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Understanding Child
Sexual Development

Child sexual development is part of your child's healthy growth and development.

child sexual development

Your response towards your child's sexual situations and questions heavily influence your child's attitude toward sexuality, and can influence whether your child feels comfortable discussing sexual issues with you into her teen years.

As your child grows and develops... she's learning how to interact with others in a socially acceptable way.

One of the first steps in child sexual development is the process she goes through in developing gender identity; which is the realization that she is either a boy or a girl.

She is also developing an understanding of different types of relationships between people, seeing the difference between the relationship she has with mommy and daddy, as opposed to friends, grandparents etc. These are the basic foundations of how her sexuality develops.

As a parent or caregiver you can influence sexual development indirectly as you interact with children. The manner in which you speak to children, how you cuddle and play with them, affect your child's sexual development.

As children grow, the observations they make about the relationships around them, and the relationships they develop with family members and friends also affect their sexual development.

In early childhood, sexual development includes when your child becomes curious about where babies come from. They may also explore other children's and other adult's bodies out of curiosity.

For some children, genital touching increases, especially when he is tired or upset. At this age of sexual development, masturbation is associated with relaxation and desire but is considered non-sexual if your child doesn't associate it with sex.

Sexual development in your child around age four also includes a sense of modesty about their bodies. They are beginning to develop an understanding about the difference between private behaviour... such as changing, going to the bathroom or showering and public behaviour.

In order to maintain healthy growth and development in terms of sexual development, you need to open the doors of communication early. As children show curiosity, you should explain in simple terms the differences between men and women and explain how babies are made.

Healthy sexual development includes using the correct terms for sexual body parts. You need to learn to talk to your child about these body parts without making him feel like he is doing something bad.

It is also important at this stage of child sexual development to explain to your child that touching his sexual organs is normal, but that is something to be done in privacy. It is also very important to talk with him about his right to privacy, and how to say 'no' to unwanted touching.

As he reaches the school age phase of his sexual development, it is important to discuss sexuality in more depth.

You should explain that people experience sexual pleasure in a number of ways, and that it is normal to have sexual thoughts and fantasies. You should also teach him to be aware of the dangers of sexual predators.

Although the topic of sexual education is controversial, the fact is that there is no stopping the progress of child sexual development, which inevitably leads to puberty and adolescence.

Keeping the lines of communication open allows your child the freedom to develop a healthy sexual identity.

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