When do children begin to develop a sexual nature?
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY with Dr. James Dobson
QUESTION: When do children begin to develop a sexual nature? Does this occur suddenly during puberty?
DR. DOBSON: No, it occurs long before puberty. Perhaps the most important concept suggested by Freud was his observation that children are not asexual. He stated that sexual gratification begins in the cradle and is first associated with feeding. Behavior during childhood is influenced considerably by sexual curiosity and interest, although the happy hormones do not take full charge until early adolescence. Thus, it is not uncommon for a four-year-old to be interested in nudity and the sexual apparatus of the opposite sex.
The elementary school years are an important time in the forming of sexual attitudes. Parents should be careful not to express shock and disgust over this kind of curiosity, even though they have to disapprove of exploratory behavior. It is believed that many sexual problems begin as a result of inappropriate training during early childhood.
Dr. Dobson is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80995 (www.focusonthefamily.org). Questions and answers are excerpted from “Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide” and “Bringing Up Boys,” both published by Tyndale House.
COPYRIGHT 2010 JAMES