Help for Parents

It can be daunting to try to talk to your child about relationships and sex. Most parents want to, but often don’t know the best way. The Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme has produced a range of resources to help in communicating with children aged 10-17 about sex and relationships. You can view them online or order copies here.

It’s important to communicate with your child. Communicating with your child can make a positive difference to them. Our research tells us that good sex education at home and in school can increase the likelihood that teenagers will wait until they are 17 or older before they have sex and that they will use contraception when they do.

See the Parents’ page on for more sex education information for parents.

Did you know?

  • Around one third of young people have sex before the legal age of consent (17 years); a common view expressed by teenagers was that sex education at school and in the home was ‘too little, too late’.
  • Having sex early is linked with a greater risk of having a crisis pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection in your lifetime.
  • Young people are already exposed to a variety of sexual practices and attitudes through the media – particularly television, the internet and magazines.
  • Young people want more information, particularly on relationships, and don’t always trust the information they get from friends and the media.
  • Parents often don’t know what their child knows about relationships and sex or what is he/she learning at school, from friends or from the media.
  • Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is a mandatory subject in school, from Junior Infants to Sixth Year. If your child’s school is not teaching RSE you can talk to the principal about it.
  • Sexually transmitted infections are increasing among the under 20s.
  • Young people’s decisions about relationships are influenced by what their friends are doing, pressure to appear grown up or not knowing how to say ‘no’.

Tips for parents

  • Find out what your child is learning about sex from school, friends and the media.
  • Don’t assume your child knows it all.
  • Start early – ideally before your child is a teenager.
  • Monitor what your child is doing – both out and about and online.
  • Don’t wait for your child to come to you – start the discussion yourself.

Relationships and sex education leaflets, booklets and DVDs

The Sexual Health & Crisis Pregnancy Programme has produced a range of relationships and sex education resources for communicating with children aged 10-17 that you can view online or order.

All resources are free and can be downloaded or ordered in the publications section of the website; click here

Other resources

Information on the relationships and sexuality education (RSE) programme in schools

Relationships and Sexuality Education – Going Forward Together – Booklet on RSE for parents: download a copy from

Parents’ training

The National Parents Council Primary – ‘Parenting: Supporting your child to build healthy friendships and relationships.’  Visit the National Parents Council Primary website for more information.

Irish Family Planning Association – ‘Speakeasy’ Visit the Irish Family Planning Association website for more information.

South West Counselling Centre – ‘Parent First’ Visit the South West Counselling Centre website for more information.

 Limerick Social Service – ‘Limerick City Slickers’. Contact for more information.

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