What have dads got to do with it? Australian fathers’ perspectives on communicating with their young children about relationships and sexuality
Thomas, K and Patterson, K and Nash, Rose and Swabey, K, What have dads got to do with it? Australian fathers' perspectives on communicating with their young children about relationships and sexuality, Sex Education ISSN 1468-1811 (2021) [Refereed Article]
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This paper reports on findings of the Sex Ed Dads survey which sought Australian fathers’ perspectives on communicating with their young children about relationships and sexuality, as informal sexuality educators. Given the majority of existing family-based sexuality education research draws on the experiences of mothers, gaining insights from fathers is a much needed first step in designing resources to support paternal engagement in sexuality education. A diverse sample of 612 Australian fathers completed an online survey about their views on sexuality education and their role within it. Participating fathers valued sexuality education for their children and believed that their own informal contribution to its provision was important. Fathers reported high levels of comfort discussing a wide range of topics with their child at the age they deemed appropriate, although a gap between what fathers believed they should discuss and what they actually discussed was found. Findings offer insights for schools, resource developers and sexuality education providers seeking to support increased engagement of fathers in the sexuality education domain.
relationships, sexuality, parent–child communication, father, sexuality education, young children, Australia