I'm 16 and I Can Have Some Troubling Thoughts About Kids

Published: January 09, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I'€™m a 16 year old boy and I think I'm a pedophile. I seem to have a sexual interest in young children. I don't know why I have this. How can I get rid of it? I have never had any sexual contact with any children and in my mind I don'€™t plan to.

Signed: I'm 16 and I Can Have Some Troubling Thoughts About Kids

Dear I'm 16 and I Can Have Some Troubling Thoughts About Kids,

TeenHealthFX has had many teens write in over the years with concerns that they are dealing with a specific mental health or medical health issue. However, in cases like yours where we are only given very vague information about what is happening, it is difficult for us to be able to speculate on what could be going on and why.

That said, FX thinks that it is very important for you to meet with a reputable mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, who can learn more about the thoughts and feelings you have been experiencing, get a better idea of what is going on, and then explain to you their assessment of the situation and what can be done to address it.  

Since you did state that you do not plan to have any contact with children, FX would like to emphasize that there is a difference between our thoughts, feelings and urges and our actions. For example, there is a big difference between an alcoholic who has an urge to drink but doesn’t act on it versus an alcoholic who is actively drinking. There is a big difference between someone who has feelings of wanting to die and someone who has intent to carry out a plan to actually hurt or kill themselves. While these urges, thoughts and feelings can understandably feel distressing to the person dealing with them, it is important to appreciate the difference between what is in our minds and what we do. When we do have thoughts, feelings or urges that are confusing, distressing, or difficult to deal with, please take it as a sign to get help from the trusted adults around you, such as parents/guardians and staff members at school, as well as trusted mental health professionals.

Since you are having difficulty understanding what exactly is going on with you and you would like to address this issue, please reach out for help right away. If you have additional questions or concerns, you can always write back to TeenHealthFX. And if you are having trouble locating a mental health professional, TeenHealthFX would be happy to research some appropriate resources if you would like to write back and tell us the general area where you live.    

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

For a comprehensive list of helpful hotlines and websites for teens, click here.

Signed: TeenHealthFX