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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 organizations, 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.
May 16, 2011
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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