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November 1940


Am J Dis Child. 1940;60(5):1110-1119. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1940.02000050094008

All children, at one time or another, ask questions concerning a variety of topics. It is therefore not surprising that they also include questions about the topic of sex. These initial inquiries represent a spontaneous reaching out for help, a bringing to a test the effectiveness of verbal formulations (that is, "Is this the best way to say it?") and an attempt to learn how to converse with others. These early experiments in the art of conversation necessarily depend on the development of interpersonal relations, which are of greater significance at the start than the content or meaning of the question itself.

This point is too frequently overlooked when the topic of sex is touched on by the inquiring child. The parent, who has helped the child to express himself on previous occasions, may now become embarrassed, apprehensive or even shocked. The flustered parent may lose sight of the fact

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