The stereotypes in these questions are the best proof that they are not accidental or an expression of a child’s whim. At a certain stage of intellectual development, every child begins to be interested in the basic facts of human sexuality. Most educators still react incorrectly to these questions by denying the child an answer and telling him a fairy tale.
Many parents are carried away by the illusion that the issue of sexual information for children is resolved on its own, so it should not be given special importance. Parents justify their unnatural reaction to children’s questions about sexual facts by claiming that they have been taught this information from an earlier age.
A child is exposed to a certain danger if he is completely left to the factors of sexual education that escape the supervision of the educator. Isn’t it better and more appropriate to talk openly with a child about sexual issues, than to connect his first knowledge of sexual life with lurking pornography?
There are parents who justify their negative attitude towards children’s issues of sexuality by fears that the child will try to test in practice what he has theoretically learned. It is true that children largely identify with their parents and that is why they should keep their sex life in strict intimacy. But another thing is the child’s rational knowledge: it does not motivate him to take action.
All the justifications of parents towards children’s questions about the essence of sexuality are in fact only attempts to justify in a rational way a reaction that has a completely affective motive. The way parents react to such children’s questions stems from their emotionality, not from the logical spheres of their consciousness.
Many people carry within them, consciously or unconsciously, a negative emotional attitude towards sexuality that is rooted in childhood. The belief that sexuality is something that should not be talked about in public is instilled in all adults. People who do not manage their sexual life themselves, but are burdened with a series of prejudices, disappointments, and conflict situations, are particularly prone to a negative attitude towards children’s sexual issues.
The most significant consequence of parents’ ‘refusal to give their children a realistic lesson about sexuality is the loss of the child’s trust in educators’. If he experiences the repulsive attitude of his parents several times when he shows an interest in learning about sexuality, he will no longer address them in these matters. A parent who tells his child sexual fairy tales for years or denies him an answer deprives himself of the opportunity to direct the sexual behavior of a young man when it is most needed.
The first questions about sexuality that a child regularly asks in preschool are so simple that any parent can answer them. Opinions are sometimes heard that basic knowledge about sexuality should be given to children by experts. In addition, it is very useful for the child’s first knowledge of sexuality to be enveloped in an atmosphere of emotional intimacy that a stranger cannot create for a child.
In principle, it is secondary to the gender of the parent or other educator who provides the child with sexual information. However, there are some problems that will be easier to deal with a child of the same sex than the opposite sex. It all depends on what the child’s contact is with one or the other parent.
You should not worry in the slightest that a child becomes interested in sexual problems sooner or later than average. In any case, you should initially remain passive and wait for the child to start asking questions. In the later development of the child, educators will be more active in this, and will warn the child about some properties of human sexuality. But that is already more the task of the school than the family.
In pre-adolescence, the child is mainly interested only in the genital component of sexuality. In further development, there is an interest in more and more details in the process of fertilization, pregnancy, and childbirth. Many of these questions will not be asked spontaneously by the child, but must be actively taught about them. How much a child will go into detail depends on the extent to which adults encourage them to engage in intellectual activity.
In the preubertal period, ie between 10 and 13 years, the child begins to be interested in the affective side of sexual life. It already connects the notion of emotional satisfaction, emotional connection, sexual love and marriage with the sexual relationship of parents and the birth of children, although these notions are accessible only in rough outlines. The educator is given the opportunity to answer the child’s question: Why did mom and dad get married? What does it mean to be in love?
By responding to different situations, educators can gradually accustom children to associating the notion of gender with respect, cooperation, understanding, and love.
At the threshold of puberty, preferably before significant changes have occurred in the child’s appearance, children should be prepared for the events characteristic of puberty. The child should be told the essence of this period in his development, and the girl should be taught hygienic behavior during menstruation to prepare her for the various changes in her body that await her.
With the progress of puberty and in adolescence, the psychological and social problems of sexual life should be discussed more and more with the youth. It is equally important to help young people better understand the motives of their sexual behavior and to notice physiological differences between the sexes. Here it is impossible to list all the topics that come to mind, because young people should be given the most complete and comprehensive insight into the issues of human sexuality.
Sexual shyness is not innate in man, but is instilled in him by upbringing and customs of life. The degree and form of sexual shyness are very different in different settings. It is desirable for the child to accept those forms and that intensity of sexual shame which his environment considers normal; yet sexual sexuality must not restrain man’s sexuality, nor mutilate it. In positive sex education, children should be taught how to use their sexuality without affective conflicts within themselves, without being its slaves but modern masters.
Even a small child shows a desire to see other people naked sometimes. Children of the same or different sex should not be prevented from undressing in front of each other. If he is given the opportunity to do so in a discreet way, he will soon satisfy his natural curiosity and will no longer pay attention to it.
If we allow a child to satisfy his need for knowledge in a natural way, then it soon ceases to interest him because new questions arise that require an answer. When we make something a secret, the child begins to overestimate it, his interest grows beyond normal strength, and he focuses much more on that object.