Many people believe that if a child is acting out sexually that they must have been sexually abuse. While some children who have problem sexual behaviors have been sexually abused that is true for less than half of children exhibiting this behavior. While we cannot say there is one reason for sexual behavior in children, research does show us that most problematic sexual behavior develops out of the four domains below.
It is important to know that problem sexual behaviors in children does not equate with adult sex offenses
- Adults who sexually abuse are motivated by sexual urges
- Problematic sexual behavior usually occurs when the child feels anxious, angry, is reacting to trauma, is overly curious after being exposed to sexual material, is seeking attention, is trying to imitate others, or is trying to calm themselves down
- Children who have problematic sexual behaviors typically have low impulse control, low social skills, and poor decision making ability