Government policy addresses the “mechanics” of teenage sex and pregnancy but fails to teach children about commitment, the Archbishop of Wales has said.
Young people should be taught that “parenthood is an awesome responsibility that requires both love and self sacrifice from parents committed to the child and to one another”, Dr Barry Morgan said.
Speaking in Llandudno to the governing body of the Church in Wales, Dr Morgan also warned that the needs of children were being disregarded in the pursuit of “excessive individualism”.
He said: “We may all know the real needs of children, but we frequently refuse to recognise that these often come at a personal cost to ourselves and our own needs and desires – be they compromises in our earning capacity or career development, or commitment to and the need to work at a less than ideal relationship.”
Dr Morgan also emphasised the importance of fathers and said parents should be given more help to stay together if their relationships come under strain.
Dr Morgan said schools should not simply inform young people about “the mechanics of a sexual relationship and contraception divorced from the basic concepts of love, responsibility and self-respect”.
The Government recently accepted recommendations supported by an influential sex education lobby for compulsory sex education to begin with children as young as four or five.
Campaigners have pointed out that parents were not adequately consulted before the plans were drawn up.
There are concerns that the lessons will lack moral guidance, simply giving children the impression that underage sexual activity is normal.
The Government came under fire earlier this year after it produced a booklet for parents on talking to their children about sex, which advised that “trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open”.