Doen, Turven of de Waarheid: a weekly calendar that helps parents and children communicate about relationships and sexuality. Through various themes, all family members are invited to express their values and share information. The calendar is placed in the bathroom, ensuring a private and safe place where people can interact with the calendar, while at the same time serving as a means of communication for everyone who uses the bathroom. The content of the calendar steers the communication, keeping it light, fun, and friendly, while at the same time teaching children that they are in charge of their own body.
Discussing relationships and sexuality with children: many parents and guardians find this difficult, if not impossible. But since it is important to do this, various organizations give tips to make it easier to have the conversation. They do not, however, offer an opportunity for those who do not feel comfortable talking about this topic at all. Doen, Turven of de Waarheid helps these parents by creating a place for asynchronous communication. This weekly calendar can be placed in the bathroom, creating a private and safe space for family members to read and think about themes connected to relationships and sexuality. The calendar invites family members to express their values and share information, but even if people do not participate, the calendar enables a form of communication as everyone knows that the rest of the family have read what is on it. In some families, the calendar may serve as a conversation-starter. Parents who do feel comfortable enough to have ‘the’ conversation might still find it difficult to initiate such a conversation. A specific page in the calendar can then function as a reason for doing so.
Each week in the calendar tackles a different theme (e.g. flirting, being sexy, fun and less fun secrets). For each theme, family members are invited to perform a certain activity (‘Doen’), express their values (‘Turven’), and think of ways to deal with possible situations or share the ways they have dealt with a certain type of situation before (‘Waarheid’). For example, in the week about flirting, family members who have a crush on someone are encouraged to give this person a compliment each day of the week (‘Doen’). They are also asked what they consider to be nice ways of flirting (‘Turven’), and the parents/guardians are asked to share their nicest flirting experiences (‘Waarheid’). The top left corner of each page provides an opportunity for children to express their wishes to have a conversation on this theme. The last pages of the calendar give information on the various organizations and websites children and adults can turn to for more information.
Currently, the calendar is aimed at kids aged 9-10 years old and their families. The calendar follows the principles of universal design, making it appealing and useful to children and adults with diverse (e.g. cognitive) abilities. The content of the calendar will be created together with experts in the field of youth and sexuality. Ideally, the calendar would be freely distributed through schools, children’s services (the Dutch ‘consultatiebureau’), and doctors’ surgeries.