There is no doubt that child development is a very complicated process. There are situations in which it is difficult for parents to assess whether a given behavior is still the norm or if it requires intervention. Children’s sexual behavior is of particular concern, but most often it is part of the child’s psychosexual development. What situations should arouse the attention of a parent and when can we talk about excessive interest in sexuality in a child?
Child sexuality – an issue that is often taboo among parents
Manifestations of child sexuality, such as masturbation and child exhibitionism, are a source of concern for most parents, and often embarrassment. In the eyes of society, children have nothing to do with sexuality. This topic is often misunderstood, which can not only lead to a deepening of the child’s problems, but also to sexual dysfunction in later life. Oddly enough, it even happens that experienced pedagogues mistakenly classify the child’s natural behavior as pathology.
Psychologists’ opinions agree: the child is a sexual being!
It is worth asking at the beginning: what is sexuality at all? It is in vain to look for one specific definition that would simply answer this question. Most specialists, however, say that sexuality is an essential element of being human. Most of the society identifies sexuality only with sex and reproduction, but this concept also includes gender identification, identity and sexual orientation or intimacy. Sexuality changes throughout human life, and is influenced by, inter alia, cultural, biological, social or religious factors.
Nowadays, researchers unanimously say: man is a lifelong sexual being. Customs in our culture suggest that the child is asexual, but this is a mistake. Child sexologists point to four different stages of the child’s psychosexual development, and the first sexuality-related behaviors can be observed already in a-few-month-old babies. However, we should remember that children’s sexuality is associated with their cognitive development and try not to look at the behavior of the child through the prism of adult sexuality.
Disorders in the child’s psychosexual development
Exhibitionism or masturbation in children are often perceived by parents as something inappropriate, while these activities are usually aimed at satisfying curiosity. It is worth maintaining common sense, but at the same time watch closely any changes in the behavior of your child. Certainly, anxiety should be caused by excessive interest in sexuality in children, as well as worrying behavior patterns that may indicate disturbances in the child’s psychosexual development.
Read more: Exhibitionism in children
Read more: Infantile and early childhood masturbation
What sexual behavior in children should make parents concerned?
What is particularly worth paying attention to?
- hurting others by using force, humiliation or intimidation;
- self-destructive and compulsive behavior such as instrumental masturbation leading to injuries;
- behavior of persistent nature, such as constantly discussing sexual topics in communication, touching the intimate parts of the body of others, or imitating sexual activities;
- behavior occurring between children who differ in age or physical strength;
- using animals;
- behavior inadequate to the child’s age and stage of development.
If you see your child’s interest in sexuality, the reaction should always be thought out and balanced. Shouting or showing disgust can cause a child to conceal certain activities or even disrupt his development. Instead you should use a calm dialogue and tell your child about cultural and social norms.
Problems with excessive interest in sexuality in children should not be underestimated
A proper relationship between parent and child should be based primarily on conversation. Any disturbing manifestation of sexuality in a child is worth discussing with him, because this behavior can have a serious foundation. Excessive interest in sexuality in children may indicate, among others, the child’s contact with adult material or cases of sexual violence.
Sometimes it is worth asking a specialist for help
Do you observe your child’s behavior that may indicate irregularities in psychosexual development? Or maybe you can’t talk to him about sexuality or you are looking for someone who will dispel your doubts? It is good then to seek advice from an experienced child sexologist who will help solve the problem and at the same time avoid sexual disorders in later life. A child sexologist also provides advice regarding dialogue with a child on subjects that are embarrassing the parent.
Read more: Child Sexologist Warsaw