Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. At what point does "normal" childhood sexual exploration become sexual abuse and exploitation? My four-year-old daughter told me last night that a friend of hers touched her private parts and put her finger inside of her and looked at her with a flashlight. She also told me this girl told her that's where babies come out. Having a baby seven months ago, I told my four-year-old that the baby comes out through the belly button. The girl who did this to her is almost nine.
What to do as a parent
What causes the touching?
Jump to navigation. You can find help to determine if sexual play between children is a problem. When presented with a sexual behavior in a child, it is not always obvious whether or not the behavior is anything to be concerned about. Knowing what is developmentally expected is the first place to start. When there is a concern it is helpful to learn more about the hallmarks of problematic sexual behavior. If you are seeing signs that the behavior may be harmful, it can be very helpful to consult with a professional who specializes in this particular area. There is a broad continuum of sexual behaviors in children and youth that range from common sexual play to problematic sexual behavior. It is important to recognize that not all concerning sexual behavior in children are an indicator of a serious or ongoing sexual behavior problem. This way you and the child can get the help needed to understand and manage the behavior safely. Additional information about adolescent sex offenders and children with sexual behavior problems is available from the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth, www.
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Childhood is yet another time of youthful innocence and your children could be overwhelmed by the glory of first experiences. Young sisters touching themselves usually on their private parts can be shocking. This classic exploration should, however, be transient and stops as the child grows older. Children are inquisitive by nature. They are taken much into discovering weird things in their adjacent environment. Being innocent and curious, they go up to an extent where we as parents have to be in charge.