How To Know If Your Child’s Sexual Behaviour Is Normal?
Talking about sex to your partner can be challenging but speaking to your child is something most parents dread. This blog will hopefully help you erase doubts about your child’s sexual behaviour, interest in sex and teach you how to approach the topic in general.
What is Normal Sexual Behaviour in Children?
In short, sexual behaviour in children is normal. Children are curious and that curiosity includes their genitals. They might touch themselves and even involve in sexual exploration with their peers. Older children might begin to masturbate and express interest in sex. The question is whether a specific behaviour is age-appropriate.
When Should I Be Concerned?
Here are concerning behaviours that you should pay attention to:
- 2 – 6 years olds – asking others to engage in sexual behaviours, imitating sexual acts in an explicit way, inserting things into their genitals, displaying sexual behaviours everyday that are resistant to distraction, sexual behaviour that causes pain or anger if the child is distracted
- 6 – 8 years olds – being familiar with specific sexual acts, public sexual behaviours, sexual behaviours via the use of technology
- 8 – 13 years olds – adult-like sexual behaviour or sexual behaviour in public places
- 13 – 16 years olds – masturbation in a public place or sexual interest towards younger children
Additionally, some behaviour might be harmful regardless of age: constantly flashing their genitals, persistent masturbation that causes pain, wanting to look or touch at other people’s genitals, tricking other children into playing sexual games
What Should I Do if I’m Worried About My Child’s Behaviour?
Make sure you keep a track of all the suspicious behaviours your child engages in. Don’t delay talking to your child about what’s worrying you because the problem won’t disappear. Clearly describe the behaviour to your child and explain why it’s inappropriate – don’t react with anger or fear. Avoid replacing names of genitals with colloquialisms – teach your child they aren’t bad words. Additionally, you should show your child that they’re in charge of their bodies by not forcing them to hug their family members. Let them know it’s okay to say no.
If your child’s behaviour is persistent and worrying, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Contact My Family Psychologist to schedule an appointment