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#1 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok. When do children start to masterbate? Is it hormonal or learned or being abused? I'm getting scared and worried and angry....or since they are girls, could it be a yeast infection?
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#2 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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Even small babies can self-stimulate. They learn early on that it feels good to touch certain body parts. How old are your girls? Are there any other signs that make you suspect abuse?

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#3 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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How old are your children?
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#4 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The girls I am talking about are 5 and 2 1/2 yrs. old.
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#5 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:31 PM
 
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No reason girls of that age wouldn't be doing it. I would say that unless there is some outside factor that has you suspicious, the behavior in and of itself is totally normal.
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#6 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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No reason girls of that age wouldn't be doing it. I would say that unless there is some outside factor that has you suspicious, the behavior in and of itself is totally normal.
:
I have more experience with boys, but that sounds completely normal to me, based on what I've seen with dd and a few other little girls in the family.

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#7 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow. really? So how do you handle it when it's in front of you or you see it? I just tell them to stop. sometimes I say what are you doing? why are you doing that? Does smthing hurt/bother you? Do you have to go to the bathroom?(esp. for the 2 1/2 yr. old)
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#8 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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No reason girls of that age wouldn't be doing it. I would say that unless there is some outside factor that has you suspicious, the behavior in and of itself is totally normal.
I agree. Totally normal.

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#9 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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Do you have any other reasons for being suspicious of sexual abuse?

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#10 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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sometimes I say what are you doing? why are you doing that?
This is the wrong way to go about it, in my opinion. I basically explained that that is something we do in private, so if they want to do that, they must go to their bedrooms. Try to avoid saying things that would make them ashamed, there is nothing wrong about exploring their bodies (in private, of course).

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#11 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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wow. really? So how do you handle it when it's in front of you or you see it? I just tell them to stop. sometimes I say what are you doing? why are you doing that? Does smthing hurt/bother you? Do you have to go to the bathroom?(esp. for the 2 1/2 yr. old)
They're doing it because it feels good. There's nothing wrong with self exploration. The most I would ever say to a child about it is something like, "That's private, please do it in your bedroom."

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#12 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 08:27 PM
 
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Around here, we just say "Penis are private." Sometimes I say, "penis are private, please don't play with yours right now (for whatever reason; friends over, in the tub with sister).

That seems to work for both my kids.

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#13 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 08:39 PM
 
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When you say masturbating, are you talking about simply touching or really, fully masturbating? It may not matter to you, but my reaction is different. When DD (2.5) is getting ready for a bath or having her diaper changed, she often touches her genitals. I don't say anything about that. A couple of times she found her clitoris, or I'm assuming from her reaction, which was uncontrollable giggling, and I asked if she wanted me to leave her alone. No shame, just making sure, because that kind of more intense exploration I believe is private.

My DS (4) seems to grab onto his penis constantly, which I see most other boys do as well. If we're at home, I don't say anything. I tell him in public that it's inappropriate to hold himself in front of other people. He's commented before that it feels good (or "funny") to touch his penis, and we talked about that yeah, it does feel good. That's something we can do in our room or the bathroom, and that was the end of the conversation. Sometimes with kids that age, I don't think of it as masturbation, more absent-minded touching, at least what I've seen from boys. Since DD still wears diapers, she can't really touch herself when clothed.

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#14 of 42 Old 04-01-2009, 08:46 PM
 
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They're doing it because it feels good. There's nothing wrong with self exploration. The most I would ever say to a child about it is something like, "That's private, please do it in your bedroom."
Yes, this is what I did. Last year dd1 (now 6) discovered that her genitals had something going on down there and mentioned it to me that she liked to touch herself there. I told her that was fine as long as she kept it to herself and did it in the privacy of her own bedroom.
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#15 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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I would say, "It feels good when you touch your vulva, doesn't it? But you know, sweetie, that's something people do in private. So if you want ever want to do that, just go to your bedroom."

I've given this speech (using "penis") to my boys many a time.
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#16 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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I would say, "It feels good when you touch your vulva, doesn't it? But you know, sweetie, that's something people do in private. So if you want ever want to do that, just go to your bedroom."

I've given this speech (using "penis") to my boys many a time.
yep that.
don't shame them for doing something that feels pleasurable.

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#17 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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Yup, I agree with everyone else, totally normal, even for the 2 1/2 year old.
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#18 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 10:08 AM
 
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I have to disagree with the others and in doing so I am not making any claims about their opinions or parenting.

I would not shame the child. I would distract the child and engage them in something else. I also would innocently talk with the child and ask if they itch to discern if they might have a yeast infection. Although you may be able to discern this in other ways.

A friend of mine, who is a therapist, shared with me that she believed that masterbation in young children can be a sign of stress.

If I felt that it was completely normal at this age, I would be hesitant to tell a child that something should be done in private. That might give an impression of shame and foster aloneness. That is just me.

Ultimately you have to weigh your observations, your instincts, your fear, etc and decide what you think is going on. Regarding sexual abuse: If you fear sexual abuse I might ask yourself why and see if you are seeing other signs of abuse. I would not dismiss your thoughts so quickly but I also would not jump to conclusions about it. There are some great books on sexual abuse and their signs and they might be helpful to read if you feel led to.
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#19 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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aww I typed a response but MDC ate it!

what i said was just that i think it's normal... and i also don't think children should be shamed for playing with themselves. i remember being very curious about my body when i was a little girl!

DS, who is only 21 months old, plays with his penis all the time. at home, i let it go mostly. if we're in public i usually distract him by giving him something else to do or tell him that we don't do that here.... i don't really think it's a big deal. when he does it in playgroup all the mothers laugh because their kids do the same thing. sometimes he has his hands in his pants like al bundy and i'm thinking- ohhh boy!

but you seem to be really concerned -- you said "angry".... i'm not sure why. if you have other reasons to suspect sexual abuse, maybe consult with a thearpist or another professional.
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#20 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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#21 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 07:47 PM
 
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It's perfectly normal, and nothing to teach a child but privacy. It might be a while before the 2.5 year old gets that, but a 5 year old can understand that somethings are better done when your alone.

In children that young masturbation isn't about anything other then doing something that feels good. That tends to be human nature. Something feels good, we do it again.

I can't really see it as a sign of stress, if that's the case then there's a whole lot of stressed out kids in this world.

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#22 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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DD2 has stimulated herself against her car seat strap since she was like 4 months old. Now, she associates riding in the car with doing this. We currently just try to distract her by engaging her in a story or something. We did nothing until she was three. And we only do that because WE are uncomfortable. Same for exploratory behavior at home. When reasonable, I just excuse myself. Otherwise, I just say Privates are for private.
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#23 of 42 Old 04-02-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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It's perfectly normal, and nothing to teach a child but privacy. It might be a while before the 2.5 year old gets that, but a 5 year old can understand that somethings are better done when your alone.

In children that young masturbation isn't about anything other then doing something that feels good. That tends to be human nature. Something feels good, we do it again.

I can't really see it as a sign of stress, if that's the case then there's a whole lot of stressed out kids in this world.
I suppose it could flare up when a child is going through a stressful period - any attempt to feel better, right? But...yeah. Of my three, the one who has been the most...vigorous about this is the one with the most easygoing, non-stress personality of the bunch.

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#24 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 12:18 AM
 
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I have also heard that it can increase drastically, or that they can rub to rawness, during times of stress.

Otherwise, perfectly normal

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#25 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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Uless you see other suspicious signs I think it is totally normal. DD is 2 and seems to always have her hand there when she is watching tv. I don't say anything to her. If it was an older child I would simply tell them that is something we do in private. Mainly b/c I wouldn't want her thinking it is okay to do at school or something. But I would not personally ever tell them to stop or that it is bad. This was done to me and it leads to a lot of shame. I didn't even know really what I was "doing" it just felt good. My parents, esp. my mom were really religious catholics though and i think thats why she would tell us it was wrong.

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#26 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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Normal stuff. If it makes you feel better... Mine did that around 2 or 3 and it was just discovering her bits.

She's back to doing it at 5 and it is hard to explain to her. What is happening is that she's asleep, and her clitoris gets erect for whatever reason (maybe dreaming? Hormones shifting at night? Whatever) and it wakes her up.

She thinks it is an "itch" and comes to us to complain that her yoni itches and she scratches but it won't stop.

Of course if you stimulate, it stays erect so getting her to quit trying to scratch the itch is hard. She doesn't know how to tell the difference between "erect" and "itchy."

We try to distract her so she can get back to sleep by reading or something.

It will pass.

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#27 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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It worries me that you used the word "angry" in regards to them touching themselves. Can you explain what exactly that meant? Di you mean angry at the idea of them being violated, or angry at what they are doing?
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#28 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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i am a single mom. i said nothing. nothing at all. i noticed it was a stress relaxor for her. she would do it when she was vegging. i didnt mind it in front of me. she never did it in front of others. as she grew older it went away. so i got away with saying nothing.

i have seen at daycares and preschool/daycares where children from the age of 2 to 5 doing it at naptime. and no one said anything

i feel the only time you say 'do it in private' is if they DO do it in front of someone. because to me 'do it in private' is a form of shaming them. that there is something wrong that you draw attention too.

it is amazing many kids can figure out social norms by themselves. those who cant need the guidance. but its just something some kids pick up on their own without being taught or guided to.

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#29 of 42 Old 04-03-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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I think most kids discover that it feels good to play with yourself by their first birthday -- if they do it earlier, it's not a sign of anything other than good fine motor skills!

As a preschool teacher I can say that we see it a lot, and it doesn't raise any red flags. We do gently redirect, usually by giving them something to occupy their hands -- e.g. "Hey, let's go play playdough!"
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#30 of 42 Old 04-04-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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My 2.5 y/o old does this it is totally natural and normal behavior. We just tell her it is something that she can do in private and it's fine. She *hates* to wear pants, underpants basically anything on her bottom half, but then is touching herself often-I am totally ok with it, but am getting kinda tired of witnessing it. We are trying to really get her to wear underpants, because it seems like she doesn't seem so tempted. There is no abuse, she just thinks it feels good, which I'm sure it does.

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