Conversation key for tricky topics

GOOD CONVERSATIONS: Rose Broadway and Linda Kirkman hope the workshop they have developed will help young people and adults broach tricky topics.
GOOD CONVERSATIONS: Rose Broadway and Linda Kirkman hope the workshop they have developed will help young people and adults broach tricky topics.

Organisers hope a workshop for young people and adults will make the sometimes-tricky conversations on sexuality and relationships easier.

Most young people wanted to be able to speak to trusted adults about sexuality, gender and relationships, according to health experts Linda Kirkman and Rose Broadway.

“All the research suggests young people want to talk to their parents but they are not always comfortable (doing so),” Dr Kirkman said.

“As soon as they hear that things are taboo they don’t go there. It shuts down communication.”

Ms Broadway said when young people were not comfortable approaching parents or other significant adults they turned to other sources, some of which created distorted impressions of body image and relationships.

“Kids are smart. They want to know. So they start googling,” she said.

Ms Broadway said it was a problem many young people struggled with.

Workshops to begin next week

Ms Broadway and Dr Kirkman are planning Growing Up Human workshops from next week to help adults and young people explore those subjects.

“We feel like this is a really practical way to foster an environment where we can (support them) in their development,” Ms Broadway said.

“And there will also be opportunities to ask burning questions about all the curly things young people might come up with.”

Dr Kirkman said the 3-hour workshops were targeted at young people in grades 3 to 6, years 6 to 8 and years 9 or older.

“What makes (the workshop) ‘alternative sex education’ is that it is not about delivering content,” she said.

“It’s about building the skills and relationships to allow an ongoing supportive communication between the young person and the adult.”

A supportive environment could also be good for adults.

“I’m hoping that through this workshop both young people and adults find other people they can go to so they can ask questions, get advice and support or information,” Dr Kirkman said.

Growing Up Human workshops begin next Tuesday, 17 January. For more information or to book a place click here.