Is it normal for a two year old girl to be masturbating constantly or does it signal emotional issues? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-31-2011, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am staying with my friend right now whose husband up and left her and her 2 year old girl and moved on with his life.

Her daughter is constantly masturbating by humping. She does it on the stroller seatbelt, on edges of chairs, on people's hips when they pick her up, in the car seat. She strains and grunts and works really hard at it. Pretty much throughout the day.

I am not at all judging her or my friend, as I do think that exploration of body functions in kids is totally normal, but it got me wondering if the separation from her father is somehow bringing up emotional things that are making her self-soothe?


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#2 of 4 Old 03-31-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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I think stimulating behaviour of all sorts is quite common at her age (tensing bodies or fists, walking on tiptoe, head-banging etc). In my preschool classes I've seen it show up as masturbation several times over the years. It'll most likely work itself out and you don't want her to feel shame, but in this situation, because there has been emotional trauma, a session with a good play therapist certainly wouldn't hurt. Also, depending on how verbal she is, I would talk to her (or have her mom talk to her) about how it does feel good but there are appropriate places to explore the feeling (a bedroom for example) and ones where it's not ok, like in public.  


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#3 of 4 Old 04-01-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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I agree with everything the PP said.  I have worked with small children in a variety of settings and, while engaging in self-stimulation constantly is what I would think of as unusual, occasional stimulation seems to be the norm.  One small thought--some children do this because they have a yeast or other kind of infection (in one case, it was a sexually transmitted infection due to abuse).  Might be a thought to check her panties after a day's use to see if everything looks okay.  Glad you are looking out for your friend and her DD.


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#4 of 4 Old 04-04-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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I also feel strongly that you should gently bring it up with her mom, if for no other reason than to encourage her to keep an eye on her daughter.  Her daughter is just a child and is innocent in what she's doing, but predators or potential predators might use her actions as an "excuse" for abuse.  All I'm suggesting is that mom pay extra special occaision when she is around other adults or older kids with her dd and make sure if dd is running around humping everyone's legs, her mom is right there re-directing her and just kinda watching to make sure no one takes advantage of it.

 

And while I know some level of masturbation is normal at that age, constant humping and working so hard at it constantly definitely raises red flags for me.  Just encourage mom to talk to her daughter and watch her daughter and think about who has access to her, just to rule out any situation where maybe a trusted person is being inappropriate (adult or older child).  Who does her daughter play with?  Does mom have child care and what's the set up?

 

It's not about being alarmist, but it is about realizing that it CAN be a trouble sign, just like it can also be a slightly extended version of "normal".  It's always best to just open up communication and in a respectful, supportive way, flag it for mom.

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