North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Parenting Pipeline


A newsletter for parents of fourth-grade children from the North Dakota State University Extension Service

Starting Early: Sexuality Education for Preteens

During the preteen years, children define and refine their values, beliefs and knowledge about sexuality. Your factual information and open discussion will help your child develop healthy and responsible sexual attitudes. This involves more than just one talk. It's an ongoing process of sharing information.

Preteens often confront life with a newspaper approach. They want to know about everything -- who, what, when, where, why and how. These questions are opportunities for you to pass your values and beliefs as well as accurate information to your child. If you don't, your child will continue to seek information from any source available. The information in magazines, movies, music and jokes; on bathroom walls; and from friends is rarely the picture parents want their children to have.

Research indicates that parents are still more influential in conveying values and beliefs than media and peers if parents are indeed doing the job. Purchasing or checking out from the library a few good resources and attending a class on becoming a woman or man are great places to begin.

For preteens or parents

Madaras, Lynda, 1988. The What's Happening to My Body? Book for Boys. New York: Newmarket Press.

Madaras, Lynda, 1988. The What's Happening to My Body? Book for Girls. New York: Newmarket Press.

Rosenberg, Ellen, 1987. Growing Up Feeling Good. New York: Penguin Books.

What Kids Want to Know About Sex. Public Video Service. 115 Western Ave., Boston, Mass. 12134-1098. $22.50

For parents

Gordon, Sol, and Gordon, Judith, 1983. Raising a Child Conservatively in a Sexually Permissive World. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc.

Steinberg, L., and Levine, A., 1990. You and Your Adolescent: A Parent's Guide for Ages 10-20. Harper Perrenial.

Understanding Your Preadolescent's Concerns

Eight- to 12-year-olds are:

How Can Parents Help?

Parents may find that talking with preteens about sexuality is embarrassing or uncomfortable. Sexuality can be a difficult topic for many parents, but most parents want to communicate about sexuality. Here are some suggestions to help you talk with your child.

What Does Your Preadolescent Need to Know?

Your child needs to know that he is valued and can come to you for information and to talk about concerns and feelings.

When you communicate about sexuality with your child, you are teaching her that:

This newsletter is published for North Dakota families with fourth-graders by the NDSU Extension Service and distributed through your county extension office. See your extension agent for more parenting information and other home economics programs.

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.

This publication will be made available in alternative format upon request to people with disabilities (701) 231-7881.

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service