Many parents find normal sex behavior and development confusing. Parents often wonder if their child’s sexual behavior is normal. Certified sex therapist Dr. Tina Sellers talks about parenting and sexual health and give parents a better understanding of “what to expect and when” in terms of their child’s sexual development.
Resources for Shameless parenting
In her newest book, Dr. Tina’s goal is to help parents or caregivers foster healthy sexual choices and attitudes in their children. She believes comprehensive sex education is the best way to protect children when they get involved with sex later, to make safe sexual choices, to lower teen pregnancy rate, to lower STI rates, etc. The book was made to be a handout that doctors, teachers, parents, therapists, and other educators could easily use and refer to when dealing with sexual developments in young children.
Moreover, since shame is one of the things that could get in the way for parents to become the best sex educator that they wanted to be, Dr. Tina also emphasizes ways to soothe the self and heal from that, along with streamlined resources and websites that could effectively help overcome that shame.
Sexual Development in children
It is critical for parents and caregivers to get a greater understanding around sexual development and behaviors in children. Dr. Tina’s book was developed in hopes of creating a better understanding of these developments. It can be difficult to recognize that, like adults, children are sexual beings. Children will be curious about sex, sexuality, and the human body. The book can serve as cheat sheets for parents to get some general information on common and uncommon behaviors based on age groups. Parents can also find suggestions for conversations that parents can have with their children to help encourage healthy sexual development.
Normalizing sexual behaviors
Healing comes from knowing that there are sexual behaviors that are normal in children and that shame was never an appropriate feeling. Kids will do what kids will do from harmless curiosity. The evolving sexuality that we have is always beautiful and creative, and the fact that the society that we live in has just never gotten it right is tragic. Wrong notions and misinformation can crush a child’s developing sexuality and can get traumatized with profound effects.
Managing reactivity for parents
It is important to ask your kids questions and listen very carefully to what they have to say about what’s going on in their world. It can be scary for parents to get sort of a bird’s eye view of what the world is like for their kids but not knowing will not be helpful either. Parents need to learn to manage reactivity within themselves.
Joining a parents’ group where you can start talking to each other about what it is like for you or just having a place to talk through your own reactivity and your own fear can be helpful. Know that your kids need your calm presence and just knowing that you got their back no matter what. Parents need to be conscious of their reactions because kids could easily pick it up as shaming or judging.
Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD has had a distinguished career as a marriage and family therapist, medical family therapist, and certified sex therapist. She is also a professor, researcher, author, and speaker. She has won numerous awards and been featured on radio, TV, and podcasts. As the founder and Medical Director of the Northwest Institute on Intimacy, and the community group ThankGodForSex.org she speaks to audiences across the country about the difference sexual health and sexual health training can make for the individual and professional.
Her award-winning book, Sex, God, and the Conservative Church – Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy reveals the devastation caused by sexual shame in the wake of the purity and abstinence-only movements and reveals the path to healing for both clinician and client. When not speaking and writing, you will find Tina delighting in her year-old granddaughter!
Resources and links:
- Instagram: @drtinashameless
Affiliate links to books:
- Sex, God, and the Conservative Church – Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy – https://amzn.to/2H2vTVV
- From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children – From Infancy to Middle School – https://amzn.to/2Ew4oCi
- Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
- The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com
- The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
- Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com
- Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass