MUMS in the Colne and Holme Valleys have headed back into the classroom to learn how to answer some tricky questions from young children.
A group of parents from the Valleys have been attending a course called Speakeasy, developed by the Family Planning Association, which helps parents to educate their children about sex and relationships.
During the eight-week course, mothers whose children range in age from one to eight, learned how to confidently answer questions and discuss the delicate subject of sex when raised by their youngsters.
The classes were held at Golcar, Cowlersley and Milnsbridge Children’s Centre and taught by family support workers Sam Stubley and Carol Woodhead.
Described as a mixture of ‘fun and hard work’, they involved writing tasks, discussions and exercises. The mums, several of whom had left school early without any qualifications, had to complete portfolios of written work which were submitted for evaluation to the Family Planning Association in London.
Their hard work paid off. All of the parents passed the FPA Level 2 exam – equivalent to a GCSE – and they have just received their accreditation certificates.
Sam said: “The aim of Speakeasy is to teach parents to be the main educators of sexual health and relationships to their children. The age at which questions arise varies from child to child. Parents learn to answer with confidence when those questions come up and Speakeasy has been a great success.
Carol added: “The classes encourages parents to speak as early as possible to their children on the subject and to find the right words to use.’’
One of the biggest surprises came when the group ran a timeline.
It revealed that the age at which children first started asking sex-related questions was under five years old which was much earlier than most parents had imagined.
Carol added: “We also had a same sex couple in the class and the other mums were interested in their approach to the subject and also how to deal with the topic of same sex relationships with their own children.”
One mum who has benefited from Speakeasy is Emma Coates from Golcar.
She has three young children – two-year-old Megan, four-year-old Darren and six-year-old Shaun – and is also stepmum to nine-year-old Elliott.
Emma said: “I didn’t understand how to speak to my children about sex. When they ask questions, I would fob them off and tell them to ask their dad.
“I left school at 14 and didn’t know much. I felt I needed to learn something to teach my children.
I have got a lot out of the course and can answer the questions well now. I would recommend Speakeasy to all parents.
“I’ve also got a qualification and I have never had one before. I feel really proud and good about that.”