Q&A: Teaching young children about sexuality

Question:

I recently discovered my pre-schooler playing “doctor” with a neighbourhood friend. I’ve always thought this kind of thing was innocent and normal in very young children, but when I found my own child involved, I felt uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say. Should I be concerned?

Answer: If you’re modelling healthy attitudes toward sexuality at home, there’s probably no reason to be overly concerned. Because sexuality is a central part of life, it’s only natural for children to want to know about it. This is why it’s important to take the initiative to teach your children about sex in your own way and on your own terms – otherwise, they’re probably going to learn about it somewhere else, and there’s no guarantee the information they pick up will be accurate or healthy. 

That said, while curiosity is normal and should be expected, sexual touch is a more serious matter. Complications can occur when the game of “doctor” involves this kind of touching, and for this reason, it should not be condoned or ignored. If this behaviour was a part of the play you observed, you should talk with the parents of the other child and see what can be done to prevent it from happening again. Be careful not to shame your child, and remember that punishment isn’t appropriate in this situation. Again, the best solution is simply to stay current with good sex education in the home and enforce healthy personal boundaries.

If you still have questions or concerns about the significance of this incident, you can reach our Family Support Services at 03-3310 0792 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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