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Parents helped to talk about sex

20 August 08 23:25 GMT

A scheme in southern Scotland is helping parents feel less awkward when talking to their children about sex.

The Speakeasy project in Dumfries and Galloway is among the first of its kind in Scotland and the first in the UK to be run with NHS funding.

Project co-ordinator Laura Fairbairn said parents were often embarrassed or did not know what to say.

However, she said good sex education could lower levels of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection.

The eight-week course covers a range of subjects relevant to parents.

They include the changes children undergo at puberty, understanding the pressures on young people as well as information about the range of contraception methods available.

Ms Fairbairn said the course was specially developed to help parents and carers discuss sex.

"Research has shown that good relationships and good sex education can raise the age that young people first try out sexual activity," she said.

She added that it also helped cut the rate of teenage pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted infections.

'Feel embarrassed'

"Most young people want to hear the facts from their parents or carers and be able to talk with them about body changes, feelings and boyfriends or girlfriends," she said.

"Yet many parents and carers feel embarrassed or are not sure what to say.

"The Speakeasy course was specially developed for those parents and carers to help them improve their communication skills with children and young people and to give them more confidence."

A total of 31 parents and carers from across Dumfries and Galloway have recently completed the course.

Further courses are planned in the autumn in Upper Nithsdale, Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Annan.

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