This is taken from our Summer 2015 issue. Subscribe here to have the autumn issue and the following three issues delivered direct to your door.
By Dawn Cartwright
Children are naturally Tantric; everything they do, they do with their whole being and are open, adventurous and curious. How do we cater to their purity and innocence to nurture healthy sexual development? Being prepared can help you feel ready, calm and always loving and respectful in your approach.
Infancy, 0-2 Years
A new mother called me recently announcing, “He’s found his hands!”, followed by daily calls announcing new discoveries until one morning she exclaimed, “He has discovered the wonders of his penis!” Infants are curious about their bodies. Create a warm relationship and show them you care deeply. Teach them the correct names of their body parts, including penis and vagina.
Early Childhood, 2-5 Years
The mother of a 3 year old wrote to me concerned about her daughter’s great passion for her own vulva and vagina. Genital stimulation is a normal self-soothing behaviour in children of this age. They may also engage in exploration with children of the same age, ask where babies come from and show curiosity about adult bodies. Be sure there’s a comfortable, safe, secure place in your home where your child can explore. Show respect for your child’s feelings and relationship to their body. Teach them the importance of boundaries and privacy, let them know their body belongs to them and they can say no to unwanted touch. Also talk to your child about feelings, teach them words to describe their feelings and model healthy ways of expressing them in your own life. When asked, share simple, accurate information about where babies come from.
Middle Childhood, 5-8 Years
Another friend recently posted, “Sitting in the ophthalmologist office waiting for the doc to arrive, I find myself pleading with my young son, ‘Please Jack, can we please not talk about farts and butts and penises and nuts?!’” Jokes about body parts and functions are a source of great hilarity at this age. Curiosity about gender and gender roles also heightens. Sex play with same and opposite sex friends may appear. Talk to your child about appropriate times and places for jokes. Be open to answering questions about gender and sexual orientation. Children are also beginning to learn complex relationship skills such as how to focus their attention and calm themselves, so teach them simple ways to relax and focus.
Late Childhood, 9-12 years.
I remember a conversation with my sister when her daughter was 11, “She hates me! There’s a lock on her journal and a ‘KEEP OUT!’ sign on her door.” Understand that privacy and independence become important as puberty begins. Your child may show an interest in having a boyfriend or girlfriend, sexual curiosity grows and your child may seek out sexual information, images and content.
Teach your child that privacy is important and should be respected. Let them know changes like menstruation and ejaculation are normal. Encourage open communication. Talk about the emotions that come along with sexual maturity and relationships. Ask questions rather than give advice, so you learn about your child’s concerns and show confidence in their wisdom. Engage in healthy relationships, self-care and emotional balance in your life so your child learns by observing you.
Dawn Cartwright is a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bioenergetic Tantra fusion. Dawn will teach, ‘Sacred Sexuality, How We Love, 6-Nights of Tantric Bliss’, in the Wicklow Mountains, Sept 25th-Oct 1st, 2015. dawncartwright.com