Recognising Sexualised Behaviour in Children
Parents and caregivers of children who are engaging in sexual behaviours can have a hard time identifying when a sexual behaviour is “of concern” and warrant professional evaluation and intervention. There are individual differences existing between children across all their behaviours, including sexual behaviours. Children and adolescents who display sexual behaviour problems are heterogeneous in nature. It is also often commonly misunderstood that there is a single pathway to the development of sexualized behaviours that is problematic and atypical of the child’s developmental stage.
Addressing the needs of children displaying sexual behaviour problems transcend all systems including engaging with the families, social, educational and community provisions. The child or adolescents should be evaluated by a qualified professional who is knowledgeable about sexuality across life span and child abuse. A comprehensive assessment is required to identify the risks factors and strengths to estimate the probability of future episodes of sexual behaviour problems and individually tailored intervention. It is helpful to safeguard the sexual behaviour from perpetuating and escalating into more harmful, problematic, and abusive behaviour.