Everyone who’s read a fairy tale knows the role fairy godmothers play in these stories. From Cinderella to Snow White, they swoop in with gifts, wisdom and charms, designed to ease the path into adulthood and new adventures.
Outside of famed fantasy tales, godparents still exist, and in most parts of the modern world they are more pragmatically viewed as people chosen by a child’s parents to play a slightly more impartial, yet positive, role in their life.
Godparents take an interest in the child’s upbringing, support their personal development, mentor them, and in some cases even claim legal guardianship if anything should happen to the child’s parents. And, no matter how open a family may be, there are some conversations that will never happen between parents and their children.
Discussions about sex, body developments, contraception, bullying, and self-esteem are challenging chats, no matter how good the relationship is.
Teenagers are developing and asserting their privacy. This is totally normal, and should be encouraged, as these are the times when they truly start to learn who they are. It can certainly be a challenge to insert ‘the sex talk’ into that mix.
Sex education conversations need to be had around biology, consent, savvy social media use, safe sex, sexuality and so much more. So, who does it? And how does a sex fairy godmother fit in? The parents of every teen (or soon-to-be-teen) should be encouraging open, frank discussions around sex education (pro-tip: lots of smaller talks are much more effective than one big chat about ‘the birds and the bees’).
If these parents also choose a ‘sex fairy godparent’ or three for their teenager, such as an aunt, older cousin, family friend or even a trusted teacher, this does some amazing things, like:
- Lightening the educational load for parents
- Giving the teen a safe outlet for questions or conversations that they’re not comfortable having with their parents
- Removing any over-reliance on schools and teachers.
- Opening up the lines of communication.
- Respecting the teen’s privacy as they start to navigate their bodily and sexual health.
- Teaches appropriate boundaries and communication skills.
- Ensures if a parent needs to intervene, that trusted friend or relative knows when to hand it over.
When teens have questions about sex and their bodies, data tells us that teens speak to their friends first, look it up on the internet second (hello there, PornHub), and about fifth down the list are their parents.
Ideally, a sex fairy godparent can take more of a friendship role, while giving parents a greater share of voice when their teens have questions, and can
slow down the interest in asking Dr Google.
There is a powerful need for accurate sex education today. STI (sexually transmitted infection) rates among teens are currently very high, and there is a raft of very inaccurate sex information online.
Parents need to step up any way they can in today’s online environment, and a sex fairy godparent can play a powerful, safe role.