Many people find out early on whether they are attracted to the same or opposite gender, but it is also normal to spend some time exploring your sexual identity.
Create a safe and open environment and acknowledge and support children and young people who wish to speak about their own gender awareness or orientation. Children are most afraid of rejection.
Children rely on safe adults who can support a healthy sexuality. They need adults who can be happy for them and their sexual development, while also being able to regulate and correct behaviour if it turns violating.
Illustration: Jens A. Larsen Aas
Listen to a read-aloud version of the text on this page
Adults and their responsibility in children’s sexual development
«Children rely on safe adults who can support a healthy sexuality. They need adults who can be happy for them and their sexual development, while also being able to regulate and correct behaviour if it turns violating.»
- THE TRAFFIC LIGHT
Read a transcript of the audio recording
“If adults can handle speaking to children about sexuality, we signal to them that it’s okay to talk about. Providing children and young people with this understanding will also be good for them in the long run. Now, say we shun sexuality instead of talk about it. Say we minimize the issue instead of facing it head on. What signals would we be sending? We would be telling children this isn’t a subject we are supposed to talk about.
The thing is, talking about sex with a child, adolescent, or your own children can feel a bit awkward. Many parents don’t know what to say. I think conveying to the children that it is alright to talk about sexuality is incredibly important, and makes it easier for them to approach the subject as well. This is really good for people who experience bad things, like their boundaries being violated and exploited, or acquiescing to things that are not okay. Having the positive experience of being able to talk about it means they can tell an adult and receive help. If surrounding adults had shunned the subject, it might have been a lot harder to do this, but I am only thinking out loud.”