Helping Your School-Age Child Learn About the Body
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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.
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Current as ofMay 4, 2017
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