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Helping kids form good relationships

Relationship education will be on the syllabus for all primary and secondary school children from September 2020, it was announced this week. This is good news for our profession as difficulties in relationships form a huge part of the therapist’s workload.

Mental health and online safety will also be added to the curriculum along with, in secondary schools, an acknowledgement that LGBT identities are respected by society and information around drugs and alcohol.

As professionals working with young people in therapy, here are some of the things we would love this new initiative to achieve:

  • Resilience in the face of pressure from social media – it’s ok to be yourself
  • Confidence to ask for help – it’s ok to find things difficult
  • Acceptance of emotions – it’s ok to cry
  • The ability to say ‘no’ – it’s ok not to have sex

These skills help us navigate our relationships. With them we get a sense of our own worth, rights and dignity. With them we also get an insight into the worth, rights and dignity of others. Learning these skills builds self-esteem and makes us less vulnerable to exploitation.

School can’t do it all – parents, communities and peers are important too – but it’s a start.

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