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After the oedipal storm, your child is now less tormented by his sexual urges. How to approach with him the question of sexuality in these times of relative lull? Should we approach it? The advice of Michaël Larrar, child psychiatrist.
Between 6 and 11 years old, the psys say that a child is in a period of latency. What does that mean ?
- Michael Larrar *: That means he has taken an important step. He definitely understood that physical attraction to the opposite sex parent was forbidden. And not to implode under the effect of sexual impulses that still continue to agitate him, he reinvests them in learning and intellect. During this period of latency, the pleasure does not pass by the body but by more intellectual stakes: he likes to learn, to play with his mind, to find solutions.
Is sexuality a taboo subject at this time?
- Mr. L.: In any case, it is a subject that a child of this age does not want to approach. He does everything to protect himself. If, on television for example, he is confronted with a scene of kissing or sex, he arranges to fetch something in his room or begins to sneer or screams that it is disgusting! His somewhat heavy jokes about the issue or his overplayed amazement show the energy he exerts to hold sexuality and sexual excitations at bay.
This rejection of sexuality does not prevent him from sometimes being in love, right?
- Mr. L.: It is true that the primary school is often the place of love. But it's not about sexuality. The child lives his love story in a sexless fashion. At CE1, CE2, this is the feeling that is put forward. Moreover, at this age, they love to be told stories of love, including that of parents since it is the origin of their birth. They have a real intellectual curiosity for this feeling, the way it is born and sometimes stops. Parents must not hesitate to give the story of their encounter and their love of storytelling, without putting too much emphasis on the shadows: the child will have plenty of time to discover the complexity of this affair!
Is this age not conducive to prevention messages about sexuality?
- Mr. L.: This is the wrong idea ... The latency period is anything but the right time to talk about issues like condoms, pornography, pedophilia, etc. That would amount to blowing on the embers of sexual impulses that the child tries at all costs to keep under control and repress. It would be disturbing for him. To awaken one's sexual curiosity and to "heat" it, is also to run the risk that for a time one turns away from more intellectual centers of interest: a child can not do everything at once. Of course, it is tempting for parents to transmit as many messages as possible to their child before they escape him as a teenager. But if it can work for tobacco or alcohol - and again! - this is more complex with regard to sexuality.