Did you know kids as young as 7 months might begin to explore their bodies? Including what most consider to be “private parts”.
Sexual development happens alongside ALL development-it isn’t separate! This includes cognitive, language, motor, social, emotional, and sexual development.
Our kiddos with developmental delays may have no delays in sexual development, but delays in social skills and communication that can lead to problematic situations even within “typical” scenarios for kids their age. For example, knowing when it’s appropriate to be naked and/or touch oneself and when it’s not. When others are ok with touch and when they aren’t. If someone is touching or interacting with them in a way that they aren’t comfortable with, but don’t have the self-advocacy skills to say “no” or report the problem.
This is why it’s EXTRAORDINARILY important to start having open, compassionate conversations very early.
Helping kids learning about their bodies.
What is public vs. private
What is appropriate and what is not (or when/where it’s appropriate)
Correctly naming ALL body parts, not just head, shoulders, knees and toes 😆
Actively and consistently discussing information and scenarios and empowering kids that their bodies are theirs. Includes hygiene, mental and physical health and well-being, as well as sexuality.
Setting boundaries for YOUR body. It’s ok not to want to hug, cuddle, be hanged on, etc. Clearly and kindly set those boundaries and try to find compromise. This models self-advocacy and boundary setting.
On to a COMPLETELY different topic
Who are YOU?
I’m talking adjectives, NOT who you are to other people.
Who are you when no one else is involved?
What defines YOU?
What are your describing words?
Not mom, partner, child, friend, etc…
Not who you are in relation to other people
What makes you happy? Big or small?
What makes you, YOU?
This is important because as caregivers…we sometimes lose our own identity.
That loss can lead to anxiety, depression, isolation, just feeling lost and empty.
These aren’t the feelings we want to constantly experience, right?
So please take some time to think about who YOU are.
How can you be that person again, even just for little bits of time?
How can you do it consistently?
Set a SMART goal for yourself!
Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time based
I am going to ride a horse for 30 minutes every week for the next 3 months.
*This is something that relieves stress for me, it makes me happy, it keeps me moving, gets me outside-all important things for me.
I am going to volunteer for 2 hours per month for this year.
*this could be relevant to someone who enjoys giving back and staying active in their community!
I am going to read one book every other month for a total of 6 books this coming year.
Join my private FB group here, Empowered Parents, so you have an opportunity to be included in the conversation! I specialize in coaching neurodiverse families with assent-based, neurodivergent-affirming support. We focus on making sure your child's needs are met while building/strengthening the parent-child bond and caregiver well-being. I use my background as a BCBA and special education teacher to collaborate with you and empower you! I run the group and interact with members to answer questions and offer support!
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