While some sexual exploration and play are a natural part of childhood sexual development, there are some behaviors that indicate more than harmless curiosity. In some cases, sexual behaviors may develop that pose a risk to the safety and wellbeing of the child and the other children he or she interacts with. Sexually maladaptive behaviors are those that continue to occur even after the child has been told to stop. Additionally, this behavior tends to involve other children, including siblings and friends. As a parent, having a child who displays maladaptive sexual behavior can be extremely frustrating and concerning. You may even feel completely hopeless because you have no idea how to help get your child’s behavior under control.
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we have years of experience helping the families of children with sexually maladaptive behaviors. Our two residential programs offer special programming for a variety of disorders and behavior problems for both children and adolescents. We know that this is a difficult time in your life, but you do not have to go through this alone. The compassionate staff at Millcreek is here to lend a helping hand.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If you are wondering if some of the behavior that your child is engaging in should be cause for concern, there are some behaviors displayed by children which may indicate the presence of sexual behavioral problems. Children with sexually maladaptive behavior usually experience one or more of the following characteristics:
- Behavior is clearly beyond child’s developmental stage
- Behavior involves threats, force, or aggression
- Inappropriate or harmful use of sexual body part
- Behavior is associated with strong emotional reactions, such as anger or anxiety
- Interferes with typical childhood interests and abilities
If you notice any of these warning signs in your child, a residential treatment program is often a good resource for getting the help that your child needs. With proper treatment, children with sexual behavior problems can learn to have respect for themselves and other children. They can learn how to demonstrate healthy behaviors and boundaries.
It is rarely the case that childhood sexual behavior problems are about sexual pleasure. Instead these behaviors are related to anxiety, traumatic experiences, curiosity, and poor impulse control. Children with sexual behavior problems also show other behavioral and social difficulties that can include:
- Impulsiveness or tending to act before thinking
- Difficulties following rules and listening to authority figures
- Problems making friends their own age and having a tendency to play with younger children
- Limited ability to self-soothe
It can be extremely stressful to learn that you have a child who is struggling with sexually problematic behaviors. A residential treatment program can help you learn new strategies for how to deal with your child’s behavior, help your child learn to better manage his or her emotions, and can provide any medication that may be needed.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
If your child is engaging in sexual behavior that is out of the ordinary for his or her developmental stage, interferes with normal interests and activities, involves other children in an upsetting way, takes advantage of younger children, or involves force, then it is time to look into treatment options. Most children with sexually maladaptive behaviors can benefit from a residential treatment program that specializes in treating these types of behaviors. In a residential treatment program, your child can address the sexual behaviors they are experiencing as well as treat any other mental health disorder that may be present. Through regular therapy sessions, effective medication management, and family involvement these children can learn to better control their inappropriate behaviors.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health we are determined to help each child and adolescent learn to make better choices in all aspects of life. We utilize an integrated, multicomponent model that is based on cognitive behavioral therapy when addressing the needs of our clients. CBT is an evidenced based model that has been proven to be effective with a wide variety of populations and diagnoses. Through this approach we can correct maladaptive thinking and teach new coping and problem solving skills. Members of the treatment team will work with residents to facilitate change and to encourage them to take responsibility for their own behavioral changes.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
During the admissions process, each one of our residents will complete a diagnostic assessment and a psychiatric evaluation in order to determine presenting diagnoses and identify treatment needs. Based on the findings of the assessment, a master treatment plan is developed by an interdisciplinary treatment team and is reviewed by our psychiatrist. This master treatment plan will outline treatment goals and objectives for treatment within each problem area and include specific intervention components that will be used. The program model here at Millcreek is divided into four phases and residents must complete the requirements of each phase in order to advance to the next one. Residents will participate in a number of different activities and treatment methods as they advance through the program. These may include:
Medication: Your child’s treatment team may recommend medication to help treat some of the symptoms of your child’s problematic behavior. Medication can help control some of the symptoms of your child’s disorder and allow him or her to engage more in the therapeutic process. If your child is placed on medication it will be closely monitored by his or her treatment team and adjusted as needed. Some patients will receive education regarding the importance of medication management.
Group therapy: Group therapy is held multiple times throughout the week and covers a wide range of topics. Depending upon individualized treatment plans some of the group topics your child may participate in may include: ADLs, social skills, coping skills, self-soothing, and behavior management.
Recreational therapy: Each child and adolescent will regularly participate in recreational therapy, which can include things such as art, sports, going to the park, or other social outings designed to help the development of social skills.
Education: Every resident at Millcreek will attend our fully accredited school program, which is held Monday through Friday. Each child and adolescent will be given an individualized education program based on his or her specific academic needs.
Depending upon the treatment program that your child is enrolled in and their specific treatment needs they may also participate in some of the following:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Therapeutic job and activity program
- Student council
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
Once your child has completed the residential treatment program here at Millcreek, you will be able to meet with a case manager that can help you to identify the next best plan of action for you and your child. Our case managers can help by scheduling follow-up appointments with outpatient providers, as well as by providing you and your child with resources to reach out to in the community. For those patients that qualify, it is also an option to enter into a waiver program where they can return home and still receive needed assistance with daily living skills.