As a parent, you are the ideal teacher to help your child learn about
sex. Open communication about sexuality helps your child understand his or her
feelings and encourages a positive attitude toward a natural process.
Your explanations should be honest and simple. Because children's
cognitive growth is ongoing, a 6-year-old child often is not able to fully
grasp the details about sexuality that a child who is about to enter puberty
may need to have explained. A good way to gauge children's readiness for
information is to first find out what they think the answer might be to their
own question. Then provide as little or as much information as you think is
needed. Keep your conversations ongoing, so that more sophisticated information
can be given at appropriate times.
Some common behaviors and issues to discuss may include:
Many groups, such as Planned Parenthood or those sponsored by
your local hospital, offer classes that you can attend with your older child
that address sexuality, what to expect during puberty, and similar topics.
Enrolling in such a class may make it easier for you to start an ongoing
dialogue with your child.
This website is sponsored by the Nemours Foundation. It
has a wide range of information about children's health—from allergies and
diseases to normal growth and development (birth to adolescence). This website
offers separate areas for kids, teens, and parents, each providing
age-appropriate information that the child or parent can understand. You can
sign up to get weekly emails about your area of interest.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of American provides
comprehensive reproductive health care and consumer information about family
planning, sexual health, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The Teen Talk Web site (www.plannedparenthood.org/teen-talk) has information for teens about dating, teen pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, how teens can protect themselves against STDs, and more.
May 14, 2013
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
& Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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