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FAQs - Sex & personal Issues

Child in thought
In this section of the website you will find frequently asked questions about particular issues or situations that affect children and young people and their parents. It is hoped that the answers to these questions will offer people useful information and advice, including links to other websites where appropriate.
What is bullying?
Bullying can mean many different things. These are some ways children and young people have described bullying:
  • being called names
  • being teased
  • being pushed or pulled about
  • being hit or attacked
  • having your bag and other possessions taken and thrown around
  • having rumours spread about you
  • being ignored and left out
  • being forced to hand over money or possessions
  • being attacked or teased or called names because of your religion or colour
  • being attacked or teased or called names because of your sexuality

For further help and advice please visit the following website links:-

Why do bullies do it?
They have their own problems - they may feel upset or angry or feel that they don't fit in - perhaps they have problems at home?

Maybe they get bullied themselves, perhaps by someone in their own family or other adults?

They're scared of getting picked on so they do it first

They want to show off and seem tough

Many don't like themselves and so take it out on someone else

For further help and advice please visit the following website links:-

How can I help my friend who is worried about the fighting and arguing at home?
Make sure that when you talk to your friend about the abuse, youre in a safe place and you have time to talk. Its possible that when your friend talks to you they might feel angry or upset. Its scary for them to talk about the abuse, so these feelings are normal. It is important to show your friend support and understanding, and explain there are places that can offer help if this is what they want.
For more information you could refer to the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting

I am being racial abused? What can I do?
Childline have these suggestions:
  1. Stop taking the abuse
    You don't have to accept this sort of hassle. Everyone has a right to live happily and free from discrimination, no matter what their nationality or race.
  2. Accept that you're not the one with the problem
    Your self-esteem may have taken a knock if you're having a hard time, but the thing you have to remember is that you are not the one to have caused the problem.
  3. Tell someone what's happening to you
    You don't have to suffer in silence. Think who's the best person to talk to about what's happening. Schools, police and employers have a responsibility to protect you. Other parts of your life will suffer if you keep silent. If the problem is at school, your work might deteriorate. Speak up now before the problem takes over.
  4. Go for a team effort
    Get other people involved in tackling the problem - perhaps you could start an anti-racism project or newsletter at your school or youth group and invite an anti-racist speaker along. Or set up a discussion group to talk about relevant issues and see what you can do to help in your area.
  5. Make people take you seriously
    If you are going to alert someone to the fact that you're being threatened, abused or bullied, then do it properly. You have to be prepared to get across how just it is affecting your well-being.
  6. Keep some evidence of what's happening (a diary of events, for example)
    This might be useful to show others that you need help.
  7. Plan what you would like to happen
    Now go for it.
  8. Make other parts of your life even better
    Don't let racists ruin every area of your life. For example, if you're unhappy at school or work, then make sure you make up for the bad times by enjoying yourself at home or with your friends.
  9. Keep safe and aware
    You can't spend you life looking over your shoulder, but it pays to be aware of dangers. Stick with groups of friends if you feel vulnerable.
  10. Never give up!
    You might not be able to tackle racism by yourself. Seek out support and accept help where you can.

Where can I get contraceptive advice?
There are many forms of contraception, including condoms and the pill. You need to find the right one for you if you are considering having sex!

For clear practical advice you need to speak to your GP, family planning clinic or look in the services directory to find out what is available to you in Redcar and Cleveland for advice.

I’ve had sex with my boyfriend without contraception, I won’t get pregnant will I?
Often the thought is ‘it won’t happen to me’, but frequently it does, even in the most caring relationships. If the couple do not use contraception, the woman can become pregnant the first time they have sex whether she is on her period or not.

If you are at risk of pregnancy - then you're also at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

What is a Sexually transmitted Infection?
Sexually Transmitted Infections are usually called STIs - and there are lots of different ones. The most common way of getting an STI is through sex - but you don't have to have full sex to get infected. If you think you may have an STI it's important to get treatment as soon as possible.

Some of the common signs are:
  • Pain or discomfort when you wee
  • Unusual discharge from your penis or vagina
  • Itching or a rash around your penis or vagina
  • Pain during sex
BUT - some infections have no symptoms so can stay hidden for many years

This service directory will provide you with where to go if you think you may have a sexually transmitted infection.

I think I’m pregnant, what should I do?
If you do have sex without contraception, you can still prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception up to 3 days after you have had sex.

If you are 16 or over you can buy the emergency contraceptive pill, commonly known as the morning after pill from a chemist. If you are under 16, the pills can be obtained from your GP or a family planning clinic.

An emergency Intrauterine device can be inserted up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex, by this is only available from your GP or family planning clinic.

If you do not wish to take any of these options or you are too late, then you must take a pregnancy test or talk to somebody. Details of people and agencies that can give you advice are listed in the service directory.

There are websites that can provide information on these issues:

I’m 16 and pregnant, I don’t know what to do?
There are plenty of services available to you who can discuss the options with you inlcluding your own GP and doctors at the Family Planning Clinic. You can also contact Sure Start plus or Teenage Pregnancy advisors. All of these services are listed on the service directory.

What are HIV and AIDS?
Most people have heard of HIV and AIDS. Some find it confusing or frightening, and not something that they want to talk or think about

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that damages the body’s defence systems so it cannot fight infection.

Someone with HIV is described as ‘HIV positive’. HIV causes, over a period of time, a range of different diseases known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

How do you get HIV?
HIV can be passed on when infected bodily fluid (such as blood or semen) gets into the bloodstream of an uninfected person.

This most often happens during unprotected sex (i.e., having sex without using a condom) when one partner is already infected, or between drug users who inject and share needles.

It can’t be transmitted by things like coughing, sneezing, sharing a toilet seat, swimming pools, sweat and tears.

I am gay/lesbian. Where can I talk to someone about it?
There are several organisations with websites offering support and advice:

What is self-harm?
Self-harm is when people set out to harm themselves deliberately, sometimes in a hidden way. Self-harm can include cutting, burning, bruising or poisoning, but does not usually mean that someone wants to commit suicide. But, if people are not helped to stop self-harming, there is a risk that their urge to hurt themselves could grow into a stronger wish to end their lives. There are several agencies and services that can support you if you are self harming.

Why do young people harm themselves?
People who self harm feel lonely and unloved. Giving your teenager time to talk to you, discussing difficulties they have and letting them know you are there for them will help. Your support will make them feel better about themselves.

For information please refer to the Safe Parenting Handbook

For further information and advice please contact:

ChildLine 0800
The Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 (24 hour helpline)
Action for Children
National Self-Harm Network
The Site

What does it feel like to be bullied?
Bullying hurts. It makes you scared and upset. It can make you so worried that you can't work well at school. Some children have told us they have skipped school to get away from it. It can make you feel that you are no good, that there is something wrong with you. Bullies can make you feel that it's your fault.
For more help and advice the following websites may be useful:-

Alternatively you could call Kidscape 08451 205 204.

I’m being bullied what can I do?
If you are being bullied, you can do something about it. You can make a difference!
  • Practise what you want to say
  • Keep a note or diary of what is happening
  • Don't give up
  • Ask your parents to visit the school
  • Talk over what to do with a friend, a teacher, your mum or dad or someone you trust
Remember that teachers have to listen carefully when child tells them about being bullied.

Remember - it's right to tell an adult that you are being bullied and to ask for their help. But you don't have to let them take over. You can talk with them about what you would like to happen.

For useful help and advice please visit the following website links:-

or alternatively you can call Kidscape on 08451 205 204

What are Eating Disorders?
Warning signs of an eating disorder are missing meals or eating very little;weight loss or unusual weight change;becoming preoccupied with food;excessively exercising;going to bathroom immediately after meals;believing they are fat when underweight;food disappearing from cupboards;using laxatives and vomiting to control weight - all could indicate an eating disorder.
If you are concerned that your child may have an eating disorder, talk to them about your concerns. Visit your GP who will be able to advise you about specialist help and arrange a referral if necessary.

For further information please see the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting

For further advice you could contact the following helplines and websites.

Beating Eating Disorders 0845 634 1414 or visit
Young Minds 0800 018 2138
NHS Direct 0845 4647

Why is it dangerous to my health if I have an Eating Disorder?
Food and eating is very important because it is essential to your health, growth and development. There are many aspects of your health and fitness that can be affected by an eating disorder (either under or over-eating). If your body is getting the wrong balance of nutrients, vitamins, fats etc then this can have serious and even dangerous consequences for your health.

Only teenage girls suffer with Eating Disorders?
Although it is true that eating disorders are most common in teenage girls, this is a condition that is also apparent in boys and young men, and can develop in middle age for both males and females.

What is Anxiety?
Children, like adults, have all sorts of strong feelings about what is happening to them. At times, the world around them can seem frightening or uncertain. It's natural for them to feel fearful or worried.
Growing up: different types of anxiety

Fears and phobias:
Very young children often develop fears and phobias. These usually happen in particular situations, such as going to nursery or settling down at night, and can result from the fear of separation from parents or familiar adults. Sometimes, the anxieties are set off by particular things such as dogs, spiders or snakes. Fears like this are very common in early childhood, but with some encouragement and support, most children learn to overcome their anxiety.

General anxiety:
Some youngsters feel anxious most of the time for no apparent reason. It may be part of their temperament, or it may be part of a pattern of behaviour that is shared with other members of the family. If the anxiety becomes very severe, it can interfere with the child's ability to go to school, to concentrate and learn, and to be confident with others.

School-related anxiety:
Refusing to go to school can also be caused by anxiety. However, worries about going to school can be caused by a number of things. It is always worth trying to find out what could be causing the problem. Anxiety about separation from their parents is common in young children transferring to secondary school. Fear of bullying, or problems with friendships, are also common. Trouble with school work or with teachers may also play a part.

Where can I get help and advice about teenage pregnancy?

What is thrush?
Thrush is a yeast infection. Although its more common amongst girls, boys can also get the infection.
For girls thrush usually causes itching, irritation, discharge, redness and swelling around the vagina.
For boys symptoms included red, sore itchy penis.
Thrush is not a sexually transmitted disease, however, it can be passed through sex if you don't use a condom for protection.
If you think you have thrush you can visit your local Doctor or click onto NHS website or call the NHS Direct Helpline on 0845 4647
To treat thrush you can visit your local pharmacy for over the counter creams and tablets.
For details of Sexual Health Clinics in your area please visit
Thrush can also be common in healthy babies under two years old, for futher information please visit the NHS direct website or alternatively you can seek help and advice from your local Health Visitor for contact details please visit website links below:-

Health Visiting and School Nursing - West (covers Eston, Grangetown, Normanby,South Bank, Nunthorpe, Teesville, Ormesby and Overfields)

Health Visiting and School Nursing - East (This service covers Boosbeck, Brotton, Carlin How, Charltons, Guisborough, Lingdale, Loftus,
Saltburn, Skelton and Skinningrove)

Health Visiting and School Nursing - Central (This service covers Marske, New Marske,Redcar and Saltburn)

How can I see my Doctor without my parents knowing?
You can make appointment at your GP surgery or go to a NHS walk-in centre without an appointment. Alternatively, if you'd like to talk to a nurse for advice right now, you can call the NHS Direct Helpline 0845 4647.

Where did NHS LifeCheck come from?
In the public consultation Your Health, Your Care, Your Say people clearly stated that they want to take more responsibility for their health and well-being. Three quarters of participants identified regular health checks as a top priority to help them do this. In response, the 2006 White Paper Our Health, Our Care, Our Say announced the development of NHS LifeCheck.

Since then, the Department of Health has been working with partners including health and social care professionals, academic researchers, stakeholders, experts and end-users to develop LifeChecks for three key stages in peoples lives:
  • NHS Early Years LifeCheck for parents and carers with babies 5-8 months old
  • NHS Teen LifeCheck for young people aged 12-15
  • NHS Mid-life LifeCheck for the 45-60 age group

For more information visit:

How does NHS LifeCheck help to reduce health inequalities?
NHS LifeCheck has been developed to help reduce health inequalities through targeted use in areas of deprivation. A £5.8 million frontline resourcing package has been deployed through the Communities for Health programme to 83 of the most deprived local authority and Spearhead areas in England. In these areas, NHS LifeCheck can be used to encourage people at highest risk of ill-health, caused by lifestyle choices, to do a personal LifeCheck and act on the results.

NHS LifeCheck will support wider health improvement by directing a person to local services or recommending they seek advice from a health care professional. For example, information on services such as smoking cessation groups and health improvement opportunities in the local community will be provided. Users will also be able to print their results and goals and take them to their GP or health professional to use as the basis for a consultation.

Each NHS LifeCheck focuses on risk factors specific to three key stages of life: early years, adolescence and mid-life. These risk factors are things that people can control and modify to improve their overall health and well-being.

Risk factors that have been identified as key priorities for health improvement are:
  • Smoking
  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Alcohol use
  • Sexual health
  • Mental health and emotional well-being
For more information visit:

When will NHS LifeCheck be available?
To ensure maximum penetration in hard to reach areas, both the NHS Early Years and Teen LifeChecks are being promoted initially in 83 Communities for Health areas from late 2008. Following a high-profile marketing campaign, both tools will then be promoted across the rest of England from early 2009. The NHS Mid-life LifeCheck is expected to go to open pilot in early 2009, with national roll-out later in the year.
For more information visit:

I am worried that my child is being bullied, how can I tell?
Warning signs that your child may be getting bullied are running away, non-attendance at school, other learning and behavioural difficulties for no obvious reason. Your child has injuries with feasible explanation for them.
See someone at the school for their support and action. If bullying is happening outside school, consider contacting the family of the child who is bullying and try to find a way to work to sort it out.
For more information please see the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting
Other useful contacts are:-
Kidscape 08451 205 204
Bullying UK

Why should I talk to my son/daughter about sex?
Young people are starting to have sex younger and younger. Don't assume that this won't happen to your teenager. By the time you see the warning signs it may be too late to give them the help they need. Make sure they learn about sex early on.
For further information please refer to the Safe Parenting Handbook
They are many leaflets, books and website that can give advice.
Useful contacts are:
Teenage Pregnancy and Parenting Support Service - Redcar and Cleveland 01642 479324
Sexwise Helpline 0800 28 29 30
Ask Brook 0800 018 5023 or visit
Parentline Plus 0808 800 2222 or visit
NHS Direct 0845 4647 or visit
Sense CDs
British Pregnancy Advisory Service 08457 30 40 30 visit

Is my son/daughter gay?
If you believe your child is gay and having difficulty either coming to terms with this or telling you, start up conversations that will give them an opportunity to bring up the subject. There is nothing you can do or should do to try to stop your child from being what they naturally are. Hiding feelings can only do long-term damage to their self-confidence. Encourage your child to be who they are and to be proud.
For further information please refer to the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting
You can also contact:-
FFLAG (Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Helpline 0845 652
PACE (Family Therapy Service) 020 7700 1323