This entry identifies common adult misunderstandings about childhood sexuality and the consequent inadequacy of most children’s learnings about sexuality. It describes the psychosocial, cognitive, and sexual stages of development and the five universal needs of children as they grow toward sexually healthy adolescence and adulthood: affirmation; information; clarity about values; limit‐setting; and anticipatory guidance. It provides a variety of specific recommendations to assist adults in establishing the open and honest communication that will enable them to give the critical support that is essential if children are to become sexually healthy, responsible adults.
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