Thursday, October 4, 2012

Curiosity and Privacy of a Child

As you strive for a balance between society’s sexual norms and your youngster’s natural curiosity, make sure not to shame or punish childish exploration. When your child innocently touches himself of plays with his genitals in public, try to distract him with a game or a story. Then matter-of-factly explain that touching his pensis is private – something not done in public. When sex play involves other children, the situation becomes more complicated and emotionally charged. Few parents remain composed upon discovering their three-year-old son playing doctor with the little girl next door. While shaming would be purely destructive, you should not allow this type of play to continue, either. Children’s curiosity is basically harmless, but youngsters also sense that this approach to uncovering mysteries is improper, and their explorations are mingled with anxiety and discomfort. They will be secretly grateful when you suggest that they get dressed and switch to a different game.

 Explain that while it is natural for them to be curious, you would prefer that they seek answers from you. Children are curious about adults, too. But at an early age they are not emotionally prepared to handle excessive exposure to adult nudity and sexuality. While an occasional glimpse of unclad parents is not cause for concern, frequent exposure to parental nudity is disturbing for young children, who may find the experience secretly exciting and feel guilty about their reactions. Take particular care that your child does not interrupt sexual intercourse. Children are likely to misinterpret it as physical or verbal violence and conclude that their parents are hurting each other.

If you do forget to lock your bedroom door, do not punish your child’s curiosity. Instead, ask that he leave the room while you get dressed, then sit down with him and respond to any concern he may show. You may wish to explain that sexual relations are so private that not even members of the same family are allowed to share in them. The respect for sexual privacy should be mutual. As you child approaches school age, he is apt to become suddenly modest and to show his own desire for privacy while dressing and bathing. Whenever such feeling develop, honor them matter-of-factly and accept them as once more sign of your child’s progress toward sexual maturity.