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Unusual sexual behavior of a 8-year old
 

I know of an eight year old girl that has tried to engage in different sexual acts. I am concerned, as I feel that, at that age, children should not be trying to explore sexuality. My question is, should the parents get professional help for this child? One thing is to imitate something seen on a TV show or movie, but this child has attempted to engage in sexual acts with several different children. The parents don't seem to acknowledge or want to believe that this could be a problem. I certainly don't want my children around this particular child, knowing what she has done and the type of little games she likes to play. I as parent, want to know, if something like this is happening with my child, should I seek professional help for my child. I really don't know if this kid has been molested, frankly, I don't think so. I strongly believe that she has been exposed to some type of visual contact or has heard conversations from other adults. Please advise.

 
Answer
 

You do not say what sexual acts the girl you mention is doing. The child's sexual expression begins as early as the first year and takes different forms with age. Children often hug, cuddle, kiss, climb on top of one another., lock each other's genitals, play doctor, play Mom & Dad and the like till about 8 or 9 years of age.

By about this time many children become aware of sexual arousal, erotic sensation and will seek pleasurable experiences such as self stimulation, touching others' genitals etc. This is a normal part of psychosexual development, although most parents are concerned, embarrassed and attempt to inhibit these activities.

We do not mean that expressions of sexuality should go unguided. Parents should begin to talk about their personal values at this time, and teach children what is appropriate and what is not.

In the case of a child such as the one you refer to, whose behavior appears to be beyond the limits of what is normally observed, consulting a children's counselor can certainly help. The counselor can help sort out if the behavior is normal, if not, which of many possible issues are involved and help the parent deal with it. He will find why the child is behaving in a certain way and would also suggest him/her better ways to express affection, curiosity or sexual feelings.

If nothing unusual is involved, the consultation will bring reassurance.

 
All the best
Poosha Darbha
   

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