I am a 20 year old female student and I have a 5 year old son who is really sexually active. For instance, he kisses girls by force, he forces them to lick his penis, he "fingers" them, he speaks about sex openly with everyone except me, his father and my family.

There is a whole lot more that he does and the most frustrating part is that when teachers ask him where he saw those things, he says he learned it from me. We do not even live together. Currently I am in Cape Town doing my degree and he is in KZN with my mother.

Since he was 8 months old, he went to live with his father because I had to finish high school. We never lived together. We have tried talking to him and it hasn't helped. We've punished him but still he keeps on getting worse. What should I do? I am really angry, embarrassed and confused. If I am not mistaken, this is his third year acting like this.

  • 61
    Wow. There may be some people here with experience on this but I recommend seeing a professional. This strikes me as a potentially very dangerous situation down the road. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 13:21
  • 5
    Do you mean "he fingers them", not "he figures them"? (Meaning 3 of en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fingering ) (Wish I didn't have to write this!) Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 7:29
  • 90
    Age-innappropriate knowledge of sex is a sign of sexual abuse. Seek serious help, now. Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 8:17
  • 4
    When he says he learned it from you - is there a chance you or his father might have been caught in the act at some point? Equally he may have seen something inappropriate from the internet somewhere? Just because he's seen something inappropriate and is acting out shouldn't automatically mean he's being abused (although by acting out he's abusing others.) +1 to the advice to get the situation checked out by a professional. Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 0:11
  • 6
    He has been doing this since he was 2 years old?! I only read this question 3 years after it was asked, so I'm curious as to what happened to him. What did you do and how did it turn out? Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 15:58

6 Answers 6


You absolutely need to seek professional help.

The fact that he is forcing other children to perform sexual activities indicates that this is a VERY serious problem that you need to address immediately.

Try to find a psychologist, councilor, or social worker who specializes in working with children. If they feel they aren't the right people to help you, at the very least they can provide you with referrals to help find the appropriate professional to help your son.

  • 44
    Definitely. Do it now! There is something going on here that has caused this behaviour and you need to get it identified!
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 14:21
  • 4
    This. Do this now. What the op is describing sounds more like rape than sexual activity. Maybe no one will charge a 5 year old, but it is only a matter of time
    – gillonba
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:41

Overly sexual behavior for kids is abnormal and often a sign of sexual abuse. You must seek professional help, and based on its conclusions, you may have to involve the law.

  • 2
    I wouldn't go as far as police just yet. Pretty much all answers here suggest professional help. Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 14:34
  • 22
    I didn't suggest going to the police. I said seek professional help, but be ready, you may have to involve to law based on the professional help findings and conclusions.
    – JasonGenX
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:03

Well, it came from somewhere. Someone, at some point, showed him those things in the best case or did such things to him in the worst case.

Can't throw accusations around and it doesn't really matter now - the damage has been done, and must be fixed as soon as possible by professional help as suggested in this other answer.

What I wanted to add is that in such age this is unlikely that the child already has "sexuality" of his own and enjoys what he's doing in a sexual way. More likely that for him it's just a game which he learned and came to like. We can't really know it though, unless we ask the child himself.

That said, in the future this might cause serious problems, so it better be addressed seriously as soon as possible.

  • 3
    It's not necessary, although it's perfectly possible, that he was taught such things from another. There are plenty of disorders that cause sexually explicit behaviors--tourrettes, schizophrenia, et al.
    – Kato
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 2:46
  • 3
    @Kato hard to believe, but not being a professional can't say for sure. Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:47
  • 2
    I fully agree, it is hard to believe he got these from nowhere (but it might also be from e.g. tv). Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 14:21
  • 5
    Despite my knowlege of and experience with many childhood behavioral, social and learning disorders, I cannot think of one that would creat a situation where without other extenuating circumstances the child would force sexual action on another. Certain disorders can make it more likely that a child will reenact behaviors seen (in person or on TV) without understanding the behaviors (such as Autism) but even that is pretty rare. Commented Nov 4, 2012 at 1:34
  • 3
    You said: in such age the child still doesn't really have "sexuality" of his/her own; it's not like he enjoys what he's doing in a sexual way". Do you have any research to support this? I think it is a preposterous claim. Children may not fully understand sex, but they can definitely get erogenous sexual pleasure from it, including orgasms. I think it is irresponsible to make such claims without proper evidence. Commented May 17, 2013 at 0:54

This is a most disturbing question. In Australia (where I live), there is mandatory reporting for many professions, whether they hear something like this within the course of their employment or not. I for one would report such behavioural problems to the appropriate child services.

I am going to speak frankly, but the lack of education here, that seems apparent about child development and sexual precociousness, is alarming.

As a parent, or any primary caregiver, we have a responsibility to be informed. To educate ourselves about our children and what they need. For some this comes naturally, as it has been taught by a loving and stable family (and no family is perfect, I am talking about the guts of a family). For those, who did not have such beginnings, the journey can be a little more difficult, but equally rewarding.

When I see youth, coupled with ignorance, I shiver to see the cycle being perpetuated.

It needs to be said; this child is sexually abusing other children.

Kudos to you for posting here, I sincerely hope this child is not being punished, but being helped by competent professionals (now that is another discussion).. I am not sure why I am even posting this.. in a flicker of hope that it may somehow help someone, somewhere.


Personally I would get the police involved sooner rather than later.

I am assuming that the South African Police Authorities have specific depts for dealing with child abuse and know how to handle the situation sensitively.

  • And what would they do about this? He isn't legal age to be prosecuted for anything.
    – William
    Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 1:57
  • Investigate the child's "carers". The boy is likely being abused himself. Commented Dec 22, 2020 at 5:51

Please note this answer was to another, less worrying question. In that case, the OP was noting sexual activity between 2 young children of the same age.

I think this is a normal part of child development, and one we as parents often try to redirect to other pursuits. If the other child is unhappy about it, that is a different concern. We need to give our children some understanding and include explaining about privacy, and when to tell mum and dad or how to react if they do feel uncomfortable. I think that parents cannot be told what they should do, but researching it and coming to your own informed conclusions is a good idea. It happens earlier than we think it does!

Although talking with children about bodily changes and sexual matters may feel awkward, providing children with accurate, age-appropriate information is one of the most important things parents can do to make sure children grow up safe, healthy, and secure in their bodies.

LINK - pdf

To parents of infants and toddlers, their children's sexual development may seem a long way off. But actually, sexual development begins in a child's very first years. Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young school-aged kids develop an emotional and physical foundation for sexuality in many subtle ways as they grow.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .