Sex education for children: what, how, and when


Every parent strives to be a reliable guide for their child into adulthood. And as the little one grows up, they ask more and more “why?” questions. This question also involves a child’s sexual awareness. For most adults, this topic can be embarrassing, and relying on self-education can lead a child’s life in the wrong direction. In this article, we will discuss aspects of a child’s sexual education at different stages of childhood.

When to start?

Discussions about this topic generate various opinions among parents. Some believe that the issue falls under the taboo during puberty. Others believe that a gradual approach is the key to success in shaping a child’s sexual education, while some let the situation go with the flow due to their own indecisiveness.

Professor Eva Goldfarb of the State University of Moncler (USA) has been studying the field of sexual education for children for three decades. In addition to her research work, the professor’s team makes a significant contribution to the awareness of both teenagers and younger children on this topic.

“Waiting until eighth grade to teach a child mathematical operations would be absurd. The same goes for sexual education,” says Goldfarb. “In elementary school, basic concepts such as personal boundaries, different family structures, healthy friendship, respect for others, and social-emotional skills should be introduced. They are building blocks for more specific discussions in higher grades.”

However, the professor claims that the foundation should be laid not from the school desk, but much earlier. How? We’ll find out more.

What does sex education for preschoolers entail?

Sometimes we hear from different sources that even in preschool, children need to be told where babies come from. This statement is not entirely correct. Indeed, during this period, the principles of sex education for preschool children begin to emerge, which include:

  • Basic information about the anatomical features of boys and girls;
  • Respect for one’s own and others’ personal boundaries;
  • Teaching principles of building healthy interpersonal relationships.

It is extremely important for both parents and educators to approach these conversations positively in order not to cause discomfort to the child. If the child is open to the conversation, the adult should be prepared to answer a series of delicate questions.

Features of sex education for teenagers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a report in the journal Pediatrics on the topic of sex education for teenagers.

As part of a survey of teenagers, they were asked if they received basic knowledge of sex education at home, in school, or elsewhere. Two-thirds of boys and 80% of 18-year-old girls reported talking with their parents about topics such as “how to say no to sex,” STIs, where to get contraceptives, HIV/AIDS prevention, and how to use a condom. Among girls aged 15 to 17, the figure remained at 80%, while among boys, the figure fell to 68%.

Based on these figures, it can be concluded that parents are beginning to recognize the importance of sex education for children. Let’s take a closer look at the truths that are important to include in the issue of sex education for boys and girls.

Sex education principles for girls

When it comes to sex education for teenage girls, it is essential to consider their physiological changes, which are related to the psychological aspect of the issue. The basic principles are as follows:

  • It is necessary to create a comfortable environment so that a girl can equally turn to both her mother and father. She should not feel uncomfortable communicating, especially with her father, as such a psychological barrier can distort her relationship with men.
  • Emphasize the importance of hygiene.
  • Talk about the relevance of visiting a gynecologist. It is important that parents do not “drag” their child to doctor’s appointments by force, but emphasize the relevance of preventing gynecological diseases. It should also be remembered that a doctor can answer a girl’s questions with confidentiality, including about contraception.
  • It is forbidden to reproach a girl for being in love. Children should be taught that feelings are good, but they should be tested by time.

Be prepared for categorical answers and fierce reactions from the girl. To avoid this, it is necessary to confirm the child’s trust, which requires patience.

Principles of sex education for boys

Sexual education for boys is slightly different: it should not be forgotten that boys are endowed with an instinct of protection. Unconsciously, they can show it towards girls. The main aspects of intimate education for young men are based on the following:

  • One should not punish a boy for sexual expressions. Such behavior from parents can leave a serious psychological imprint on the teenager, which can affect his future sexual life.
  • Explain to the boy the principles of the reproductive system. For example, that the appearance of pollutions is a normal sign of a developing male body.
  • Explain the importance of contraception.
  • One should not restrict the young man from going outside. This can lead to social isolation and low self-esteem in the future.

Sex education for children and adolescent boys should be based on personal example. If a boy sees that there is no faithfulness between parents, he may consider this behavior normal and adopt a similar model of behavior, engaging in disorderly sexual intimacy.

We have emphasized the importance of sex education for children of all ages. We hope that the studies we have presented will leave the correct impression on your prejudices, and the barrier in communicating with the child on this topic will be broken.

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