Peer experimentation vs. sexual abuse

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Peer experimentation vs. sexual abuse

We all have a lot of questions about sexual abuse. There is a lot of sexual abuse happening, and it can be very dangerous. We, somehow, have to create a parenting system by keeping two things in mind. One, that boys are sexual creatures; and two, we want to protect them against inappropriate sexuality. Sometimes we just don't know where the line is. A place where I can help draw the line, perhaps, is to look at, if it's peers or experimental; it's probably not sexual abuse. Even if the one boy is a year older than the other boy, it's probably not sexual abuse. If it's a repeated act between someone much older and someone much younger; absolutely it is sexual abuse. Because in that case, someone is much older and younger. You don't know, sometimes, if your son has been abused. One of the things to look at is how early does he get sexualized? In other words -- I mean, every boy at 9 or 10 may start thinking, and by 11 or 12, may start masterbating and so on; but is he starting to masterbate at 8? That's really early. How early does he get sexualized? If you see that it is very early, get him help right away.

View Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC's video on Peer experimentation vs. sexual abuse...


Expert Bio

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Michael Gurian, MFA, CMHC

Family Counselor & Author

Michael Gurian is the New York Times bestselling author of 25 books published in 21 languages. He provides counseling services at the Marycliff Center, in Spokane, Washington. The Gurian Institute, which he co-founded, conducts research internationally, launches pilot programs and trains professionals. Michael has been called "the people's philosopher" for his ability to bring together people's ordinary lives and scientific ideas.

 He has pioneered efforts to bring neuro-biology and brain research into homes, schools, corporations, and public policy. A number of his books have sparked national debate, including The Wonder of Girls, The Wonder of Boys, and Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, and The Minds of Boys.

Michael has served as a consultant to families, corporations, therapists, physicians, school districts, community agencies, churches, criminal justice personnel and other professionals, traveling to approximately 20 cities per year to keynote at conferences. His training videos (also available as DVDs) for parents and volunteers are used by Big Brother and Big Sister agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

 As an educator, Michael previously taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University.  His speaking engagements include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, Macalester College, University of Colorado, University of Missouri-Kansas City, and UCLA. His philosophy reflects the diverse cultures (European, Asian, Middle Eastern and American) in which he has lived, worked and studied.

Michael's work has been featured in various media, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, People Magazine, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Parenting, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, PBS and National Public Radio.

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