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Teen Fears That He's a Pedophile

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I'm am a 15-year-old male, and I'm worried that I may be a pedophile. Recently, my younger sister, who's 12, had a friend stay overnight. They slept in our lounge room, and I touched her while she was sleeping.

Since then I've been feeling overwhelming guilt and regret, but am still aroused by the thought of it. Should I seek help from a professional?

A: You are tormented and confused by what you did and by continuing to be aroused by the thought of it. The sexual feelings that you experienced and the fact that you were not able to resist touching your sister's friend while she slept, suggest that you do indeed need to seek help from a professional therapist.

This one incident does not make you a pedophile. What it does show you is your need to discuss your sexual feelings and thoughts, as well as all other aspects of your emotional life with a skilled, compassionate therapist. Please make an appointment with a therapist as soon as possible.

Use your primary care doctor or your high-school counselor for recommendations if you need help finding a therapist. Once you begin unburdening yourself and sorting out and understanding your feelings with a therapist, you will begin to see the reasons behind your sexual feelings and actions. Let me know when you have made your first appointment.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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