The Sexual Enlightenment of Children"

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Jeffrey Miller Intro to Psychology Due: 4-17-98 A review of "The Sexual Enlightenment of Children" by Sigmud Freud "The Sexual Enlightenment of Children" is an open letter written by Dr. Sigmund Freud to M. Furst, editor of Soziale Medizin und Hygiene. It deals with the ways that children learn about sexuality and how them learning it the wrong way could possibly scare them for the rest of there lives. He does this by using examples for his own work and the work of other psychologists dealing with the sexual development of young people. Freud opens the letter by letting Furst know that when asked this question he took it as wanting the opinion of one doctor who could base his opinion on his work and not as someone using the large amount of literature that had become available. As a whole Freud feels that children should not be left in the dark about sex and sexual feelings. He says "To My mind it seems that certain things are altogether too much wrapped in mystery." By this he means that children should be completely free to develop at there own pace. He says that if children are not told this they will find other ways of getting the information such as other children or books. Also he states that it is improbable to think that sexual desires will not develop in a child if the are not stirred by any outside source. Freud believes that children bring a certain amount of sexual instinct in to the world with them when they are born. He say, "It is commonly believed that the sexual instinct is lacking in children, and only begins to arise when the sexual organs mature." Freud claims that various parts of our body are "erotogenis zones" and it is only after they develop that the genitals become the supreme ones. Freud sighted one example of how a child should be treated in this area. A young boy by the name of Herbert who has very intelligent parents. They never tried to repress his development as a sexual being. What he began to refer to his private part as his "wee-wee maker" his parents never once told him that things like that were not spoke of in public. They did this to show him that sexual activity is not a bad thing. Freud stated several times that one thing that should never be done is to let your child think that sex is a dirty thing. This will only cause the child to have problems later in life that may be irreversible. He sighted yet another example from his work that shows how a person can be scared by things such as this. A young girl by the name of Lily wrote a letter to her Aunt Mali on behalf of her and her playmates. Lily asked Aunt Mali where babies came from. The girls had all sorts of ideas, but they wanted to know the truth and Aunt Mali was the only on they could turn to for such a question. Freud highly doubts that Lily got the correct answer. Lily later developed the neurosis that comes from "unanswered unconscious questions-obsessive speculating." Freud said about this "... they whisper confidences to each other which, because of the sense of guilt in the childhood inquirers, stamp everything sexual as horrible and disgusting" Freud feels that sex should be treated just like everything else in the world. It shouldn't be kept from children. He thinks that even in schools children should be taught the different animals in the animal kingdom reproduce. He says that a child would be much better off if the were well guided on the subject and not just let go to find what they will for the world. Most of all I think he is saying that sex should not be kept a secret. In some cases I feel that Freud is right on with his ideas. I also think that some of his ideas don't hit anywhere near the mark for the modern society we live in today. For example, I believe that children shouldn't be left completely in the dark about things of a sexual nature. All children develop at different speeds and some might not be quite ready for this kind of information if it was taught in school at a certain grade level. I best w

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