Children's Behaviors

It is often uncomfortable to talk about children and their own sexual behaviors but early involvement and intervention in children’s sexuality and sexual behaviors is crucial. Children’s sexual behaviors are most often very different than adult’s sexual behaviors. Learn how to respond to children’s sexual behaviors so that every child is protected, supported and cared for.

Children’s Healthy Sexuality Development

Questions about what is normal sexual curiosity and experimentation in children’s behavior are common. When you understand what age-appropriate behavior is and practice healthy communication with children about sexual development, children are more protected from sexual abuse. We can help you find information about children’s behaviors, and guide you in how to include children’s behaviors in safety planning.

Warning Signs in Children’s Behavior

Possibly you’re concerned about a young child’s sexualized play with her toys or perhaps a child said something vague or confusing about a game with another child. Maybe someone saw children playing in ways that worry you or an older child’s behavior has raised alarm. Sometimes what starts out as innocent children’s play can evolve into something adults recognize as no longer safe. We help you get your questions answered so you can make a decision about when to step in.

Sexual behaviors between children often raise questions. It can be unsettling to notice warning signs or concerning sexual behaviors in children. It is not always easy to tell the difference between natural sexual curiosity in kids and potentially abusive behaviors. If a child’s language or behavior is concerning to you, they may need protection and/or help to manage their behavior. You can find the help you need to do that right here.

Children’s Sexually Harmful or Abusive Behaviors

Perhaps you have recently learned of a worrisome sexual interaction that occurred between two children – maybe two children you love or care about. Maybe your child has been harmed by another child in the community. Oftentimes parents feel at a loss as to how this could have happened and how they will re-establish safety in their families and among friends. You are not alone.

It is hard to consider that a child we love or care about may have sexually acted out or abused a child we also love. Maybe you want to reach out for help but are worried about what will happen – especially if you are the parent of the child who initiated the behavior. We are here to support you explore having these conversations and consider options for next steps.

Each child needs and deserves understanding and help to make sense of what has happened so they can heal and move forward. Here you can find ways to access those resources for healing and make a plan to prevent further harm, starting now.

We Can Help

From conversations with children about their bodies to speaking with other adults about children’s sexually harmful behaviors, we have tips, tools and guidance so that you can help children live safe and free from sex abuse.

Keys to Prevention

Learn The Facts About Child Sexual Abuse

When you understand what child sexual abuse is and what makes children and situations vulnerable to abuse, you are better prepared to understand what is needed for prevention.

Learn About Healthy Sexual Development And Behaviors

Feeling knowledgeable about children’s healthy sexual development can help anyone feel more confident in talking to children about sexuality and sexual behaviors. Learn why it’s important to know about children’s age-appropriate sexual behaviors, and how to talk with children about sexuality.

Safety Planning

Adults can plan for children’s sexual safety before there are concerns. Safety planning is strongest when it is incorporated into regular routines and schedules in the family, at school, in the neighborhood and everywhere a child visits.

Speaking Up

Talking to children about sex and sexuality is key to prevention.

Keys to Warning Signs

Warning Signs

Understanding children’s behaviors can sometimes be confusing or difficult.  When you are able to recognize warning signs, you can plan for safety and take other actions steps to strengthen safety in a child’s environment.

Safety Planning

Safety planning can happen anytime. Learn more about how to create a safety plan in your family and community.

Speaking Up

It can be very difficult to speak up when  you have a concern that a child is at-risk to sexually harm another child. However, when concerns remain unspoken, at least one child remains at risk. With our tips and support, you can learn how to talk about difficult topics to help create a safer environment for children.


If abuse is suspected, reaching out to protective authorities could lead to the protection of a child, and getting recovery help for the child. Filing a report can result in holding the person who is abusing accountable and getting them treatment so that they will be able to stop abusive behaviors.

Keys to Intervening

Responding to Disclosures

When a child discloses that he or she has been sexually abused, it can be difficult to know how to best respond in the moment to that child. Yet, an adult’s initial response can immediately help a child feel safe again. Learn more about responding to disclosures.

Report the Abuse

If abuse is suspected, reaching out to protective authorities could lead to the protection of a child, and getting recovery help for the child. Filing a report can result in holding the person who is abusing accountable and getting them treatment so that they will be able to stop abusive behaviors.

Re-establishing Safety

When a child has felt threatened by possible abuse or has been abused or sexually harmed by another child, re-establishing safety in his or her environment is crucial to healing and recovery.

Keys to Healing and Recovery

Getting Support

Healing and recovery is most effective when there is support and understanding. Often, professionals can best help a child, as well as his or her parents, either recover from sexual harm from another child or help a child who has sexually problematic behaviors.

See a full listing of our Frequently Asked Questions.