Tag Archive for: PSB

There is not a single risk factor that is strong enough to cause a young person to have sexualized behaviors (PSB) with another child. Usually, there are at least 6 or 7 factors involved. To get a full assessment of a child’s overall functioning, I would recommend meeting with a Psychologist who specializes in this area. The most helpful way to use this list is to identify areas of concern to prevent inappropriate behaviors in the future. If you have questions, or want more information, please contact me at Woodhaven Counseling Associates in Omaha, NE or soverby@woodhavencounseling.com

KEY AREAS OF CONCERN

per Wm. Freidrich Ph.D. Book: Children with Sexual Behavior Problems; Family Based Attachment-Focused Therapy
 Exposure to domestic violence or aggressiveness between parents or other adults in home
 Youth exposed to elicit sexual activity or images or information (pornography)
 Modeling of Coercion by adults: authoritarian parenting style, spanking, physical aggression, verbal threats
 Parental Stress and adversity: divorce, death, legal problems, job loss, drug/alcohol use, depression
 Overly permissive sexual attitudes in home
 Youth has poor social skills
 Youth has poor coping skills
 Nudity or lack of modesty in home
 Youth has seen a lot of violence in peers and /or community
 Poor supervision when youth is with other kids
 Youth has poor impulse control; acts w/out thinking
 Developmental delays compared to other children
 Lack of guidance, child is left on their own too much
 Physical abuse or physical harm to the youth
 Sexual abuse history; hands off or hands on offenses

FAMILY FACTORS

 Emotional abuse of children in family: ignored, bullied, threatened, verbal abuse
 Overly permissive parenting in general
 Repressive or punitive sexual attitudes in family
 Not providing any explanation for age appropriate sexuality
 Chaotic home life; no schedule, rules change often
 Poor family boundaries; too tight or too loose
 Parents not responsible for family’s wellbeing
 Poor family communication
 General family dynamics are extreme
 Low income or poverty; lack of shelter or food
 Intense rivalry between siblings, sometimes unknowingly fostered by parents
 Adults confused about own sexuality or victims of childhood sexual abuse
 Children rely on each other to be soothed, rather than adults
 Parents have had extra marital affairs
 Children disliked or treated differently by parents for reasons not related to the child
 Caregivers unaware of current trends of sexuality on internet/social media

SOCIAL FACTORS

 Social alienation and isolation
 Bullied by peers, feels inferior in peer group
 Lack of same age peer friendships
 Aggressive or threatening to others
 Coercion from peers re: sexuality
 Uses sexuality to form friendships
 Uses sexuality to “look cool” with peers

INDIVIDUAL FACTORS

 Alcohol or drug or pill abuse by the youth
 Uses sexuality to feel strong or powerful
 Uses sexuality to feel affection & love
 Uses sexuality to meet other emotional needs
 Unable to manage sexual arousal appropriately
 Inability to delay gratification
 Overwhelmed by depression or anxiety
 Extreme mood swings or emotional meltdowns
 Can’t think of non-sexual solutions to problems
 Breaking rules at home, school or community
 Has excuses for any wrong behavior
 Feels so special that he/she doesn’t have to follow the same rules as everyone else
 Inability to think for self or make own decisions
 Low self esteem, feels unworthy of a happy life
 Sexual interest in young children
 Is generally coercive in relationships with others
 Criminal history of other types of offenses
 Poor grades in school, lack of interest in school
 Preoccupied with sex and sexuality

DEVELOPMENTAL FACTORS

 Unable to understand information during sex education from school or parents
 Emotionally immature
 Too young to understand sexuality
 Undeveloped conscience or morals
 Pre-mature puberty, biological and growth factors

SITUATIONAL FACTORS

 Presence of vulnerable people that could be harmed or tricked into keeping secrets
 Normal sexual outlets for age are limited or not allowed
 Has powerful or controlling role with possible victim (ex: babysitter, older sibling)
 Too much time with TV and video games

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

 No monitoring of internet use by caregivers (software filters don’t count)
 Crowded living conditions (no private bedrooms)
 Youth has chronic stressors in personal life
 Child observed adult sexual behavior without explanation or ability to understand
 Exposed to traumatic or scary events

What Caregivers Can Say

(to speed up the treatment process for problematic sexual behavior)

By Sheryl Overby, MS NCC LIMHP Woodhaven Counseling 402-592-0328

When children or teens start treatment for having problems with their sexual behavior,

it can be really scary and confusing.

If they have feel supported by their caregivers and have permission to be open,

they are more likely to get through treatment faster  and have a better chance of a successful life.


Here are some examples what other caregivers have said;

pick one or two that fits for you.

  1. I’m so glad you told me now, I want to help you and I’m really sad that you had to go through all of this alone.

  2. This is a really big problem, and I don’t know what to do, but I will find someone who knows how to help us

  3. I will support you as you go through the process of getting healthy ideas about sex.

  4. I imagine it would be really hard to tell me the truth about your touching problem, that is OK, I am not sure I am ready to hear about it right now.  So, we can both get help to solve this problem.

  5. I will do whatever it takes to learn how to help you so you don’t have this problem again.

  6. It’s Ok if you haven’t told me everything, remember, if your story changes later, and you are able to tell more details, you will be so brave and strong.

  7. I’m sure that there are lots of reasons why this happened; we will figure all of that out later.  But for now, remember you are the one who has the problem with sexual behavior and that has to get fixed.

  8. I know you might not have told me everything about your sexual behavior, either way;  I am committed to helping you, no matter what else comes out.

  9. Even if you think you had a really good reason to do this; you were wrong, breaking a sexual behavior rule causes harm, it is bad for the other person and it is bad for you.

  10. It is OK to resist admitting to everything now about what has happened; but you still have to talk to these people that can help you.

  11. Even if the problem behavior with _____ didn’t happen exactly the way he/she says it did, we still need to be here in treatment to talk about things.

  12. I want you to be honest with me, even if it makes me sad/mad/upset, etc., we will work through it all together.

  13. No matter how bad it is – it can be fixed.

  14. You still deserve to have privacy with your thoughts, but there are some things that you need to share so we (your therapist and I) can help you.  After you tell your therapist EVERYTHING about the sexual behavior, the two of you can decide which parts I need to know about.

  15. It will be OK if you tell me that there is more to the story than we first thought.  When you realize you are safe, you can say it out loud. I might be upset, but I will still love you and I promise to try to help you.

  16. Just because you did something wrong, like having illegal sexual behavior, it doesn’t mean all the good things about you are not true.

  17. Just because you have lots of good qualities about you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a mistake, or that the harmful sexual behavior is not true.

  18. I am not proud of the mistake you made, but I believe you have the ability to work hard and fix your mistake, and that starts by talking to your therapist about whatever happened.  You have already started the process by walking into the building today.

  19. If I am to responsible for contributing to this problem in any way, I want to figure out if there was anything I should have done differently  and change things in our family.