Problematic Sexualized Behaviors

What are childhood problematic sexual behaviors?
Sexual exploration and play are a natural part of childhood sexual development, however, some childhood sexual behaviors may indicate more than harmless curiosity. In some cases, sexual behaviors pose a risk to the safety and well-being of the child and other children in his or her world.

Please see additional resources for parents & caregivers on normal and problematic sexual behaviors in children:
Problematic Sexual Behaviors
Sexual Development and Behavior in Children

How to get help if you have concerns about childhood problematic sexual behaviors?
If you are a parent or caregiver with questions about problematic sexual behaviors, please contact Clinical Services Manager, Sarah Zuidema, at szuidema@cac-kent.org or (616) 719-4689. Sarah can help determine if a problematic sexual behavior screening and/or treatment may be appropriate for your child.

What is a problematic sexual behavior (PSB) screening?
PSB screenings are offered for children age 9 and under who have not disclosed sexual abuse but have exhibited problematic sexual behaviors.  During a screening, a trained specialist will meet with both the parent/caregiver and the child individually to gather information around the concerns, provide education around body safety, and offer potential treatment recommendations.

What is problematic sexual behavior (PSB) treatment?
Following a PSB screening, treatment at the Center may be recommended.  PSB treatment is a one-on-one educational service that works with children and parents/caregivers to teach and promote body safety, appropriate boundaries, privacy, and telling.  Trained therapists will work with children to learn and practice safety concepts, while also assisting parents/caregivers in developing parenting techniques and supportive strategies the family can use in the home.

Resources for more information regarding problematic sexualized behaviors and child sexual development:
National Center on Sexual
Kids Health – Child Sexual
Healthy Children – Sexual Behaviors