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Raising Sexually - Healthy Kids: an Overview

It’s Not Just About “The Talk”

Raising sexually healthy children doesn’t begin - or end - with one conversation about how babies are made.

Sexual development begins at birth. As a parent, your responsibility for raising a sexually healthy child starts when your child is a newborn. How you touch, talk and play with your infant teaches him or her about gender roles and how to express emotion and affection.

By age two, children are ready to learn the correct names for their body parts. By three or four most kids start showing an interest in sexuality: they touch their genitals, “play doctor” and wonder where babies come from.

By the age of eight or nine, children need to know how their bodies will change during puberty. You'll also need to help them understand the basics of sex and reproduction and make sense of misleading media messages about sexuality.

Pre-teens, teens and young adults need help dealing with their sexual feelings, knowing and accepting their sexual orientation and deciding if they’re ready for dating. Youth need to know the qualities of a healthy relationship and the difference between love and infatuation. Teaching your kids ways to be assertive and handle pressure will give them the confidence to make good decisions about sex and build healthy relationships.

 

Helpful Parents Are Approachable Parents

When it comes to teaching kids about sexuality, helpful parents are approachable parents.

Approachable parents:

  • Assure their children that they will answer any question about sex no matter how awkward or uncomfortable the topic might be.
  • Give their children honest answers about sex.
  • Start conversations about sexuality with their children rather than waiting to be asked.
  • Take advantage of situations where they can share their morals and values.
  • Give age-appropriate information, starting with basic information, and then moving on to decision-making, birth control and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Listen to their children and try to understand their points of view.
  • Aren’t afraid to set age-appropriate limits for behaviour, clothing, television viewing and Internet use.

 

Fostering a Sexually Healthy Family

Sexually healthy adults start as children who were raised in sexually healthy families.

In a sexually healthy family:

  • Parents understand that teaching their children about sexuality is as important as teaching them about safety, proper nutrition and acceptable social behaviour.
  • Each member is treated with dignity and respect.
  • Family members can discuss sexual issues in a comfortable and open manner.

Source: Dr. Spock.com

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