Sexual identity in children occurs between the ages of 0-6

Sexual identity, which is defined as the identification of a person with masculinity or femininity, begins to occur in childhood. Reminding that the 0-6 age period is very critical, where the personality also develops, Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba reminds that the girls between the ages of 3-6 want to be close to the father and the boys want to be close to the mother. .


Sexuality is an integral part of the personality of all individuals according to the World Sexual Health Association’s Declaration of Sexual Rights. Sexual development depends on the fulfillment of basic human needs such as love, compassion, pleasure, emotional expression, privacy, contact. Saying that sexuality, which is an integral part of personality, is in a development adventure starting from the birth of human, Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba explains the concepts of identity and sexual identity as follows: “We can define identity as characteristics of a person and his personality. Sexual identity is a person’s identification with male or female.

It is evaluated with which gender he perceives one’s body, thoughts and behaviors, how masculine or feminine he sees himself psychologically. According to Freud, one of the scientists who shed light on sexual development, the 0-6 age period is important in the formation of a sense of sexual identity. This period, known as the psychosexual development process, is briefly defined as the oral, anal and phallic period. It is a critical period in the development of sexual identity as well as personality. “

Oral and anal periods in children

Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba says the process from birth to 1.5 years is defined as the oral period. In this period, the mouth delight zone; behaviors such as sucking, biting and chewing are pleasure-producing behaviors. For this reason, babies take everything they take into their mouths. This pleasure, which is provided by sucking, is said to be similar to the relaxation that an adult feels as a result of sexual saturation. “This is just a physiological reaction and it is completely free from sexual thought,” Aba explains.


The period between 1.5-3 years is defined as the anal period. In this period, the pleasure zone is the anus muscles. Pleasure behaviors are behaviors related to the anus. The child enjoys holding and leaving his feces. It started to control both its body and its environment.

Toilet training between the ages of 1.5-3 should not be punitive

given in this period 3-6 years old girls do not want to share the father, boys do not want to share the mother

Saying that the age of 3-6 is called phallic period, Aba explains the changes in the child in this period as Specialist Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba:

“During this period, the child realizes that the genitals are the pleasure zone and enjoys playing with their genitals. In this process, girls do not want to share the father with the mother by being close to the father.

Girl identifies her own gender behaviors by identifying with her mother. This situation in girls Elektra Complex (Elektra Complex) is called. It is an ordinary process of sexual identity development.

The boy is close to the mother and does not want to share with the father. To this situation Oedipus Complex (Oedipus Complex) is called. The child identifies with his father, models the behaviors of the male sex, and tries to replace his father.

Boys and girls can have hostile feelings towards the same sex parent. “

Girl may envy mother, boy father


Describing that children started to feel closer to the parent of the opposite sex between the ages of 3-6, Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba reminds us that these attempts should not be forgotten that they are childish only.

Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba stated that the child started to learn the roles about the gender of the parents by taking the model during this period and said, “The girl may want to show affection to the father and the boy to be close to her. Children may be jealous of the father from the mother or the mother and want to replace her and begin to take roles regarding her gender. They are in a competitive state in this period. It is an effort to resemble and learn the roles they set up to identify with in order to gain the interest and love needed. The availability of appropriate identification samples is an important factor in the development of sexual identity. ”

Child’s curiosity should be fed with correct information

Aba underlines that during this period, parents should behave positively towards the child, show love and affection and meet their needs. Explaining that the first foundation of basic human needs, such as establishing closeness, integration and belonging, was laid at this stage, Clinical Psychologist Kayıhan Aba says:

“The origin of psychological dynamics such as establishing love and intimacy and attachment during adulthood is at this point. Likewise, in order for children to love when they reach adulthood, they must be loved in this period. The sense of curiosity in this period is a transition between the stages of sexual development. Children need to ask questions about sexuality in order to understand, discover, and remove the uncertainty in their minds.

Curiosity needs to be fed with accurate information, and prohibitive, accusatory attitudes and inconsistent answers should be avoided. During this period, children should be told that sexual organs are part of our body like other organs. In order for the child to resolve the conflicts he / she has experienced, the sense of curiosity must be directed correctly and the desire to discover should not be prevented. Again, in this process, children can satisfy their sexual curiosity through sexual games such as home and doctor.

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