Problematic sexual behavior in children and youth is defined as behavior initiated by children and youth under the age of 18 that involves using sexual body parts in a manner that is developmentally inappropriate or potentially harmful to the individual or individuals impacted by the behavior.
A new Department of Defense policy expands the responsibility of the Family Advocacy Program to address problematic sexual behavior in children and youth. This change in policy allows the program to support families whose children or adolescents have exhibited, or been impacted by, concerning or problematic sexual behavior. It also allows the program to convene a multidisciplinary team to manage the coordinated community response to these behaviors, and recommend a safe way forward for all involved.
For Parents – Understanding Child Sexual Development and Concerning Sexual Behaviors
Learn more about child sexual development
- What’s Normal? What’s Not? Fact Sheet
- Healthy Sexual Behaviors in Children
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Sexual Development and Behavior in Children
- Military Families Learning Network – Sexualized Behavior in Children and Youth Series
Find ways for parents and caregivers to cope and offer more support
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Understanding and Coping with Sexual Behavior Problems in Children
- National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth – A Guide for Parents/Caregivers Concerned About Children’s Sexual Behavior
- National Children’s Alliance Resources for Children’s Advocacy Centers, Partners and Caregivers
Talk with your children
Start early, and talk often with your children about healthy body boundaries to help them understand what safe and respectful interactions should look like.
Questions and Answers
Contact your Family Advocacy Program to assist your child and family with:
- Supportive counseling
- Specialized resources
FAQ and Resource Guide for Parents and Caregivers: Problematic Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth
Connect with support and resources for families impacted by problematic sexual behavior in children and youth.