Do you know what causes sexualized behaviors in an adopted child? Would you be willing to parent a child with sexualized behaviors? These questions pop up occasionally when I talk to families with children, they have difficulty parenting.
The answer to the first question is that a child may have been abused sexually by a parent (male or female). Many times, the parent or parents who sexually abuse their children were sexually abused as children by parents, family members or friends of the family.
These sexually abused children can have no idea about what happens when they try to have sex with someone. Since the abuse starts before puberty, they have no clue about STDs or pregnancy.
The answer to the second question, for me is a “yes.” Even though I wasn’t asked that question when I adopted my daughter from India, I would have still said “yes.” I’d have been better prepared to help her understand her issues and how to deal with her feelings.
My daughter, Kara, was sexually abused by her father from about age four until she ran away from home in Chittagong to Calcutta at approximately age 13. She was arrested in Calcutta for stealing food to survive. She was placed in a jail because all the orphanages in the area were full.
While in the jail, she was sexually abused by the male and female guards. It was not a pleasant place to be, but she is a survivor. She came to the notice of an agency trying to save the locked-up children and subsequently found her way to my home.
In all that time in India, she had never had a period. With good food, she finally had one about six months after she arrived. I explained the facts in simple terms, hoping she understood. I don’t think I got through to her.
What happened to her is going to be included on the next post.
Being sexually active is a natural occurrence. Anyone that denies it, should be asked “How did you get here? Did a stork bring you?” This is a natural biological process. Being taken aback by a child having these inclinations is to say you’ve never discussed sex without embarrassment. You don’t do your child a favor, especially a sexualized child, by not feeling comfortable talking about sexual feelings and helping the child grow up with a feeling of being accepted. If you don’t, you are adding to the child feeling there is something wrong with them.
There are plenty of children available that have been sexually abused, please consider helping these kids find themselves accepted for no matter what happened to them.
Thanks for reading this post. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
N. Ann Lamphere, CSW