Snuggling, nurturing touch and affection, and gentle caresses are initial ways children begin to understand they are important human beings.
As your child becomes more mobile and verbal, you become his interpreter and teacher as he explores, watches, and attempts to understand the world around him.
Enlargement of the scrotum and testicles, height increases or hair under the arms and pubic area are early signs your son is beginning to change.
Use these concrete signs as a way to introduce the topic of puberty.
Your child, for example, learns what it means to be a girl or boy by watching what girls do, what toys they play with, how they interact with others.
At very young ages youre introducing language and sharing messages about your childs body (if certain parts of the body are avoided thats a message as well) and how to get along with others (social skills).
People who are not familiar with your child will expect her to behave close to her chronological age (how she looks) regardless of developmental age.
If your daughter (who is 12) is hugging people indiscriminately, she is violating the rights of others and jeopardizing her own safety.
Keep in mind that the physical and emotional changes that accompany pubescence (the process of changing) happen gradually over three or four years so preparation can occur slowly over time.
Puberty is a time when your body changes and begins to look more adult-like. Thats one of the changes that helps you know your body is starting to change and look more like an adult. Once your child can anticipate changes and knows these changes are normal and healthy, ongoing teaching about different aspects of puberty can occur over time as things happen.
Be sure to use pictures that help illustrate body changes on the inside and outside and always incorporate social rules that encourage social appropriateness.
Unfortunately in our society we tend to think about sexuality in rather limited, narrow ways.
At the core of healthy sexuality is a sense of feeling valued, loved, lovable and safe and your earliest interactions with your child influence these feelings.Much of this learning lays the foundation for learning about sexuality throughout the lifespan.