Children’s Sexuality in the Early Childhood
- Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
Elementary Education in Theory and Practice
(issn: 2353-7787, eissn: 1896-2327)
Education | early childhood; sexuality; child; family; school | pedagogika | wiek wczesnoszkolny; seksualność; dziecko; rodzina; szkoła
One of the most important determinants of the human personality is sex: the decision to give birth to a boy or a girl is initiated at the moment of fertilization, and during this moment a human being is operating sexually. Sexuality provides one of the many areas of human functionality, one that is impossible to isolate, as it is dependent on and intertwined with the rest. Sexuality exists, no matter which phase of our life we are in, running right through our existence from birth to death. The physical development of the child in early childhood, up to adolescence, is identical for both girls and boys, and only very insightful observations may provide grounds for gender recognition. The sexual development of the child in this phase of life is characterized by changes of physical endowment and in respect of the sexual impulses themselves. However, the conditions under which the mental development of the child occurs, and hence its quantitative and qualitative changes, will, in a way, determine the future adult sexual life of the child. The process of gender identity progresses, albeit at a largely unconscious level. The child assimilates features of the parent of the same sex, of other family members, and of any teacher who may happen to serve as an important role model and example with which the child may identify. Social contacts expand, in particular with representatives of the same sex, and this strengthens the sense of belonging to a gender-specifying reality in one’s early childhood. From that time on, children identify with the forms of play specific to their own gender. Sexual interest in children during the period of early childhood is manifested in daily activities and forms of behaviour, such as masturbation, exhibitionism, being interactive, and being creative. This is a transitional period in the life of each child, and the support of parents, educators, common sense and an understanding of sexual changes in the child during this period will together allow them to safely move into the next phase of adult life. The family will thus have a very great impact on the shape and future of the sexual aspect of things, assisting and supporting those processes, or suppressing and inhibiting them, where this, in turn, is reflected in the quality of the child’s subsequent development. It can be observed that during this period of latency, children are engaged in concentrating their strength, prior to entering upon the difficult period of maturation known as adolescence.