Sexuality Resource Center for Parents: Tools, Tips, and Tricks for Teaching Children about Human Sexuality

Teaching about Private Behaviors

(For Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities)

A primary concern of parents is to prevent their children from exhibiting private behaviors in public. These behaviors include showing their private parts in public, masturbating in public, or talking about private parts or behaviors in public.

  • The most complete set of activities on this topic can be found in chapter 3 ("Teaching about Privacy") in Teaching Children with Down Syndrome about Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Terri Couwenhoven (click here to learn more about this book). Most of the activities presented here are not specific to Down Syndrome, so don't be put off by the book's title if your child has a different developmental disability. You'll still find plenty of great activities to use with your child.
  • For more on the difference between "public" parts and "private" parts of the body, turn to activities 1-4 in lesson 16 ("Understanding the Body, Day 1: Anatomy") in Special Education FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) from Public Health – Seattle & King County. This lesson was originally written for educators, but it can be easily adapted for use by parents. Click here to download a PDF version of the lesson.
  • For a different approach to teaching about private behaviors, check out "Explaining Privacy" from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. Click here to download a PDF version of the pamphlet.
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