"You Want Me to Talk to Children about What?"
YOUNG CHILDREN | JULY 2011
"You Want Me to Talk to Children about What?": Responding to the Subject of Sexuality Development in Young Children
Mary Sciaraffa and Theresa Randolph
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This article was selected as a 2012 Gold Excel Award winner by Association Media & Publishing. Learn more here.
The toddler classroom is quiet and soft music plays in the background. Most of the children are already asleep. Sarah notices one child lying on her stomach with a pillow between her knees. Sarah is not sure, but the child appears to be using the pillow for self-pleasuring.
It is not uncommon for a teacher to be shocked or embarrassed when a young child engages in self-pleasuring, sensual activities during rest time. The teacher’s reaction sends societal messages to the child about the behavior. Fraiberg states, “The child who discovers that his genitals give him good feelings but arouse disgust or horror in a loved person, mother or father, may come to feel that such feelings are bad, that his body is bad and that he, as a person, is bad” (1996, 195). Many teachers don’t know how to react to children’s sexual behaviors or questions... continue reading
About the Authors
Mary Sciaraffa, PhD, CFLE, is an assistant professor of child and family studies and the director of the Early Childhood Lab at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. These roles allow her to model putting theory to practice on a daily basis with children and adults. firstname.lastname@example.org
Theresa Randolph, BS, is a program coordinator of the Classroom on Wheels for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. She provides classes at Truckee Meadows Community College and community-based trainings on sexuality development in young children. email@example.com
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