Causes and solutions for the hyper-sexualization of children

Learn about: Causes and solutions for the hyper-sexualization of children from Gordon Neufeld, PhD,...
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Causes and solutions for the hyper-sexualization of children

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This is seemingly increasing throughout North America, this hyper-sexualization of younger and younger ages. We should be concerned and, yes, there are things we can do about it. But first of all, it's rooted in our understanding of what's going on. It is natural for children to become sexualized; their attachment needs, that is what sexualization is all about: contact and closeness, proximity but in exclusive and intimate ways. And their attachment needs are meant to become sexualized when they become capable of procreation. And so that would happen around puberty, that it should happen. Problem is that sexualization also follows peer relationships. One should never be sexualized in hierarchical relationships. These are what a child is meant to be embedded in; taking care of younger siblings, nephews and nieces, and looking up to grandparents and mom and dad. These relationships should be immune of sexualization as nature intended and culture enforces. The problem is is that the peer relationships is where your procreation is going to happen. And so in our society, when children become peer-oriented, they in turn interpret this as, "Oh my goodness, we're getting ready to procreate," because that's where it happens. And so we find all kinds of sexual energy coming into this process, even in children five and six and seven years of age; that would never happen if children were properly embedded in natural hierarchies. And so the solution actually is to re-embed children in natural attachment hierarchies, with the adults responsible for them and with younger children that they care about. When we do it, it straightens itself out and we get to the root of the problem. If we don't address this peer orientation, if we don't reverse this peer orientation, we're not going to be able to reverse hyper-sexualization. And so we need to get it at it's root, not just at it's symptom level.

Learn about: Causes and solutions for the hyper-sexualization of children from Gordon Neufeld, PhD,...

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Gordon Neufeld, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author, Hold On to Your Kids and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a worldwide organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather of three.

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