"Where do babies come from?": barriers to early sexuality communication between parents and young children

Stone, Nicole, Ingham, Roger and Gibbins, Katie (2012) "Where do babies come from?": barriers to early sexuality communication between parents and young children. Sex Education Sexuality Society and Learning, 13, (2), 228-240. (doi:10.1080/14681811.2012.737776).


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“Where do babies come from?”. “Why do boys have willies?”. “What does gay mean?”. Probably all parents have faced such ‘innocent’ questions from young children, and many have found them challenging to answer. Access to sexuality education at an early age is frequently considered controversial; however, there are strong indications that early and open communication can impact positively in terms of sexual safety and outcomes. Using focus groups discussions with parents of 3-7 years olds in the UK, this study explores some of the challenges parents report in dealing with early sexual socialisation as well as the reasons they cite for restricting young children’s sexual awareness and access to knowledge. Thematic analysis revealed a number of barriers to communication: the need to protect childhood ‘innocence’, suitable timing and age appropriateness of explanations, personal discomfort, and fear of criticism and judgement.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/14681811.2012.737776
ISSNs: 1468-1811 (print)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Psychology > Human Wellbeing
ePrint ID: 343485
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
September 2012In press
5 November 2012Published
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 15:18
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:35
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/343485

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