Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Parent as teacher

As your child’s sexual curiosity increases, she will turn to you for answers. Whether you welcome this role or not, your responses to her questions (box, above) will reveal not only what you want her to know but your own values and attitudes as well. If you fail to provide answers, she will get them elsewhere; more often than not, she will also get them wrong. In dealing with your child’s inquiries, remember that she is interested in reproduction, not grow-up sexual feelings. It is best to label anatomical parts correctly from the start; changing from the familiar to the formal name later adds unnecessary confusion. Avoid confusing your child, as well, by giving her more information than she asks for. Answer her questions promptly and briefly, and let her ask for repetition or clarification when she is ready. Finally, avoid farming and gardening analogies in your explanations. Children associate eggs and seeds with eating, leading them to imaginative but erroneous jumbles of the digestive and reproductive systems.