Counselling and Therapy for Children Sexualized Behavior
It is a normal part of child development to exhibit a range of sexualized behaviours. Psychosexual development begins in infancy and early childhood with an interest in exploring one’s own body then, during latency, moves to a curiosity about the bodies of others.
Instances of sexual exploration are often spontaneous and are experienced as emotionally positive and sometimes “silly”. These behaviors tend to be linked to feelings of connection and attachment and they lack the erotic quality found in adult sexual behavior.
Some sexualized behavior in children can be concerning. When children exhibit shame, guilt, fear or anxiety or are preoccupied with sexual acts, there might be something else going on for them. It is certainly a concern when children are experimenting with others especially where there is a significant difference in the children’s age (more than a year or so), strength, and power and/or the other child is uncomfortable. When these behaviours occur it is critical that children have the support of professionals.
At Bayridge we work with parents to help transition children gracefully through awkward or concerning sexualized behaviours.