StopRSE has been contacted by numerous families distraught at the harmful effects that RSE teaching is having on their children.
Schools have a duty to keep children safe NOT harm them. If your child has become distressed or traumatised as a result of RSE content and teaching, then it becomes a safeguarding issue and must be raised with the school. Your child must also be provided with the proper support to help them process the trauma.
What should I do at school?
Make an appointment to meet and discuss the issue with the headteacher – explain what has happened and if possible provide details of the content/teaching that caused your child the distress and describe how it has affected your child. Ask how the school will resolve this issue and how they propose to support your child.
If you do not receive a satisfactory response then you will need to make a formal complaint. Schools will have a complaints procedure that you can request details on and then follow.
In extreme cases you may need to seek legal advice and support.
How do I help my child?
Depending on the level of distress caused to your child, you may need to seek professional psychological advice and support. You can make an appointment with your GP to discuss and ask to be referred to CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service).
Your child may well benefit from some counselling sessions to help them process the trauma – this can be accessed through the NHS but often schools or local charities may provide counselling services also.
How can I support my child at home?
In some cases you may realise your child is distressed because they come and tell you …. in such instances praise your child for coming to you and acknowledge how difficult and upsetting this is for them. Listen to what they have to say without being judgemental. Try and stay calm yourself and talk through with them what they would like from you and what you will do next.
Not all children will be able (or want) to articulate what they are feeling. It is important that you look out for signs that something is wrong such as your child crying more than usual; uncharacteristically not wanting to go to school; sudden bedwetting; nightmares; becoming withdrawn or seeming not their usual self. Such behaviours could indicate a variety of underlying problems so it is important to uncover what the actual cause is.
Activities such as going for walk; cooking; arts & crafts which you do alongside your child may help them begin to open up and express what is wrong. You could also speak to the teacher at school to find out more information i.e. did they have a lesson on RSE that week or is your child being bullied? Parents/carers also need to stay informed as to what their child is learning in RSE and when these lessons will take place – this will enable you to monitor your child’s mood and behaviour and whether is is being adversely affected by RSE lessons as as result.