5.5 Year Old Still Wanting to Touch Me - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 05-18-2009, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS weaned a year and a half ago, just before his 4th birthday. And I'm looking for advice on how to have him stop touching my chest/breasts. If he sees me get out of the shower, getting dressed, without a bra on, with a bra on, with any arm or chest or neck showing, etc. etc. he wants to touch my breasts, lay on them, etc. Daily I ask him not to -- but clearly his need for this kind of contact runs deep as a 4 year nursling. Help! I cannot stand to be touched by him and find myself fearing the dreaded reach. I also notice myself actively avoiding situations where I know he will be reaching down my shirt or snuggling near my chest. I don't want to abandon him, I've tried gently reminding/redirecting, and even (gasp) walking away until we can try again to sit next to each other without his hand going for my breast. What am I missing? This is, honestly, a daily struggle for me and I want some boundaries around my body.
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#2 of 30 Old 05-18-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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DS weaned a year and a half ago, just before his 4th birthday. And I'm looking for advice on how to have him stop touching my chest/breasts. If he sees me get out of the shower, getting dressed, without a bra on, with a bra on, with any arm or chest or neck showing, etc. etc. he wants to touch my breasts, lay on them, etc. Daily I ask him not to -- but clearly his need for this kind of contact runs deep as a 4 year nursling. Help! I cannot stand to be touched by him and find myself fearing the dreaded reach. I also notice myself actively avoiding situations where I know he will be reaching down my shirt or snuggling near my chest. I don't want to abandon him, I've tried gently reminding/redirecting, and even (gasp) walking away until we can try again to sit next to each other without his hand going for my breast. What am I missing? This is, honestly, a daily struggle for me and I want some boundaries around my body.
You need to set and enforce boundaries with your son. Sit him down and lay out the rules explicitly. Tell him he cannot touch your breasts or put his hand down your shirt. A 5.5 year old is plenty old enough to understand and respect your boundaries. You need to be firm with him whenever he makes a move to break the rules. If you see his hand coming at you, repeat the rules and physically guide his hand away from you. Eliminate situations where it may happen. You son does not need to be in the bathroom with you or watch you dress, so send him out of the room, close the door and lock it, if need be. If you are sitting on the couch and he touches you, remove his hand, repeat the rules, then get up. Don't ask him to stop, tell him firmly. You do need to be consistent and show him that you mean business without being mean or shaming him. By occasionally giving in or letting it slide, you are just reinforcing the unwanted behavior.

You are not abandoning your son. You are teaching him to respect you and your wishes.
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#3 of 30 Old 05-18-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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THis is so interesting to me because my older brother, who is a teen, still likes to stick his hand in my moms cleavage when they are cuddling on the couch. He was breastfed until he was 3 and I was wondering if his need to do this was because he was weaned, but I guess not!
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#4 of 30 Old 05-18-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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THis is so interesting to me because my older brother, who is a teen, still likes to stick his hand in my moms cleavage when they are cuddling on the couch. He was breastfed until he was 3 and I was wondering if his need to do this was because he was weaned, but I guess not!
I don't think I understood you right. Your older brother is a teen? And he still touches your mom's chest? How old are you? Lol
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#5 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 12:43 PM
 
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LOL, I have no idea why I put older, I don't have an older brother!
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#6 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 12:44 PM
 
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LOL, I have no idea why I put older, I don't have an older brother!
..but you do have a teenage brother that touches your moms cleavage?

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#7 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 02:26 PM
 
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my son nursed until age 5 and definitly still wanted to touch me after weaning.
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#8 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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Maybe tell him he can cuddle and snuggle with you/against your chest as long as he doesn't use his hands to touch your breasts, if you're okay with that. I think the chest is seen as a comfort area for almost all people. I know I've noticed many people instinctively snuggle in the the chest when hugging or cuddling. I do!

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#9 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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..but you do have a teenage brother that touches your moms cleavage?
Yep.

I guess it's not as weird as it sounds. She has a mole in her cleavage(I am using the word cleavage loosely as she doesn't really have a full bossom if ya know what I mean

But he still likes to touch it. It is weird, but then again it was his comfort and all that.....blah blah.....you know?
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#10 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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Yep.

I guess it's not as weird as it sounds. She has a mole in her cleavage(I am using the word cleavage loosely as she doesn't really have a full bossom if ya know what I mean

But he still likes to touch it. It is weird, but then again it was his comfort and all that.....blah blah.....you know?
i dont think it is weird at all. its not like they are having sex, my gosh, we raise our kids to be affectionate physically and to not percieve breasts as solely sexual, so of course if a child is nourished at his moms breasts through much of his formative toddler years he will always feel compelled to find closeness with his mom/her breasts in a physical way. obviously if it is not longer mutually desireable the mom could tell him to back off, gently of course. my son loves to touch me and cuddle still and he is almost 8, sometimes if he trys to touch a part of my body, like my backside, and i am uncomfortable with it, i ask him to please not touch me there, end of story, its really not a big deal if you ask me.
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#11 of 30 Old 05-19-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I've just stopped being naked around my almost-six year old. I'm nursing her 6 week old sister now, so she's seeing my breasts again. But, after Maya stopped nursing (in December, she was 5.5) I just stopped changing in front of her, made sure the towel was in reach, etc. Never even said anything about it, just sort of closed the door. Once or twice she wanted contact (when sleeping), but it's now become something she just doesn't do. She wanted to taste the new breast milk and asked me to squirt it in (I would have let her suck) -- that's how not touchy she is. And this is a child who it seemed would NEVER stop nursing. She was SURE she'd never stop. It was peaceful. The boundaries were clear because there wasn't a choice (in a good way).
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#12 of 30 Old 05-20-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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i think there is a natural period of breastlessness for little boys-if you will. the nursling in the beginning turns to his mothers breast for cuddling, hunger, thirst, closeness, all the wonderful things we already know about how fantastic breasts are. then he weans and finds himself in the world he plays in, and learns from and there are no breasts for him during this time (approx 4-16 yrs old give or take). the time of breastlessness-this does not last as he returns seeking the amazing and fantasic comfort of the breast. he must win his place next to a woman from then on, and earn her favor, appreciate the gift of comfort and peace that place next to her heartbeat and soft skin.

I think you asked the question because you know it's not cool, mainly because you are not comfortable with it. Be clear. Touching that is sexually curious must be addressed and stopped, for both of your sakes. if your boy has ever left the house and seen a magazine or television- he has been exposed to the idea that the female body is for touching. its important he hears its not ok for him to touch you like that, or anybody else for that matter. bodies are private, people show it different on tv, but thats not the right way. your body is for you, my body is for me. but reinforce that by covering up- since he is very interested and feels he has permission by way of persistance.

you will not emotionally scar him by telling him to knock it off, but you could by not. he may remember when hes a teenager and be mortified you used to let him touch your breasts when he was a 1st grader. your job is to set boundries for him. your body belongs to you, you are not owned by anyone, not even your child. you can do this, and you will, and when you do you will feel better.

good luck, set the limit, and pat yourself on the back for giving your son the guidance he needs, you are a great mom.

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#13 of 30 Old 05-20-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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Yep.

I guess it's not as weird as it sounds. She has a mole in her cleavage(I am using the word cleavage loosely as she doesn't really have a full bossom if ya know what I mean

But he still likes to touch it. It is weird, but then again it was his comfort and all that.....blah blah.....you know?
Yeah, it is weird, but then again, it sounds like one of those "you had to be there" things.
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#14 of 30 Old 05-20-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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i think there is a natural period of breastlessness for little boys-if you will. ...
....Touching that is sexually curious must be addressed and stopped, for both of your sakes. if your boy has ever left the house and seen a magazine or television- he has been exposed to the idea that the female body is for touching. its important he hears its not ok for him to touch you like that, or anybody else for that matter. bodies are private, people show it different on tv, but thats not the right way. your body is for you, my body is for me. but reinforce that by covering up- since he is very interested and feels he has permission by way of persistance.

you will not emotionally scar him by telling him to knock it off, but you could by not. he may remember when hes a teenager and be mortified you used to let him touch your breasts when he was a 1st grader.....
.......
hmmm. well i have a different opinion, though i somewhat agree with the "period of breastlessness", that is an interesting perspective.

but i believe that regardless of advertising/tv influences, the touches of a first grader or older child are simply loving touches to his/her mother, not some sexually charged possibly deviant thing. unless of course said child was G-d forbid molested or something his point of refernce for touch would then sadly be changed.

also many moms on the boards here have nurse a child into 1st grade (and therefore the child would touch the breasts), its not the norm in western culture, or many other cultures for that matter, but it is done and it is not viewed as sexual by the MDC boards in general as they support Child Led Weaning.
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#15 of 30 Old 05-20-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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One of my 4 yr olds still asks to snuggle with nee nee, I let him in controlled situations like waking up & going to sleep. He was weaned for medical reasons about 6 months ago, I figure he still needs it and it's totally for comfort only, not sexual at all.

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#16 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 01:09 AM
 
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It doesn't matter what other mothers do, have done, or feel comfortable with.

It matters what YOU feel comfortable with. This is your son and your body.

Besides, what lesson do we teach children by modelling the behavior that if someone enjoys doing something to you but it makes you uncomfortable, you should let them do it anyway, no matter how much you hate it?

I would suggest continued redirecting, offering a substitute cuddle object like a blanket or stuffed animal, and just not giving in because every time you do, he'll just learn that if he harrasses you long enough you will give in.
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#17 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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I wholeheartedly agree that the only thing that matters is what you are comfortable with. Period. He won't be scarred by you setting boundaries.

But I totally disagree that cuddling with mom and wanting that security and closeness that they have always known could some how become some sort of twisted sexual exploration game...? That's just wierd and I think the people that think that have something going on with them, not the other way around.
I know for my brother it is almost a subconscious thing. And it literally lasts for like a second, his finger just naturally go to that mole, but then once he knows its there he's satified, like a security thing. It's not like he wants to fondle her. ANd I'm sure that is the same for any child that still seeks that closeness, they just want to know that it's there, that they can still have that intimate closeness with mommy that they have grown up on for the first years of their life. SOme kids will need it, some won't.
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#18 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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These posts make me feel a little better! My son is 6, but I nursed him until he was 1...so that's 5 years without nursing here!
Lately, with my new pregnancy, my chest has almost tripled in size! All of a sudden he notices them, and the other day he asked if he could see them. He also tries to poke at them sometimes. It did make me a little uncomfortable, but well, they are new and interesting lol! So I guess he is just curious. We'll see what happens when I nurse the new baby though!

So, I guess this type of behavior is fairly common with most children. They see something new, or comfortable, and they don't understand why they can't have them anymore!

 
 
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#19 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for sharing your perspectives with me -- it's been very helpful. I liked the concept of breastlessness -- really that's what's going on isn't it? That he had them, now he doesn't. And he may not be quite sure why. All he seems to know is that breasts = comfort and mama love.

I think for me, one of the hard things about saying no is that when I weaned him, I said he could cuddle up on me (them) for as long as he wanted. I thought I might be okay with that ... but I wasn't and I'm not. Once he weaned, I was done. I mean REALLLLLYYY done. So part of my wishy-washiness has been my guilt over telling him something I could not and did not want to sustain. And looking back since he weaned, I can see how I may have re-activated some of his nursing/attachment needs by talking about others nursing, babies nursing, etc when I should have let him notice or bring it up if and when he saw others. I think I only increased his feelings of wanting them again.

I've really struggled with boundaries around nursing and recall earlier posts in this forum I made --- wanting to keep nursing until he was ready to wean and have a sense that my body still belonged to me. And I can see that my lack of clarity around my willingness to be touched in ways that make me uncomfortable has not given him a clear sense of others' boundaries.

So we talked about it this morning -- about how I really don't like it anymore. I thought I would be okay with it but I am not. And how his body is his and my body is mine. I asked him if daddy lets him touch his pee-pee and he said emphatically, Noooooo! So that was helpful. And I asked him who touches him and if he ever doesn't like it. That gave me a chance to remind him of his boundaries and that he can and should say no if someone is touching him and he doesn't like it.

The process of working through this kind of issue for so many years has been helpful on many levels -- like I remembered being touched on the breast for the first time by a guy I was dating. I remember at first saying no -- but then making it okay by saying I was glad he tried. I wanted to be liked so much that I just wouldn't bring myself to express anger and get out of the car and say goodbye. And how my uncle would always kiss me on the lips and gross me out but I never said anything to him. Amazing how our children can help us heal through their behaviors and the situations we co-create with them as parents. I think this time, I may finally be getting it right. It feels much better inside.
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#20 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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Oh, that is fantastic to read, you really worked it out and it sounds like you feel better about everything.

Good job
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#21 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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Don't worry, sisteesmama--I think it's fairly "normal," if you will.

There was a little boy I cared for long ago, and I saw him once, many years later--he was on the verge of teenagerhood, I'd say 11 or so...and he still ran his hands up and down my collarbone and down to my bra line. It's a primitive animal brain thing.
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#22 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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i dont think it is weird at all. its not like they are having sex, my gosh, we raise our kids to be affectionate physically and to not percieve breasts as solely sexual, so of course if a child is nourished at his moms breasts through much of his formative toddler years he will always feel compelled to find closeness with his mom/her breasts in a physical way. obviously if it is not longer mutually desireable the mom could tell him to back off, gently of course. my son loves to touch me and cuddle still and he is almost 8, sometimes if he trys to touch a part of my body, like my backside, and i am uncomfortable with it, i ask him to please not touch me there, end of story, its really not a big deal if you ask me.

sisteesmama- please read my above post, i totally dont think your family is weird.
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#23 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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#24 of 30 Old 05-21-2009, 07:04 PM
 
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Thanks ladies, I appreciate it
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#25 of 30 Old 06-04-2009, 01:00 PM
 
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i'm not sure it's always related to extended nursing, even. a friend of mine weaned her DS when he was 10 months old and he still at 4.5 yo gets comfort from touching her breasts. mama breasts are warms and soft and snuggly.

having said all that, my DS does this too sometimes (i gently MLW'd him in January) and we have put this in the category with touching other peoples' private parts after he did it to his aunt (up till then he'd only ever done it to me), and he seems to totally understand and accept that, he rarely does it anymore.
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#26 of 30 Old 06-11-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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So we talked about it this morning -- about how I really don't like it anymore. I thought I would be okay with it but I am not. And how his body is his and my body is mine. I asked him if daddy lets him touch his pee-pee and he said emphatically, Noooooo! So that was helpful.
That's not an analogy I would personally use. I mean, DS was never really encouraged to touch his father's "pee-pee," as he was he was your breasts, when he was nursing. It's not the same thing at all. Your DS saw your breasts as a place of comfort, not sexual exploration like a PP incorrectly implied.

With uncomfortable types of touches, I have told DS simply that he is bigger ans stronger and his touches feel like big kid touches and not like baby/little kid touches anymore. That made the touches uncomfortable, because it is a sensitive part of the body. He understood.

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#27 of 30 Old 06-15-2009, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aran, interesting point. After a bit of progress from my perspective, we seem to be back to struggling around touching my chest. And the more he "accidently" touches them, the more I cringe. I find setting boundaries around my body to be so difficult with DS. Other boundaries, way easier. But the body message just doesn't go in.... I keep asking myself what his deeper need is here and how I can better meet it. But I can feel the tension in me and it is challenging -- I cringe when he wants contact because it so does not feel relaxed and natural -- like hugging or cuddling.
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#28 of 30 Old 06-18-2009, 11:27 AM
 
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I know you want to meet his needs but think of it this way....what you are teaching him is that he doesn't have to respect other people's bodies. He can do what he wants, even if it bothers/hurts someone else.

And the second half of that lesson is what you are modeling - that you aren't allowed/entitled to say "no" if someone is touching you in a way that makes you uncomfortable. We teach our kids all the time that no one is allowed to touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable - why aren't you entitled to the same consideration?

In this case, your need to establish boundaries, to not be touched when you don't want to, trumps his "need" to touch you. And yes, I put that in quotes because there are many, many, ways to satisfy a child's need for physical affection without crossing the parents' comfort line.
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#29 of 30 Old 06-18-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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My DD weaned just after her 5th birthday, and likes to rub my belly for comfort. So we'll cuddle up and she'll do that. I set boundaries--no poking me in the belly button, and no rubbing my breasts. We've talked about privacy and personal boundaries, regarding that, as well as regarding appropriate ways of climbing into her dad's lap...and how this applies to her, as well as to grownups.

Anyway, she used to bug the heck out of me by rubbing my belly while nursing, but I find I don't mind it so much, usually, now that she isn't nursing. I do seem to be the only lovey she's ever had, no fave blanket or stuffed animal or fingers to suck on here, so I'm in no rush to make her outgrow it.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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#30 of 30 Old 06-19-2009, 09:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyabroad View Post
. What am I missing? This is, honestly, a daily struggle for me and I want some boundaries around my body.
I have finished officially BF with my oldest when she was 4,3 y.o however she could feed ocasionally maybe once in 2 month. I have a little 2 y.o toddler who is still nursing . So they could seat on me and stroke my breasts. They do it not because they are immoral or so, but because my body was their home and it was theirs as well, and breasts are the connection of their body to mine. So I would let him seat next to you, maybe you can wear a top, so he can recieve more sckin to sckin contact?
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