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Touching and Sexuality For Young Children

Updated on August 19, 2016
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Early Childhood Sex Education

The way you relate to your child’s body through both body and words shows your level of comfort with your child and with the private topic of sex. This will set the foundation for your child’s sex education. Both direct and indirect communication has an impact. There are many ways children pick up messages from us and they learn about our feelings toward sexuality through all of our words actions and interactions. Some of the most important early sexual contacts in your child’s life involve things we do not usually think of as sexual. Sex is not just an experience of physical gratification it involves many spheres that begin in the womb. Throughout childhood, children learn to take responsibility for cleaning themselves and in doing so are in a natural situation to communicate about their body parts and their functions. When infants are touched in a loving and appropriate way they learn to touch their own bodies in ways that are healthful. Helping your children become comfortable with their whole functions helps them to be more natural. Communication with small child includes pointing on privates are and why they are considered private. By understanding your children’s sexuality that it is experienced at different ages you are better prepared to guide and reassure them in what they are going through.

Physical Self Touching Infants and Toddlers

The innocence of children is clearly expressed in their behavior. Infants and toddlers will quite naturally touch their privates. As children explore their bodies they find pleasure in touching. Embracing and celebrating a child’s natural spontaneity is the responsibility of every parent. Enjoying your children’s openness and curiosity about all their body parts sends a positive message about themselves and their bodies.

Create respect in children while establishing and enforcing both security and order while they form their identity foundation
Create respect in children while establishing and enforcing both security and order while they form their identity foundation | Source

Emotional Understanding And Identity

Kids know when we are happy to see them. Embracing your children with playful hugs first thing in the morning is quite different from smooching them with a gruff. Creating respect in children for self and others while establishing and enforcing both security and order while they form their identity foundation. Toddlers are not too young to learn the difference between and adult expressions of love. At preschool age kids start understanding slightly more complicated concepts of how their bodies work. You can introduce these to the difference between the reproductive system and the digestive system while also showing them how these systems overlap. Toilet training and bathing provide excellent opportunities talk about their own body parts and of the opposite sex. When things are right in front of you, it is a good opportunity to refer to them by real names and discuss them. Communicating in a positive caring loving and natural way about these issues lets children’s curiosity develop into self-awareness and confidence. If you are feeling a bit uncomfortable with the idea of this talk remember that you can always be playful with this subject try to laugh about bathroom stuff. Kids for some reason never cease to find the words poop and pee hilarious. How children are exposed to touch and hygiene have important effects later in life.

Expected Behaviors of Children in Early Childhood

Expected Behavior
Appropriate Parental Behavior
Aware of male and female differences
Confirm and dicuss what are the differences between boys and girls.
Masturbatory play
Provide positive guidance and explain privacy to children.
Sexual investigation playing doctor
Confirm and discuss appropriate exploration behavior such as we do not touch others privates and they do not touch ours
Gender identification as male or female
Support and provide opportunities for activities.
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Social Interactions And Learning How To Play

Some children have shy temperaments while others are loud and smile a lot. Parent’s responses to their individual personalities influence how they learn to interact with others as they get older. If we frown over our children to show our love for them they may expect others to give them similar attention. Since parental behavior is the measure all things what we permit at home will be repeated at preschool or in the shopping mall as kids test their impact on different audiences. Due to the gender norms of our society, you will notice children play with others begin to take on gender-based differences. Little boys will often choose to play with trucks and rockets while girls may gravitate toward dolls and playing house. Though this sort of self-differentiation is typical parents should allow their toddlers to play with whatever makes them happy even if what they choose is not what you would expect for their gender. When socially determined expectations are strictly maintained at home by the parents it limits a child’s imagination and may lead to self-doubt. Many scientists today claim that excessive television exposure at young ages has negative effects on children’s development. But even if you restrict television viewing it is likely that your toddler will come in contact with daytime television while visiting friends or relatives or while being watched by a nanny. Indiscreet ads appear even during daytime TV adding to rather detailed sex scenes that characterize the afternoon soaps.

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Bodies As Part Of The Bigger Picture

Most children will have formed a sense of what is and what is inappropriate behavior and most will begin kind and loving actions toward others. At the same time, you will observe that things do not always unfold the way children intend it to. Children may know that it is not appropriate to touch their privates in public but may do so unconsciously.As children get older you will notice that they begin asking more sophisticated questions about their own and others' sexuality.
In addition, you may notice that they have begun forming their own words for their body parts as they learn new words from their peers. A positive and supportive conversation using both their own words for body parts and the correct terms con acceptance of this development while also providing guidance. When they are 4 and 5 years old, children will begin asking questions about religious beliefs they have heard in religious friends. Depending on your belief system you may encourage your child's awareness of his or her healthy body as being a product of God's design. What can I expect of my preschooler?

  • Interested in the functions of her or his body parts
  • Not embarrassed about sexual topics.
  • May grasp genitals for comfort when upset
  • Requires boundaries
  • Requires privacy and respect
  • Learns good manners and build trusting relationships.

Do not criticize curious behavior when you want to establish that an act is inappropriate. For example, if your child touches her genitals in public give clear directions or a private signal rather than criticizing or scolding the child. Discuss birth by taking out their baby pictures and ultrasound scans to review pregnancy and the development in the womb. Encourage qualities that strengthen friendships. Teach your child the different values and traditions around the world and that each of the traditions teaches important lessons about life and relationships. Guide your child by discussing what makes good friends and act as a role model so that your kids develop behavior that builds healthy relationships. Discuss discretion with your child. Talk about privacy and establish rules to support the child’s comfort.

Are Cartoons Safe For My Child

You should be aware of the sexual messages your child is exposed to through television. Though your child may not understand exactly what is going on he or she is at an age where everything is unconsciously internalized. Cartoons are not necessarily safe either. An entire genre of adult cartoons has cropped up on television including content that you should be aware of before letting you children view them. Even seemingly benign cartoons often feature excessive displays of violence that children must learn to understand is not acceptable in reality. Though cartoons may not appear potentially harmful to your child’s development without a proper discussion about what the cartoons depict and the difference between television and reality your child will likely implement some of the learning in ways that are not acceptable.

Sex Education for Children

Though moral development is limited in terms of formal instructions from infancy to toddlerhood you will notice that by ages your child has begun actively imitating your behavior in developing a sense of self. This shows that children have naturally started looking for evidence of the difference between right and wrong. It is important to provide examples and reinforce their understanding of your values through clear guidance. For many parents, their own religious beliefs are the basis teaching child important moral lessons. At this age, many children are taught to believe in prayers and saints outstanding individuals whose lives are by values and principles and moral leaders. Parents use these of models to teach belief systems to kids to learn that certain behaviors generate positive consequences.

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