All children are curious about sex. The more children know about their own sexuality, the less likely it is that others will take advantage of them because of their lack of knowledge.
Having ongoing conversations with children and teens about their own developing sexuality is an important part of sexual abuse prevention. Early messages that sex and sexuality are shameful or not to be discussed can lead to children keeping secrets about sexual touching.
Here are some key reasons why healthy sexuality education should be an important part of your safety plan:
- Communicating your willingness to discuss sexual issues with your child or teen lets them know that they can turn to you when they feel confused or have questions.
- By feeling safe to speak with you about sex and sexuality, children and teens are more likely to tell you if they have been harmed, or if they have engaged in troubling behaviors.
- Encouraging your children to speak openly with you about sexual concerns helps counteract the secrecy needed to hide sexually abusive behaviors.
- Healthy sexuality education makes it more likely that children will understand when they need help, and more likely that they will go ahead and seek that help from an adult.
- Discussions help define safe social, physical and sexual boundaries for children who might be confused or otherwise act in inappropriate or harmful ways.
- You can show your child or teen that they can rely on you for accurate information. Living in a culture where we are all exposed to confusing and misleading sexual imagery and information makes this particularly important.
- Holding honest and respectful discussions about sexual issues gives you the opportunity to impart your values to your children.
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