For example, drop the idea that all boys have penises and all girls have vaginas. The more you know about what your child is seeing and hearing about sex from other sources, the better equipped you are to make sure she knows what you want to tell her. If so, talk with a close friend or family doctor about how you should start. So you'd be wise to prepare yourself for a question or conversation about oral sex, especially since it continues to be a fascinating and perplexing subject for kids in middle and high school. Indeed, many professionals who work with young children now believe that an unusually intense preoccupation with sex may be a tip-off that a child is being sexually abused.
At school, ask the teachers exactly what they're teaching at each grade level. If your child seems extremely preoccupied with sexual play, you should speak to his pediatrician about it. These days heightened concerns about molestation have made a lot of us feel extra jumpy about sexual exploration. So we asked the experts how and when to cover everything from sex and puberty to gender identity and consent. The trick is staying matter-of-fact about it - "knee, shoulder, ear, penis" -- while at the same time indicating that certain parts of the body are not to be messed with by anybody besides your child or you. The candid text is most appropriate for 5- and 6-year-olds, though of course you can always skip a few pages as you go along. When and how do they discuss the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual harassment, and so on? What should I do when my child starts touching himself? Also, point out how progress has been made; for example, with more women working in STEM fields. You may want to explain that kissing another person's private parts is another way of having sex; that even though a girl can't get pregnant this way, it's possible to transmit dangerous diseases through oral sex; and that oral sex, just like the other kind, entails feeling love, commitment, and regard for the person with whom it's performed. Does my child need to know about condoms and sexually transmitted diseases before she's reached puberty? What should I say to my child about masturbation? If you hang in there, the awkwardness and embarrassment that you may experience at first will eventually shift into something else: Pick up the magazines she's looking at. Again, the key word is private. Sometimes the sperm joins with one of the tiny eggs inside the woman's body, and that makes the egg begin growing into a baby. Even before you're put on the spot, you might want to talk with your partner or a friend who has older children about how to word your responses in ways that keep you feeling comfortable and answer your child's immediate concern without adding mechanical specifics that might distress or confuse her. Silverberg recommends saving the more detailed puberty talk until just before your child or those in her peer group start experiencing it. Frequent conversations around healthy relationships are crucial. Most experts in children's behavior think so. Boys may notice the erections of other boys even babies , wonder about their own erections and physical responses, and hear "boner" jokes or other crude references as early as first grade. Would you let your year-old get behind the wheel of a car without learning about the rules of the road, the importance of seat belts and something about how much a broken tail light costs? Silverberg recommends starting with the basics, such as how no one should be touching them without their permission, then revisiting the subject a few days later to gauge what they understood and how they feel. And learning to talk with our kids about our weird bodies and the even weirder things we sometimes choose to do with them actually makes us better at talking about sex with everyone, including our own intimate partners. Caring for Your School-Age Child: Keep a cool head, and don't make the kids feel ashamed or guilty. Keep your explanations as simple and specific to the discussion as you can.
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