Parents are their child’s first teachers. Their behaviour is a guide to friendships, intimate relationships and the outside world. Involved and loving fathers teach their children to be kind, caring, and respectful. With positive role models, children are able to treat others well and realise when they are being mistreated.

Having a good relationship with their fathers can make a huge difference to children. For example, they

  • have better friendships.
  • have a lower risk of depression.
  • have better intimate relationships.
  • perform better in school.

Below, we gathered some experiences of fathers who take an active role in their childrens' lives. We also share parenting resources on respectful relationships, healthy sexuality and more.

Fathers share their stories

As fathers, it can be difficult to have emotional conversations with our children. But we have an important responsibility to teach our children about relationships, healthy sexuality and respectful intimacy. Read what Alessandro from Italy, Fatjon from Albania, Daniel from the Czech Republic and Victor from Ukraine share about how they feel talking to their children about these topics and what their experiences as boys were with their fathers.

Victor Baladin, Ukraine

Victor is 48 and has three children. His oldest daughter is 25, while his sons are 8 and 13. Read what he has to share:

Have you talked to your children about respectful relationships, consent, and healthy sexuality?

No, I have not had "the talk" yet, unfortunately. I had no such opportunity to talk to my daughter, which was a huge mistake. I haven't spoken to the boys yet.

When are you planning on talking to the children about respectful relationships, consent, and healthy sexuality? Do you feel scared or intimidated about having these conversations?

Absolutely, I would like to talk to the children about such important things, especially to the older boy who is 13. He needs this conversation, and it's relevant for him. But I'm afraid of having this conversation. When I think about it, I feel shy and lack self-esteem and put it off every time. 

What do you want the child to understand about respectful relationships, consent, and healthy sexuality? Why?

I want them to understand that their needs and desires, incl. sexual needs, are completely normal and healthy. At the same time, other people have desires, needs and boundaries that need to be respected. This is the only way possible to build correct and respectful relationships. 

Looking back at your childhood, did your father or anybody else talk to you about these topics?

No, unfortunately, no. And I really missed it in my life and my experience.

Where did you get your information about these topics? How do you think that influenced you in your behaviour/relationships?

I got this information on the street mostly from friends, classmates, and TV, which was not always decent. The lack of this information greatly influenced my relationships with my future partner. I had a distorted vision of relationships, sexuality and my and others' boundaries. It was significant and not the best influence.

Alessandro Vero, Italy

Alessandro is 42 and has two children from different relationships. His older son is 12 years old, while his younger child is only one year. Read what he shares:

When was the first time you talked to your son about relationships, consent and respectful sexuality?

The first time with my oldest son was obviously last year. When he was about 11 years old, I found out he had a girlfriend. But he didn't talk to me about it. I spoke to him and asked him first of all what his interests were, his sexual tastes, whether they concerned boys or girls or rather females or males, but he answered females. He made a statement, let's say, in broad strokes without answering directly.

When will you talk to your son specifically about consent and healthy sexuality?

I will talk to my son about consent and healthy sexuality when I see that he is ready for it, especially from a sexual point of view. Meanwhile, the only thing I can do is teach him respect for women and girls, or more specifically, respect and care for women and girls.

Did you feel frightened or intimidated about having these conversations?

I felt more than frightened. I felt a duty to be careful with words. My 12-year-old pre-teen son experiences sexuality very differently from how I experienced it because the world has changed. Things have become more difficult. 

An example... Today, everything is shared, and there is this morbid interest in showing rather than experiencing something spontaneous. Especially sex is no longer about curiosity, a matter of emotions and taboos to be overcome, but is taken for granted.

And when you had this conversation with your son, was it good or awkward? What would you call it?

The conversation with my son was good. He just listened because he told me he didn't want to talk about his girlfriend. I asked him to listen and spoke about respect and care. That he should take care of his girlfriend and not just treat her like "one of the boys" but that she would want to be treated differently. I told him that he should take her for granted.

What do you want your son to understand about respectful relationships, consent and healthy sexuality?

I want him to know that joy and experiments are incredibly important. That he should never feel or make others feel any obligation. That it should feel comfortable and good.

Did your father or anyone else talk to you about these topics?

My father talked to me about it when I was older. I wasn't 12, I was 14-15, and the context was different. He took everything in a bit more humourous way, but he saw when I was very embarrassed, almost in tears. I didn't know what to do because my feelings were complicated to explain to a parent, but he understood. And he hugged me tightly, and for me, it was a relief because it meant that he had understood this embarrassment of mine.

Is there anything you wished your father had done differently when he talked to you?

No, because you can't explain things that you struggle to talk about to a parent. But I give him credit for acknowledging my embarrassment, of taking note of it.


Fatjon Taipi, Albania

Fatjon is a father of two - a seven-year-old daughter and a son who is 8 months old. Read what he shares:

Fatjon, when do you plan to talk to your child about respectful relationships, consent and healthy sexuality? Do you feel uncomfortable with these topics?

I have always thought that it is awkward talking to your child about sexuality and consent and explaining to them their own development. But I have taken a pledge and an oath to have this conversation with my daughter and son.

What do you want your children to understand about respectful relationships, consent, and healthy sexuality?

I think there is a paradox between the information children and young people get from society about sexuality and what science conveys, and what we believe is correct. I want my daughter and son to be informed and scientifically oriented. They should always feel they can ask their mother and me about their relationship insecurities and sexual and consensual relationships.

Daniel Novak, Czech Republic

Daniel has three children: His younger son is one year old, his daughter is 5 years old and his older son seven. Read what he shares:

When do you plan to talk to your kids about relationships and sexuality?

I have children at an age when the youngest is one year old, and that is a son, then I have a five-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son. And it's my first life experience of having kids, so I don't know if I have a plan for this. I'm just taking parenting as it comes. I've already talked a little about these things with my son but not yet with my daughter. And I don't have any plans with the youngest.

And are you afraid of these conversations?

I'm a little nervous about it, and I'm probably more afraid of the conversations with my daughter than with my sons. But I'm not that scared of it. Certainly not that I would avoid it. On the other hand, I consider it very important. And also, it is my role to give them some information about this to protect them from misunderstandings or even things that could be dangerous.

And what would you like the children to take from these conversations?

Yeah, I already talked about it with the oldest, the seven-year-old. And I think I spoke to him about it when he was six. I talked to him before about relationships, how it is between a man and a woman, when they have a marriage, for example. Because I think they've already asked that. And they asked how I got together with my wife. And then sometimes the conversation came up on the subject of sex. I try to talk with the children about everything as openly, simply and honestly as possible. Finding simple and easy-to-understand words is challenging, and I'm still learning. When my son was six, I told him openly, but gently in a way that he could understand, that there is such a thing as sex and that the result is children. I'm unsure whether this is the correct age for these conversations. And I think every child is different in this. My son used to ask me such questions, and we got into a situation where I felt it was correct to explain to him how it was. I didn't explain everything to him in detail. I think he is still too young for that.

When you reflect on your childhood, did your father or family talk to you about these topics?

Yeah, I may be coming from the experience of my relationship with my dad, who was very open about it. It was later that I was older. And we had a relationship where we shared many intimate things. But it was good because I had someone I could confide in, who showed me what is and isn't important in life and what is and isn't normal in that life. So I'm happy about that, and I'd like to show my kids that life can be nice and beautiful but that it can also be dangerous or complicated and what you need to watch out for.

Last changed: 09.04.2024