How relationships can help us get through the COVID-19 pandemic
I’m Abi – a young person working for a relationships charity called Fastn. I felt inspired by the Straight Talking team to write a post about some of my learning about relationships especially in times like these.
We are all learning about relationships in every interaction we have. This learning shapes how we feel about other relationships, ourselves and many other parts of our lives. In fact, the relationships we experience literally change our brain’s functioning and structure over time. This is one reason why learning about relationships through Relationships and Sex Education is so important!
The ‘R’ in ‘RSE’ can therefore be essential in underpinning good age-appropriate sex education and in setting us all up for healthy, dependable relationships that help us thrive throughout life.
So how does this fit in with the pandemic? With both schools and our social lives looking very different in current times, our relationships have changed too. To me, they have felt even more important in giving support both practically and emotionally. I have learned a lot about the importance of being there for each other when life can be stressful!
So, as schools begin to reopen and we all are trying to find new ways of looking after ourselves and each other, relationships feel like an essential part of this. This could be through listening and empathising with teachers, colleagues and other students or making sure you are there for your friends when they need you.
From September this year Relationships Education in all primary schools in England and Relationships and Sex Education in all secondary schools formally becomes a compulsory part of the curriculum. Due to COVID-19, the Department for Education have recently written to all schools to say that the new curriculum should be implemented by ‘no later than the start of the summer term 2021’.
This slight delay in getting RSE fully implemented gives us all time to reflect on our role in RSE. As young people, we can already start to create more positive relationship environments at home or in school by being the reliable friends/ siblings/ partners/ parents we would like to have. You could also ask what your school’s plans are for RSE. Parents can also actively engage in the consultations schools will be having about how RSE will take place in their school.
We must not wait for compulsory RSE to start trying to make changes we can make within ourselves and with those important to us. These changes can help us now and throughout our whole lives.
Fastn promotes healthy, dependable relationships that support families, in all their forms, to thrive.
If you’re interested in the work Fastn do, you can get involved here: www.fastn.org/become-an-activist