4 Treatments For Children With Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors


sneaky child photo
Photo credit: Big D2112

It’s important that families understand the emotional and psychological implications of sexually inappropriate behaviors with kids and teens. Some kids and teens could be acting out what they have witnessed in their own homes – on TV, online, or with their parents or guardians. Other kids are acting out the abuse they have experienced or even witnessed in their past. This is why it is very important that children and adolescents who are exhibiting sexually inappropriate behaviors see a therapist so that they can explore the reasons for their behaviors. I must also add that some sexually inappropriate behaviors have no explanation. Sexually inappropriate behaviors in children is something most, if not all, adults would rather not discuss. But this is exactly why this article was written. The other reason for this article is that it’s important  you are away of the types of help that are available to you. Some treatment options to consider include:

Short-term Treatment Options:

  • Outpatient therapy: OP therapy is often useful for individuals who are able to remain safely in the home and benefit from 1x a week therapy sessions. As a therapist, I do not recommend OP therapy if a child or adolescent has engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviors in the home and there is a chance that child could re-offend and harm the same or other children in the household. OP therapy is more appropriate for kids and teens who are watching porn, engaging in inappropriate online behaviors, or showing signs of sexually inappropriate behaviors. OP therapy is often the mildest form of treatment.
  • Specialized SMB treatment: Specialized sexually maladaptive behavior treatment is often useful for kids and teens who have offended other youths or have engaged in inappropriate behaviors. It can be very difficult to locate affordable services that are specialized or young kids or teens. But you can always reach out to your insurance company and ask for referrals or recommendations. A specialized program can offer you specific treatment and tools. Specialized programs typically hire therapists and other professionals who are very well rounded and knowledgeable about the sexually inappropriate behaviors. These programs may be labeled as rehabilitation programs.
  • Diversion and Stabilization Program: These programs may be termed differently in your state but diversion and stabilization units are short-term (28, 30, 90days) to help stabilize the individual and equip them with skills to cope with behavioral problems. The individual will receive individual, family, and group therapy including management of medication.


Longer-term Treatment Options:

  • Longer term care: As difficult as it might be to consider sending your child or teen away, it might be the only choice you have. Longer-term care might also be the last resort after having tried multiple avenues. Whatever the case, longer-term care will require that the child or adolescent live in a residential facility where therapy can occur weekly and 24/7 supervision. These treatment settings help families protect all individuals in the household while also getting the child or teen 24/7 treatment.
  • Probation/Juvenile Custody: If all else fails and you find yourself at a loss, you might have to enlist the help of your local juvenile detention site or probation office. If a child or teenager has offended someone in or outside of the home, you should see pursuing legal help as your duty. You can simply call your local juvenile detention center or probation office and ask for help. Explain your situation and ask if there is anything they can recommend you do. Most probation officers will follow the youth and hold them accountable legally. Some juvenile detention centers will order a youth to engage in treatment and make progress in order to be removed from the legal system.


If you are considering a program for a young individual struggling with sexually inappropriate behaviors, I encourage you to research each program, take a tour of the facility, and ask for pamphlets and other materials that can help you learn about the facility. You can also do a Google search on each facility and its differences.

To read more on this topic, visit my sister site at: Blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers

Take good care of yourself!