Explore Relationships

To safely navigate a young person through adolescence there must be a multi track approach with a consistent message to support them. We cannot stop at just providing information. Young people can access information now more than ever and yet the challenges remain prevalent. Information will increase knowledge but not necessarily aid a person in making a healthy decision.

Even with increased knowledge, teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections continue to rise. Alongside relevant and appropriate information, young people need the space to learn skills i.e. communication, negotiation and decision making. They need the space to explore how to develop positive friendships, how to set goals for themselves and be aspirational. Knowledge is important, but allowing them to learn may often require more.


Perhaps young people need the space to explore issues around relationships and sexuality where they can ask the challenging questions; feeling free to uncover the complexities and mysteries that surround relationships, sexuality and sex itself.

Offering this space, you as the youth worker have the opportunity to use the many skills you possess in working among young people, giving them the space to ask questions, allowing them to explore the topics in a safe environment and challenging their attitudes. Through role play and case studies you can also allow them to explore negotiating skills in relationships and enhance their decision making skills.
Some of us feel more confident than others. Here are some ‘top tips’ to consider when addressing the topic of relationships and sexuality.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I really know and understand the needs of the young people I am working with? [Be sensitive – young people come from different backgrounds with different experiences – be aware of that – as you research – develop material and deliver it]
  • Have I ever considered asking them their thoughts [Q+A/suggestion box/small group work]?
  • Have I involved parents? Are they happy with running through this material? [a wee bit of communication and consent may save a lot of heartache]
  • What about families/parents – supporting them alongside your young people
  • What about Church leaders? Are they aware of what you are embarking on? Would they have support to offer you?
  • Does this topic deserve more than a ‘one night wonder’ slot in your year?
  • Am I equipped? What about my leaders? Do we need some specific training?
  • Am I the right person to do this? [you might wish to seek help from agencies/organisations/individuals who are knowledgeable and experienced in this area]

  • When inviting a guest speaker or agency into facilitate, ensure they are in keeping with your organisations/churches ethos or value base. Do your research.
  • Make sure your organisation has Child Protection Policy/Procedures in place.

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