Talking to Your Children About Bodies, Gender, and Transgender Identities
New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America has launched the first set of videos in a new series for parents, and caregivers on how to talk about topics related to bodies, sex, and relationships in developmentally appropriate ways with preschool, elementary, and middle school-aged children. The first three videos, which were released this week, are for parents and caregivers of preschoolers:
- “How To Talk To Preschoolers About Anatomy & Body Safety” is about how to explain private parts and inappropriate touching, and how to promote body safety and self-confidence.
- “How To Teach Your Kids About Gender” covers conversations about gender roles and gender stereotypes, and ways to help your child develop confidence in their own identities.
- “How To Know If Your Kid Is Transgender” recommends listening to your child, being there for them, and showing them they are loved for who they are.
There’s no better resource than a supportive parent. Parents and caregivers are the primary sex educators of their own children, and when they’re comfortable talking with their children at every age about their bodies, relationships, and sex, they are better able to help keep them healthy and safe
Additional videos for parents and caregivers of elementary and middle school-aged children will be released later this year.
“There’s no better resource than a supportive parent. Parents and caregivers are the primary sex educators of their own children, and when they’re comfortable talking with their children at every age about their bodies, relationships, and sex, they are better able to help keep them healthy and safe,” said Sonya Norsworthy, interim vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These videos can help parents and caregivers begin, and continue having ongoing conversations with their children at any age, sending the message to their children that these topics are important — and a normal part of life.”
Planned Parenthood is committed to helping parents and caregivers address relationships, health, and decision-making with their children, as well as helping them communicate their own beliefs and values about sex and relationships. Last year, Planned Parenthood relaunched PlannedParenthood.org/Parents, a resource page where parents and caregivers can find guidance on how to talk with their children about a variety of topics. Whether you have a preschooler, a high-schooler, or a child in-between, you can get support about how to talk about topics like personal safety, healthy friendships and relationships, bodies and body image, gender identity and sexual orientation, and sexual health.
…sex education can equip young people with the information and skills they need to have good relationships
“Whether it’s the conversations parents have with their children, or a school, or community program, sex education can equip young people with the information and skills they need to have good relationships, make decisions for themselves, think critically about the world, be an ally to those who are different, and love themselves for who they are,” Norsworthy said. “You don’t need to be an expert — you just need to be willing to talk and listen. Having open conversations with your child about sex, puberty, bodies, and relationships will help them stay safe and healthy as they grow up.”
The new video series is the latest addition to Planned Parenthood’s use of technology to reach young people, parents, and caregivers with information and resources online, in order to support healthy decision-making around sex and relationships.
- Planned Parenthood’s growing library of YouTube videos models healthy communication for young people. They include Consent 101, a Webby Award-winning video series designed to help young people have conversations about consent, and the STI videos that show how to talk about safer sex, getting tested for STIs, and disclosing an STI.
- Planned Parenthood offers interactive digital tools designed to help middle- and high school-aged young people build decision-making skills around sex and relationships to prevent both unintended pregnancy and STIs, and to help them stay safe and healthy — including helping teens set goals around if/when having children fits into their life plan; resist peer pressure to have sex, drink, or use drugs; and learn about birth control methods when they are thinking about becoming sexually active.
- Planned Parenthood’s Chat/Text program allows young people to have live conversations with trained educators via instant message or texts, connecting them with critical information about sexual health when they are in need of fast, confidential help. It is the largest digital sex education program in the country.
The bottom line is that young people deserve to have the information, resources, and skills they need to protect their health and build their future — without shame or judgement
Planned Parenthood also encourages parents and caregivers to know if their child’s school is providing sex education that is inclusive, comprehensive, and affirming. Parents and caregivers can ask their children what, if any, sex education they’ve gotten in school. They can find out if their children are happy with what they’re taught, if they feel included in it, and what they wish schools would teach that they currently don’t. Parents, caregivers, and students can find out who is making decisions about sex education at their local school and get involved to help ensure sex education gives children the information and skills they need, without shame or judgement.
“The bottom line is that young people deserve to have the information, resources, and skills they need to protect their health and build their future — without shame or judgment,” Norsworthy said. “Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring that educators, parents and caregivers, young people, and people of all ages get the information and support they need to have healthy lives and relationships.”
Planned Parenthood believes in the power of sex education to change lives. As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide sex education and outreach to 1.5 million people of all ages and identities each year — and we reach millions more online with resources in English and Spanish. Planned Parenthood does this work because we want all people to have the information and education they need to make healthy decisions about their bodies and their futures. We’re here to help — no matter who you are or where you live.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgement. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.