Children and sexuality
Opportunities for sexuality education span across the lifetime. An important population to consider providing education to is parents of younger children. Advantages of parents providing sex education is that they are able to make the most of teachable moments and teach the family values related to sexuality (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2010). However in order for parents to do this, they must be able to recognize young children as sexual beings. Fortunately, great resources are available on the web so parents can have access to quality knowledge even when a sex educator cannot be physically present for the conversation.
Last semester I went to a workshop on talking to children about sex hosted by Planned Parenthood of DE (PPDE). I saw great teaching methods used there and am going to share them along with information that can be useful to parents.
Understanding sexuality in children – Here is a link to sexual milestones in children a way to educate parents. If providing education in person, one could consider having milestones on individual cards and having parents match the milestone to the correct age (like a timeline).
Making the most of teachable moments – While parents may not schedule sex talks with young children, they should be able to answer sex questions if they come up. Here is a resource that offers suggestions for making the most of those teachable moments. If doing this is person, parents could practice by being given a scenario and role playing the response with a partner.
Know your family’s values – parents are in a positive to teach about sexuality from a point that fits within the family’s values, not societal values. This will require the parent(s) to really think about what is important to them and how they wish to convey that message to their offspring. To help parents think through their values two very different cultures and their view on sexuality could be given to help parents figure out how they fall on the spectrum.