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Changing the conversation; how to talk with young people about sex and relationships

10 August 2022

Children learning in a classroom
Children learning in a classroom

After undertaking a significant amount of research into how infants and young children are taught about relationships, sexuality and health, Clare Bennett recognised that parents and carers often feel ill-equipped to have conversations with infants and children about these matters, and require more support to do so.

Inspired by the findings of her research, Clare co-authored two books, designed to support parents, carers, teachers, nurses and any other professionals who work with children.

These books have now been published in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and have been adopted by healthcare professionals working across Africa, Bangladesh and China.

The first book ‘Can I have babies too?’, explores the challenges in adult-child communication about sexuality and provides helpful advice on how to establish an open dialogue with children up to the age of 11.

The second book, ‘Going beyond ‘The Talk’, offers guidance and advice on how to better communicate with 12-18-year olds about relationships and sexuality.

A joint grant from The Churchill Fellowship and Cardiff University’s ERASMUS+ Organisational Mobility fund enabled the development of these two books, which were co-authored by Clare and two Dutch colleagues who are experts in relationships and sexuality education.

Clare Bennett is a Reader within the School of Healthcare Sciences, and is also a Co-Director for the Wales Centre for Evidence Based Care. Reviews of the book have been very positive:

'As a parent and psychotherapist, I found this book a refreshing, ease-inducing guide to educating children about their bodies, sex and beyond. Many can feel overwhelmed or ill equipped to speak to their children about these matters. This book offers hope and centralizes the parent- child bond as the conduit to give children a realistic and positive relationship with their bodies, senses and eventual sexuality. Highly recommend it.' Erica Esmail-Rath, MFT Psychotherapist practicing in San Francisco, California.

'This warm, hopeful, evidence-based guide is filled with wisdom and has inclusivity at its heart. It is a must read for all adults wishing to communicate with their teenagers about relationships, sexuality, identity, and values like never before. It will challenge you and affirm you in equal measure.' Katy Thomas, relationships and sexuality education researcher, teacher, mother of four, Australia.

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