Sexualized Behaviours

For many, the idea of children displaying sexualized behavior may lead to these thoughts popping into our heads:

“They have a problem.”

“They can’t be around other children”

“They have been abused”

Although not all sexual behaviours are appropriate or safe for children to be exposed to, some sexual behaviours are part of normal child development.

But how do we know?

A stoplight

Use the Traffic Lights Framework (Family Planning Queensland, 2010):

  • RED is harmful or problem sexual behaviour that indicate a need for intervention
  • YELLOW is for sexual behaviours outside the norm that require observation and support
  • GREEN is for normal, developmentally appropriate sexual behaviours

No matter which level of behavior a child may be displaying, parents and caregivers are key in providing appropriate responses, supervision, and support.


Ready to learn more?

Thrive Child and Youth clinicians presented this information to parents and caregivers at the Partners in Prevention Symposium because the best assets in preventing sexual harm is to help parents and caregivers be informed and aware.

View presentation here.

Another piece of the puzzle is having conversations with our children and youth about sexual health, harm, and relationships appropriate to their age and stage of development. For more information check out Starting the Conversation.

Need Support? 

THRIVE Child and Youth Trauma Services offers free Group Programs with a support and psycho-educational focus designed for parents, caregivers, and foster parents whose children have experienced sexual victimization or abuse, or who are concerned about their children’s sexual behaviour.