally sexual human beings. It is just as important to lay a foundation of information for a child’s sexual growth as it is for physical, emotional, and cognitive growth. Adults have a responsibility to help youth understand and accept their sexuality. Here, Advocates for Youth provides guidelines for age-appropriate sexual development and gives more information about when you can expect things to start happening!
Communication is Key
It can be difficult or uncomfortable talking to your kids about sex. That’s why it’s important to have the communication skills necessary to do so. HYRI’s mission is similar to that of the Rhode Island Alliance, and here, the Alliance shares similar goals with HYRI, tells you why you need to talk to your kids about sex, how to begin the conversation, and tips on how to communicate with your teens.
Although having the tools to communicate with your teen is important, there’s other stuff too. You should try and make sure your teen has a healthcare provider, support organizations like HYRI that promote comprehensive sexuality education, set expectations and limits for your teens, and be able to support your teen’s sexual identity. Here, the State Rhode Island Department of Health lays it all out for you.
You’re not alone. Most parents want to be there for their children when it comes to sexual health, but aren’t quite sure where to start. Along with education and contraception, parents can be a form of prevention when it comes to pregnancy and the contraction of STD’s. One in four teenage girls in the United States is infected with at least one STD. HIV/AIDS is currently one of the most fastly spreading STD. Here, Aids Project Rhode Island provides tons of Q&A’s about sexual health and HIV/AIDS by parents just like you.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has been conducting research for more than ten years. Presented here are ten tips, many of which seem familiar because they articulate what parents already know from experience. Tips on how to answer questions your teens might ask you are also provided.
Dating, self-image, Internet dangers, and peer pressure are some topics parents have a hard time discussing with their children, especially with preteen girls. Here, Communication Skills Building offers tools to help parents improve communication with their preteen and teenage girls. You can also find communication skills specifically for African-American and Hispanic communities.
77% of teens said they didn’t know how to bring up a sexual subject to their parent. So, why not have the parent bring it up? Studies show that parental discussions regarding contraception in the year prior to their teen’s first sexual encounter are strongly associated with teens using condom, and preventing pregnancy or contracting an STI.
Read About It
If you start talking early enough, you kids will listen! Dr. Fred Kaeser is the former director of health in New York City public school. With an increasingly sexualized youth culture, kids are growing up faster than ever, so it’s important to talk with your kids sooner rather than later. In this highly recommended book, Dr. Kaeser gives you the skills to go above and beyond the birds and the bees, and to discuss awkward and uncomfortable issues with a confident and empowering attitude.
Divorce is an awful and traumatic experience for any family to go through. Divorce impacts not only the parents, but your kids as well. Parents can have the best of intentions, but somehow still lose contact with their teens. Research shows that divorce can negatively impact all aspects of a teen’s health, including their sexual health. In this book, Geoffrey L. Grief, an associate professor of Social Work University of Maryland, shares stories of failed relationships. More importantly, he offers a series of specific and helpful suggestions for families who have lost contact and close relationships after a divorce.
Parents often imagine their kids to be nonsexual until their wedding night. The truth of the matter is that we’re sexual human beings from day one. Your kids need you to talk to them about sex. Inside this book are the tools you need to help your kids not only understand their growing bodies, but also cope with the temptations and social pressures that go with them. Practical, expert, and down-to-earth, A Chicken’s Guide is a powerful resource not only for moms and dads, but also for pastors, counselors, and anyone with a heart for kids.