Sex guide for worried parents

Cathy O’Leary
Western Australian

Health experts have released a confronting guide to sexual behaviour in children, using a traffic light system to classify everything from masturbation to “sexting”.

Is this Normal, developed by Family Planning Queensland, uses red, amber and green coding to advise parents of what is normal behaviour, such as three-year-olds playing “doctors and nurses”, and what is worrying such as a 13-year-old obsessed about pornography.

The authors say the guide will help confused parents after reports some fathers were worried about washing their young children in the bath because of fears it could be misconstrued as inappropriate. The guide says there is nothing wrong with children under five asking about or wanting to touch the nude bodies of familiar adults, because it shows natural curiosity.

Holly Brennan, a child sexual abuse prevention expert who helped write the book, said some parents would find it confronting. “There is advice around for professionals but parents have to deal with these issues every day,” she said.

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