I know, I know, it's normal toddler behavior. I know that all toddlers are interested in their genitals, but there are certain times and places for it. Plus I'm not cool with the idea of her grabbing at herself and then rubbing it all over the house. I've been telling her that we don't want to do that because we'll get our germs on our hands, but I'm afraid that'll make her shameful or afraid of her genitals. Am I over-thinking this? Should I just let her do it and then make sure that she washes her hands afterwards? What does everyone else do?
- topicToddlerstagged by System, 2/25/12
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How do I get my toddler to stop sticking her hands down her pants?post #1 of 212/25/12 at 6:54pmThread Starterpost #2 of 212/25/12 at 8:04pmpost #3 of 212/25/12 at 9:38pmThread Starterpost #4 of 212/26/12 at 4:13am
Bathtime and when they were in their own rooms. I just felt it was a good thing to ask them not to do it around everyone else. They're older now and asking them not to do it all around the house has not ruined them. They don't do it anymore and when they're taking their baths and such now they have no problem discussing they parts with me. Or each other for that matter. It's a pretty open house, DH is the only one that gets wigged out when the girls tell him stuff or ask questions. He tries hard not to show it but he does his best.post #5 of 212/26/12 at 9:27ampost #6 of 212/26/12 at 4:55pm
Potty train. E was doing this a lot as well and we went ahead and did pants-free 3 day potty training. The first day she thought it was an awesome free for all, but then quickly realized that every time she reached down we assumed she had to pee and put her on the potty. She picked it up quickly and now only reaches when she does have to pee. She's been pants free at home for a week now and after that first day she has very little interest anymore.post #7 of 212/27/12 at 1:04ampost #8 of 212/27/12 at 3:06am
Might not work until they're a bit older, but I always used humor/distraction with DS (um, he's 8 and I still have to do this ;) I just say, "Hey buddy, did you lose your car keys AGAIN???" Massive giggles, hand out of pants and voila, distracted.
We talked as he was getting older about private time, etc - but it was the absent minded fiddling I wanted to gently bring his attention to without shaming or maing him self-conscious.post #9 of 212/27/12 at 5:58amI used to say you need to wash your hands BEFORE, because your hands have germs, I don't want you putting germs into your body. That way I could stop the behavior without suggesting private areas are "dirty". Sometimes, though she'd just race to the bathroom, wash her hands, then go back to what she was doing. It was outgrown pretty quickly, but I remember It was incredibly annoying at the time.post #10 of 212/29/12 at 6:22pmThread Starter
She's been potty trained for over 6 months now and still does it. :-P
That's exactly my deal. It's like half the time she's just kind of messing with it while she's watching TV or whatever. I don't want her to think that it's bad, just to realize when it's appropriate. We're talking about the private time thing now and it seems to be helping. Also washing hands afterwards. I think the biggest thing that was bugging me was how her hands smelled gross all the time. :-Ppost #11 of 213/4/12 at 9:53am
Hi There! My son is 21 months (you don't say how old your daughter is) and so far besides a little tugging during dipe changes and baths he's shown little interest in his genitals, so I am not talking from first hand experience but what I saw a friend do and what I plan to do if and when this comes up for us:
What she did with her (then) 3 y.o. DD was every time she started playing with herself my friend would say: "Oh do you want to do that now? That's ok but we do that in private so please go to your room / we can leave your room now (if that's where they were)". Usually she actually preferred to be with others or continue doing whatever else was going on so she'd stop. My friend did not say this in a negative tone, was always sure to say "that's okay if you want to touch yourself there", and did not make it a punishment or time-out sort of thing that her DD had to do it in her room.
I like this way because it does not shame the child whatsoever, or instill the message that our bodies and/or sexuality are disgusting or dirty or something to be ashamed of. It just teaches the simple reality that sexual acts or touching our genitals is something done in privacy. Simple. It also does not create a "don't do that!" kind of mentality whereby the child may try to test limits or do it to act out.
I'm sure this wouldn't work for all kids in all situations, obviously, but it did work for my friend and as I saw her do this I was impressed and kept "on file" ever since to pull out if needed.
HTH!post #12 of 214/6/12 at 3:44pmpost #13 of 214/6/12 at 4:10pmQuote:Originally Posted by Seana
I used to say you need to wash your hands BEFORE, because your hands have germs, I don't want you putting germs into your body. That way I could stop the behavior without suggesting private areas are "dirty". Sometimes, though she'd just race to the bathroom, wash her hands, then go back to what she was doing. It was outgrown pretty quickly, but I remember It was incredibly annoying at the time.
Yep, that's my thought, too.
There's a similar thread on mdc right now about a little girl touching herself all the time. Just smile and tell them its like picking your nose.. everyone does it, no one wants to watch. Send them to their room with a gentle nudge. They'll get the idea pretty soon and never feel shame.post #14 of 214/6/12 at 6:33pmQuote:
i think two things you need to consider if you really think masturbation is wrong...
1, i dont think at this age it is really masturbation, its more like fiddling their hair or yanking on an ear than anything else
2. you really are never going to stop another person from masturbating if they want to. You can shame someone into feeling crappy about themselves or brainwash them in to believing that there is some horrible consequence, but really even those dont usually work. Better to turn the other cheek or work on corraling the behavior into times when it is not interfering with anything.post #15 of 214/6/12 at 6:34pmQuote:Originally Posted by philomom
Yep, that's my thought, too.
There's a similar thread on mdc right now about a little girl touching herself all the time. Just smile and tell them its like picking your nose.. everyone does it, no one wants to watch. Send them to their room with a gentle nudge. They'll get the idea pretty soon and never feel shame.
ok thats a funny but pretty good analogy!post #16 of 214/6/12 at 9:55pmQuote:
I still struggle with whether or not it's "wrong" (raised Catholic), but it's definitely something that makes me incredibly uncomfortable to acknowledge - I don't even like to think about DH doing it, and I'm 5 mo PG with a kinda rough 1st trimester in which there was very little sex, so...you know...I can do the math...
At this age in particular, though, I don't want to create negativity around it. I don't EVER want to create negativity around it, frankly, but since I don't have it all figured out yet, I've stuck with "that's not what that's for" in a very casual tone, the same way I tell him he can play music on his drum but can't stand on it, or he can eat with his fork but can't use it to poke the dog. We do EC, so he's naked a lot, so if he pulls on it I usually ask if he has to use the potty, and he's had some infection issues so I'll also ask if it hurts, and if he says no and just wants to play with it (often when he's on the potty), we say "hands off the junk," (um, literally...we're kind of crude) or "your penis is for peeing, not for playing with."post #17 of 214/13/12 at 6:11pm
Mm hmm yeah I agree that it wouldn't be really even masturbation at this age, much less sinful - but I don't want to encourage the habit, and I certainly don't want older siblings to hear us say "It's okay to do as long as it's in private" given our beliefs.
What I've read is, as mentioned, the "that's not what this body part is for" explanation... which I do use... but I don't really know how powerful that is for a toddler. Teleological arguments are a bit tricky to grasp, especially because some body parts are multi-functional and creativity with what we can do with them is okay.post #18 of 214/13/12 at 6:33pmpost #19 of 214/15/12 at 8:21amThread Starter
So we've been doing the "private time" thing and sometimes she thinks it's great, but sometimes she gets upset. I'm afraid that with my child that separating her from us is considered punishment in her mind and therefore I'm causing her shame. I may just be overly worried about causing my child shame of her nakedness though. Am I over-reacting? I'm still not cool with her doing it anywhere and everywhere, but I don't want her to think I'm punishing her for wanting to do it.post #20 of 214/15/12 at 5:44pmQuote:Originally Posted by lactatinggirl
So we've been doing the "private time" thing and sometimes she thinks it's great, but sometimes she gets upset. I'm afraid that with my child that separating her from us is considered punishment in her mind and therefore I'm causing her shame. I may just be overly worried about causing my child shame of her nakedness though. Am I over-reacting? I'm still not cool with her doing it anywhere and everywhere, but I don't want her to think I'm punishing her for wanting to do it.
I would just rinse and repeat. Some variation of "glad you noticed that, it is great, but its private...... you need to go to your room or bathroom and shut the door." Smile.
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