Date: October 07, 2019
“It’s often said that there is no handbook for raising kids. Such is even truer when it comes to a child’s sexual behavior and development.
Though sex education, in general, has improved in some schools, psychologist Toni Cavanagh Johnson says in her book Understanding Children’s Sexual Behaviors that most schools still just instruct about “plumbing.” My impression is a bit worse.
Over the years, my college students say that sex education for kids is more like a horror movie: what diseases look like and why not to engage in any sexual behavior. When I ask my students if they were ever taught about healthy sexuality or positive sex, they look at me puzzled. In my 16 years of teaching, only one student said they learned about sex in a positive way.
Yet in a study published by CQ Researcher showed that when kids were told the truth about sexuality and were taught about healthy sex, choices, and boundaries, sexual activity among high school kids dropped by 40%, and those that did choose to engage made much smarter and careful choices.
I understand that some parents may cringe when they hear the words child and sexuality put together; however, Cavanagh Johnson notes that such sexual development starts under three, and how parents handle these stages is critical: 3 and under, 4-9 years, and 10-12 years.
So often, parents think that only older kids become interested in each other during adolescence and that having interest when kids are younger is a sign that something is wrong. This is not true. For example, a book I used with my own children It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families was extremely helpful in helping my kids in an age appropriate way to understand how the body works, reproduces, and what a girl and boy can expect when reaching puberty.”