Focus on the Family


Understanding sexual development and integrity for children ages 9-12

by Rob Jackson

Foundation: As our children come to appreciate the value God places on them, they will also want to learn that self-care or stewardship becomes the appropriate response to our gratitude to God. This mindset will also help limit some of the heightened self-consciousness and ego associated with the preadolescent years. We want to maximize this time for sexual integrity, as our children are still free of the hormone rush that will soon awaken their sex drive.


  1. Continue to maintain the goals from prior units.
  2. To equip your child to take care of his body, mind, and spirit as a response of gratitude to God.

Iceberg Zones:

  1. The body discussed in Unit 1 and the analytic mind discussed in Unit 2.
  2. The mind, with an emphasis on healthy emotions specific to sexual health and integrity. In this stage we want to help our children learn how to process their emotions in general, and any emotions that are specific to sexual health and integrity. Here, they will learn that emotions are one part of their system designed to inform or alert them so that good decisions can be made. Time spent now in the development of emotional hygiene will provide a good foundation for adolescence where emotions will be influenced by raging hormones.

What's normal

Developmental tasks for your child

How to foster sexual health and integrity in this stage

What to avoid

What to do if you're concerned for your child's development