Many factors are effective in sexual development. In order of priority, we can evaluate as follows:
- Biological Factors: Biological development begins in the womb. Gender-related chromosomes and biological structures begin to form and develop in the womb. Being a boy or a girl is a decisive and important stage.
- Environmental Factors: After the baby is born with his/her own gender, he/she first acquires the role and behaviour patterns appropriate for his/her gender from his/her family, which is his/her closest environment. Parents play a very important role in the development of the gender role and sexual development. Families are very effective in sexual development in order for the child to exhibit appropriate behaviours, thoughts and emotions in the social field.
- Sociocultural Factors: It can be effective in sexual development in areas where children can act more independently from the family as they grow up. It has an impact on friend relationships, television programs, social media and school sexual development.
Sexual development is very important in the first infancy stage. During this period, babies discover their own bodies. Rather, his/her perception of his/her own body begins and continues by touching himself/herself. As babies touch themselves, they discover different limbs; arms, legs, hair. Thanks to these discoveries, his/her feelings and feelings about his/her gender begin to form. Babies discover their genitals and as they grow older, they begin to discover and adopt gender-appropriate games, toys, and clothing.
Periodic Issues: During this period, it is necessary not to be an obstacle by being uncomfortable with the baby’s discovery about touch. It is a problem to be uncomfortable with the child touching his/her own body and to exhibit a preventive attitude. Trying to prevent the baby from contacting its mother and not breastfeeding the baby are situations that may cause problems in this period.
First Childhood Period: It is the period of time between the ages of 2 and 6 when the infancy period ends and the first childhood period begins. In the first childhood, that is, as of the age of 3, children can recognize their own gender and gain awareness. Models behaviours appropriate to his/her gender role and chooses to play with toys appropriate to his/her sexual identity when playing games. Children make discoveries by asking questions instead of touching during this period. They explore by asking and implementing everything. He/she may wonder about his/her friend’s genitals and try to recognize the opposite sex. He/she can dream of marriage with his/her opposite sex parent. For example, a 5-year-old girl can say “I will marry my father when I grow up”. He asks questions to understand the gender difference between boys and girls and reflects this situation in his games during this period.
Seasonal Issues: The biggest problem that may occur during this period is that the families give answers to the questions asked by the children by entering into incomplete or more, namely unnecessary details. These questions should be clear and short answers. Sexual questions: should not go beyond satisfying the child’s curiosity about a simple object. Preventing the questions they ask, silencing and condemning the child are among the problems of this period. It can be difficult to exaggerate a lot when cleaning toilets. It is necessary to clean the sexual organs of children without touching them too much. The development of privacy and body autonomy should be dressed in underwear while bathing.
Secondary Childhood: This period covers the period between 6 and 12 years. Since the first childhood period ends, there are differences in children in this period. Gender difference, gender identity and roles appropriate to identity have been determined. This is the stage where primary education begins. Boys constantly gain social skills by establishing games with their own gender and girls with their own gender. They spend more of their energy building social relationships. Interest in sexual issues decreases, school learning and group games become active. Later in the secondary period, interest in sexual issues decreases and issues related to sexuality are expressed less as moral development begins to mature.
Temporary Issues: Addressing the child as my beloved, my love, kissing the children on the lips, sending sexually explicit messages, undressing in front of the child, not respecting privacy are the main problems. The child should not be allowed in the bathroom, he/she should be taught that he/she can wash himself/herself. Children should be able to wash themselves by the age of 7 and should be able to clean toilets by the age of 5-6. During this period, the child may be insecure when intervened too much.
The information on this page has been prepared by the Moodist Psychiatry and Neurology Hospital Medical Team.