“Recently, my husband and I watched a movie in the evening, and he, hugging me, kissed more frankly than usual with a child,” says Irina. “Our three-year-old son, who plays nearby, did not pay much attention to this, but my husband and I then looked at each other, silently asking each other: could we allow such liberties with him?”
With the advent of our child, we begin to break between the role of parents and men and women still loving each other. Modern psychologists agree: it is important for a child to grow up not in a sterile family environment, where adults are only inclined to the child, he needs to see that mom and dad are also dear to each other. Otherwise, children have the feeling that a love relationship is at least something shameful, and maybe even dangerous, since it is so carefully hidden. “If parents sit in an embrace from the very birth of a child, speak gentle words and can kiss each other, the child intuitively begins to treat this as a natural sphere of relationships,” says Gestalt therapist Marina Gumberg. – Over time, asking us questions “about it”, the child not only satisfies his curiosity, but also passes an important way of self-identification.
The harmonious image of the parents helps him to realize his gender identity and develop a model of behavior in accordance with this. ”
We always and in all serve the children as a good example to follow. And if mom and dad demonstrate distance or often conflict with each other, then a child growing up in such an environment will need a lot of strength and fearlessness to break this family scenario and treat the future partner with tenderness and trust.
But where is the face of parental openness that the child should not cross? “A child, of course, should not witness what is happening between you in the bedroom,” says Marina Gumberg. – Yes, it is important for him to know that there are warm, close relations between parents, but it is also necessary to teach children respect for their personal life from an early age. This applies to all family members without exception, including, of course, the child.
From an early age, babies are taught to knock on the closed door of a room, but in the same way you do not break into the nursery without warning. After all, the child also needs its own, inviolable space, and respect for its rights will vividly show how important it is for him in turn to take care of the rest of the parents. ”
At the same time, life, as is known, always introduces unexpected changes in our good intentions. And if it so happened that the baby became your involuntary witness at the most inappropriate time, then it is worth clarifying for him the situation.
It can frighten a small child, and your silence will exacerbate his anxiety, for example, because dad insults mom. “You can explain everything to a tiny kid with a game,” suggests Marina Gumberg. – If the child himself asked you a question, you can honestly answer: “Mom and dad love each other. And they love you too, of course, but in a different way. ”
Most likely, your calm attitude to what happened will satisfy him completely. ”
If at the moment you are embarrassed to discuss this topic – take a time out, but be sure to return to it at a more convenient time.
“We often expect that the possible reaction of our children will be the same as ours at their age,” says Marina Gumberg. – In our childhood, the sexual side of adult relationships was usually closed, and this topic inspired us with shame and awkwardness. And we suspect that our children are necessarily hurt. However, young children have not yet clouded and direct perception, which depends largely on how easily and naturally we ourselves are ready to talk with them on these topics.
This is the case when it is better not to put yourself in the child’s place, but to take a close look at what your baby is experiencing. ”
We are also often concerned with the question of the admissibility of the appearance of the opposite sex naked to the child. Authorities of the “old school”, in particular, supporters of Dr. Spock, warned parents against such liberties.
Any encounter with parental nudity was interpreted almost as an unintended sexual abuse of the psyche of the child. However, the results of research in recent decades are arguing with this statement.
Denis Smith and William Spark, studying the effects of nudity on the example of many families, wrote about this book “Naked child. Education without inferiority. “
It shows how naturally children relate to nudity, while excessive puritanism, which denies the exposure of the body, has a negative effect not only on the sexual, but often the mental development of the child.
“You should never go against yourself: act as it is organic for your family,” says Marina Gumberg. – If you are really uncomfortable with the fact that the child can see the parent of the opposite sex naked, then whatever the most authoritative and reputable sources write, try to avoid these situations. Everything must be primarily natural.
However, if it so happened that the baby found you without clothes, you should not dramatize what happened and defiantly slam the door. If you and your partner have a calm attitude towards nudity, then it will be passed on to the child. After all, for the baby your opinion is now the most important.
And if the father does not feel embarrassed and he goes into the shower with his little daughter, then the child also perceives this situation as completely normal. ”
How to answer questions about sex?
“Recently my pregnant friend came to visit us, and her daughter asked her a lot about the baby in her stomach,” says Olga, the mother of four-year-old Masha. – When a friend left, Masha asked me: “Tell me about your stomach!” How did you and dad agree that it would be me and not the other girl? ”At that moment I was confused – where to start?
Masha came to us unexpectedly. I remembered how worried when I learned that I was pregnant.
Masha’s dad was not yet my husband, but I firmly decided that I would leave the baby. Of course, I would not lay out all these details to the child, but my daughter’s questions made me remember that exciting time for me. ”
“Inconvenient” children’s questions often lead us to a standstill, not because we are embarrassed to answer them, but rather because we simply don’t know how to choose the words, says Marina Gumberg. “After asking about love, sex and gender relations, the child is interested in the fact that we, adults, are not always able to clearly explain to ourselves”. How detailed is the answer to the questions and, most importantly, how can we stick naturally if, deep down, we are not ready to talk with the child on such delicate topics?
Psychologists are advised not to wait for a special moment when you sit down with him and begin a prepared story. It is quite enough if you do not ignore children’s questions, however, you give out information in small portions. Briefly tell exactly what the child asked you.
So gradually, you will learn to talk about it without embarrassment, find a convenient way of presentation, moving from simple to complex.
- Refusing to answer the question: “But it’s too early for you to know about it,” and even more so to arrange an interrogation: “Who told you this? Never repeat such things. ” The interest of the child must always be satisfied. If you are embarrassed to talk about something at the moment, say that you have forgotten it and you need to read about it in the book. Take time out, but be honest and be sure to return to the question.
- To equip the conversation with a special intonation, speak more quietly or smile mysteriously, that is, introduce your emotions that are incomprehensible to the child. For a child, this topic immediately loses its naturalness and gains tension. Children sensitively read our non-verbal signals and receive their message: “Parents are afraid of this or hide something.” And they begin to implicitly perceive it as something unsafe. Of course, with age, children themselves will understand everything, but their attitude to love and bodily pleasure on an unconscious level develops in childhood.
- Embark on a very detailed explanation. The child is not able to focus on a long time, so you should not tire and confuse him with additional information – it is better to keep to a strictly asked question.
- Ask the child to repeat everything said. This is not a penmanship lesson, but a confidential conversation of close people. It is important to end the conversation so that the baby feels free and is still ready to contact you with new questions.
Katerina Janusz, Mervi Lindman. “How I was born.” Age: 3–6 years.
Katerina Janusz is a Swedish writer and journalist, a mother of five children, whose questions and her herself were at a standstill at one time. For them, in the first place, this book was intended. How does the baby live in the mother’s belly for nine months?
How does a child know when to be born? This book is a journey into the mysteries of life, especially fascinating thanks to the cheerful and understandable kids’ illustrations by the Finnish artist Mervi Lindman.
Doris Rübel “Where do children come from?”. Age: 4–7 years old.
The book by the German writer Doris Ruebel truthfully and at the same time answers the baby to this question. She also helps parents who are waiting for an addition to the family and want to tell their future elder brother or sister how the new baby will come to the family.
George Yudin “The main wonder of the world.” Age: 6–10 years old.
The book of the writer and artist Georgy Yudin is read as a fascinating adventure story, built in the form of a dialogue between father and son. The main character here is a person who becomes the main wonder of the world.
First, he must hear a true story from you, because in the presentation of his peers the story often takes on a distorted look and can injure a child. Secondly, it is important for the baby that the information becomes more complicated gradually as it grows. So it will fit into him in a coherent system, which is easy to perceive, and mum and dad are always willing to clarify all the complicated questions.
If one day you sit down the child and bring down the whole truth about the difference between the sexes and the intricacies of the birth of a new life, then the new information may be excessive and even painful for him. After all, a silent child by nature, who did not torture his parents with questions, could nevertheless dream and build his own versions.
The kid explores his body enthusiastically and begins to notice that the brother, sister or friend of the games are different. It is important to explain to him the differences between boys and girls, but without going into details – why nature intended it this way.
Introduce the children to the specific names of the genitals: in boys, this “tap” is called the penis, in girls, this part of the body is a vagina. Yes, in everyday life, you can still give names to intimate organs and names that are more understandable to the baby, but it is important that he knows that they have their own names.
In the future, when you need to explain more complicated things to your child, these words will be heard to him and you will not confuse him with the fact that, it turns out, everything is called differently from the way he used to
At the same age, a child for the first time asks the question: “Where did I come from mother and father?”. No need to provide him with false information, telling tales about the cabbage, and especially the purchase in the store. The last explanation especially often confuses children. The kid himself is in the store, and he has legitimate questions: “And if they hadn’t found me on the shelf or chosen another boy or girl?” He thinks with apprehension.
Getting a fabulous story of his birth, the child begins to live with this thought, and a new, drastically modified version may confuse him or seem overly rude.
Without going into the anatomical details, tell him that he came from his mother’s and father’s cells, which connected, and his mother wore him in the tummy. He was loved and waited. For such a story, you can resort to using children’s picture books that truly reflect the state of things.
The child is very important to understand the sequence of what is happening: first, mom and dad met and fell in love with each other, and then they had a baby, their favorite baby. Feel free to tell him about your feelings.
He should be aware from the very beginning that this was the beginning of his life, and not from purchases, gifts from a stork, or unexpected finds from a vegetable garden.
Children are more and more interested in the difference between the sexes, and they often start to play “doctor”. Do not be frightened and immediately pull them up, but if they unnecessarily invade the intimate sphere, for example, start showing each other sexual organs, try to delicately change the scenario of the game, while explaining to the children that there is nothing wrong in undressing, but educated people do not. Just as they do not pick their nose and do not spit at each other.
At the same age, we, parents, stumble over the fact that children begin to call names to each other, and sometimes older family members, with indecent words: “you ass, you pipiska”. It sometimes unpleasantly affects us. “A child from birth is a sexual being, capable of enjoying touch and sucking,” reminds Marina Humberg. – And speaking or depicting objects of his curiosity, he is not so much trying to offend someone, how many finds the output of his sexual energy. As is the case with the game of doctor, do not be ashamed of children immediately – their interest is natural.
It is important to explain that it is very ugly to throw such words around. ”
Children also become more attentive to what is happening around and throw us questions: “Why do aunt and uncle kiss?” And “What are two funny cats doing there?” Be true. Yes, people kiss and hug, because they love each other.
As for the “funny cats”, then, without going into details, say that they also love each other, but in a different way. After all, animals are different from people. Later cats will have kittens.
Most likely, the child’s curiosity on this will be exhausted – at this age they are not interested in finding out how it happens in detail. Answer the child briefly and strictly to the question asked, without trying to run ahead. Let him get a small amount of truthful information and new food for further reflection.
Deepen the topic is only if you immediately received a counter question. But here it is important not to deviate from what interests the child at the moment.