Parenting Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused and May be Sexually Reactive


This topic is one of the most fearful that foster and adoptive parents encounter. The reality is that most foster and adoptive parents will care for a child who has been exposed to some level of sexual abuse—from visual or auditory stimulus to molestation. Some children who were sexually abused display sexually reactive behaviors, meaning that they respond or react in a sexual manner to things that happen. Sexual reactivity in children is a common response following sexual abuse. Inappropriate sexual behaviors may be a learned form of relating to and communicating with others.


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Author: Wisconsin Family Connections Center
Additional Author: Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
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