How to Handle Your Child's Curiosity With Their Private Parts
You'll find him exploring all the nooks and cracks of your house, poking his chubby little hands in any socket he can find. Here's how to help.
Right now, your child is learning to read, draw and possibly use the potty. You'll find him exploring all the nooks and cracks of your house, poking his chubby little hands in any socket he can find. He's also likely to be fascinated about his body. You'll find him touching his toes, pulling his nose, poking his belly, and occasionally fondling his bits.
And as open-minded as you are, chances are that you are probably going to feel extremely uncomfortable when you see your child having fun down there. It’s natural to worry if this behaviour may be a sign of a psychological or developmental problem… or if it’s even normal, but according to experts, such exploration is a normal part of development. So don't be too concerned about it.
Privates on parade
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals for pleasure and self-comfort. Boys and girls may fondle/rub themselves with their hands or other objects.
Up to one-third of children discover masturbation by the age of 3 while exploring their bodies. They find it feels good to touch themselves in this way and continue to do so. Most children do this as a comfort measure much like a dinky is for babies. It also occurs more commonly when a child is sleepy, bored, tense, anxious, or under stress.
During masturbation, children often tend to appear flushed and dazed. The frequency of this behaviour may range from once a week to several times per day.
What to do about it
1. Do not panic
Although the idea of your 3-year-old touching his genitals may freak you out, remind yourself that masturbation is completely normal. It won't cause any physical harm, pose any health risks, or turn your child into a sex fiend Unlike adults, masturbation for kids isn't something sexual, because toddlers don't know what sex is. To them, it's just something else to play with except you take it with you everywhere, and not by choice.
2. Do not shame them
The worst thing you could do is to make your kids feel self-conscious about their sexual exploration. Accept the fact that he enjoys the odd fiddle. At the same time, explain that there is a time and a place for everything.
3. Distract them
If your child masturbates in public, try not to scold him. Instead, try to distract him with an activity that requires the use of his hands. Also calmly remind your child that what he is engaging in is an extremely private affair that should be done in the confines of a bedroom.
4. Be consistent.
Discuss how you are handling this with your spouse and all his caretakers. Consistency is the key to success.
5. Talk to your doctor.
If you feel something amiss, don’t hesitate to ring up your doctor, especially if you suspect that your child has been sexually abused, taught masturbation by someone else or masturbates in public.