I'm sure I'm just worry about this over nothing but my daughter has found her southern parts months ago and will not stop messing with them. She doesn't see any sexual activities that mommy and daddy do what so ever. She will yank and pull and scratches it. Is there any trick to make her stop? I smack her hands( not too hard) and keep telling her not to mess with it, I even try distracting her and try to keep pants on her. I need some help!!
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
It's like the piano--we wash our hands before we touch it because it is a very special thing. So, sometimes saying, "did you wash your hands before you touched your bits?" might be a twist worth taking. It would highlight how important they are and how safe to keep them. But the scratching....I would guess there could be an itch, especially if toddler-goo hands have been in there. Is she just out of diapers? That could be part of the draw also.
But the hand-smacking....that might do a number on her and teach her some unintended things that might not be along the lines of "this is a special place"...it might end up being more of a "this is a very bad place, like the wall socket"..and that might not be the hangup you want her to take to a marriage, kwim?
My DD does it all the time- it's totally normal and it feels good to them. I agree, smacking her hands is likely to give her a super negative association with her vulva. Personally, we don't hit at all, so I think that's a bad idea. I typically tell her that it's private and ask if she wants to go lay in her bed. She's aware that she is more than welcome to do that in her room, on her own, but not with others around. Also, our other big rule is "nothing but fingers".
Holly and David
Adaline (3/20/10), and Charlie (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)
As a former preschool teacher, I can't tell you how many little girls and boys I have seen pleasuring themselves throughout the day! Even older kids will do it under their desks, being ego centric and not realizing teachers can see under the desks too! My kids like to have a go with themselves too. It's totally natural. I do make it clear that these activities have to be done in the privacy and comfort of their own bedroom and it's not polite to do so in front of others.
I would do a quick check that there isn't a yeast infection going on down there (and I hate to even mention it, but you might want to make sure she is the only one touching herself down there) and if everything is fine physically, don't worry about it. Send her to her room, but don't act disgusted or anything. Just be straightforward that this kind of touching is saved for private moments and not in front of other people. No slapping necessary =)
I agree with all the PPs that have said that the behavior should be labeled as "private", and not as "naughty". Another thought, my Little Miss has found her equipment, and generally leaves it alone unless I've got her in the buff for some reason (diaper change, naked time, bath), at which point I'll just gently remove her hand and tell her "Later.", and sometimes tell her why, "Because I am changing your diaper right now, and it's messy in there!", and that solves it neatly. It's a way to have them stop and not restart without shaming, in my view.
And on 09/23/2011, we were three; husband, daughter, and me!
Totally normal behavior. See it all the time. I'm pretty sure ALL kids do it.
Probably the healthiest thing to do is emphasize the time/place rule (in private-vs-in public). I would probably try to convey that the scratching is probably not a good idea (all that tender skin can get inflamed/infected)!
Masturbation is like nose picking.. everyone does it. No one wants to watch. Treat it kindly but require they be discreet.
I think its because its smooth, soft and warm. Sort of like thumb suckers finger soft smooth fabric. If you don't emphasize it; it should pass; it'll get boring. The more you challenge it; the most interesting it becomes, if only to see your reaction. Check for allergies to fabric of undies or maybe the brand of detergent you use. Make sure you rinse her well after bathing.
Doula / Student Midwife
Like every one else has said, this is normal and something most kids do. My DD does the same thing as far as sometimes scratching and pulling, so I just tell her "It's important to be gentle with your vulva", and then just give her some space or distract her, depending on the situation. She isn't masturbating, just kind of exploring. If it gets to the point where she is actually masturbating then I would get more into how that is private (She is 21 mths, and she gets into anything, so right now I wouldn't want to leave her alone, but that hasn't been an issue yet). Also, even though she doesn't have a yeast infection or anything I'm sure it gets itchy sometimes since she's still in diapers.There is certainly no reason to give the impression that she is doing anything bad or wrong, because she is being totally normal. Also the making them wash their hands thing works well for older toddlers, because that usually makes it more trouble than it's worth. Maybe you could try that, plus just emphasize privacy.