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How to handle a young child's curiosity about sexuality?

Q: The other day my seven year old son spent the night at my mother's home. She called me at 2:00 AM in the morning to make me aware that she had woken up with him standing over her, naked. He had pulled off his clothes and straddled her leg and was rubbing his private part back and forth on her leg. When she woke she asked him what was he doing. We are not sure of how to deal with this. Please advise?

A:Your child must have observed a couple having sexual intercourse and must have become curious to see if he could do the same. One does not expect a seven year old to be so overtly imitative of the sexual act and I think your mother must have lost her nerve, to call you at 2.00 AM to report it. There is something called infantile sexuality about which Sigmund Freud (Psychoanalyst) and others have written extensively. Children realise that their private parts can be excited by touching or rubbing. They also realise that there is a lot of secrecy associated with sex and that adults will not answer their questions directly. They watch their parents and others in the home and draw their own conclusions. Little boys (and girls) will often say that when they grow up, they will marry a favourite aunt or a grandmother and have lots of children! It is still the age of innocence. Your story about your son ended rather abruptly. I hope his grandmother did not punish him too severely. It is best not to make too much of it, while also conveying to the child, ones disapproval. Other health aspects to look into would include reducing TV time and monitoring what the child sees. The food he eats should be bland and wholesome. The clothes he wears to sleep must be loose and light. Talk to the child patiently and also listen to him. Everything can be handled with maturity on your part. Let his father also talk to him, assuring him that when he grows up, he can act like a man.

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