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You can find help to determine if sexual play between children is a problem. When presented with a sexual behavior init is not always obvious whether or not the behavior is anything to be concerned about. Knowing what is developmentally expected is the first place to start.
When there is a concern it is helpful to learn more about the hallmarks of problematic sexual behavior. If you are seeing s that the behavior may be harmful, it can be very helpful to consult with a professional who specializes in this particular area.
There is a broad continuum of sexual behaviors in children and youth that range from common sexual play to problematic sexual behavior. It is important to recognize that not all concerning sexual behavior in children are an indicator of a serious or ongoing sexual behavior problem.
This way you and the child can get the help needed to understand and manage the behavior safely. Additional information about adolescent sex offenders and children with sexual behavior problems is available from the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth, www.
Sexual play vs. Sexual play is exploratory and spontaneous occurs intermittently and by mutual agreement occurs with children of similar age, size, or developmental level, such as siblings, cousins, or peers is not associated with high levels of fear, shame, anger, or anxiety decreases when told by caregivers to stop can be controlled by increased supervision Problematic sexual behavior is a frequent, repeated behavior, such as compulsive masturbation.
Example: A six-year-old repeatedly masturbates at school or in other public places. Example: An eight-year-old shows their private parts to a new child during an after school program.
Example: A ten-year-old threatens their six-year-old cousin and makes them touch their genitals. Example: A nine-year-old continues to engage other children in mutual touching after being told the behavior is not allowed and having consequences, such as being grounded. Example : causes physical injury, such as bruising, redness, or abrasions on themselves or another child, or causes another child to be highly upset or fearful.