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6-Year-Old Child Imitating Sexual Acts But Not Sure Why

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Recently my nanny told me that while I am at work she found my 6 yr old daughter take off her clothes and do sexual acts including touching her abdomen. She even tried having her 18 month old brother to touch her however the nanny saw and immediately stopped them. I need to understand how I should act as I’m extremely disturbed by this behavior. I have removed Ipad completely from her and ensure she is not left at any play dates alone. However is it time to speak to my daughter about sex and if yes can you please direct me to some material that I can reference to help me speak with my daughter on this topic. Thanks.

6-Year-Old Child Imitating Sexual Acts But Not Sure Why

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If she is imitating sexual acts, she could have seen them on the Internet. You noted that she has access to an iPad. That’s one possibility.

She could have seen them on television, even in a suggestive commercial. That’s a possibility.

All other possibilities should be considered, including sexual abuse. Statistically speaking, most sexual abuse of children is committed by someone the child knows. It’s rarely a stranger. Try to think about the people with whom your child interacts.

You seem to be getting secondhand information from the nanny. Have you observed these behaviors yourself? If not, you should. You could put a video recorder in your home. They are relatively cheap. You can get a high quality IP camera for about $100. That way you can clarify what is meant by “do[ing] sexual acts including touching her abdomen.” Touching one’s abdomen is not necessarily a sexual act. Once you observe the behavior, you might have a better idea about what is happening.

You can also ask your daughter directly about the behavior. You should talk to a therapist about how to formulate your questions.

If you have not questioned your daughter and you have not personally observed the behavior, then you still have more information to gather. Once you gather more information, contact a local mental health professional who specializes in working with children. Provide them with all of the details and ask for their advice. They can provide you with specific instructions about how to proceed. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

6-Year-Old Child Imitating Sexual Acts But Not Sure Why

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). 6-Year-Old Child Imitating Sexual Acts But Not Sure Why. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 7, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 26 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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