HELP! Masturbation & role playing - Mothering Forums
Parenting > HELP! Masturbation & role playing
juandipr's Avatar juandipr 11:22 PM 07-22-2002
Hi; my son is 3 years and 10 months old. We have always practiced attachment parenting, I am a SAHM and he's still BF. He is a well adjusted, kind and very manageable child.

My question is rather complicated. I know exploring genitalia and masturbation is very normal at this age, but my son just started doing it more frequently and I have a specific worry. I have been training to become a prenatal educator, and since he is always with me, he has attended with me to my workshops, has seen many videos about women giving birth and the subject has been discussed with him as something very normal. But recently, he's started to role play "giving birth" and touches himself while "making up stories about giving birth" as he puts it.

As I analyze it, I think he started role playing and for obvious reasons handled his penis during the "birth" and since then he has been relating the "birth stories" with masturbating. I can't help but find this quite disturbing and have lost sleep wondering if we have made a mistake by exposing him to labor and birth videos, or if his masturbating to this is just a stage that will pass.
I would appreciate any advice on this matter. Thanks!

Jish's Avatar Jish 01:06 AM 07-23-2002
I can't help thinking that it is only a phase. I don't see how a child of that age could put childbirth and masturbation into something strange or twisted. I'm guessing that he is playing "giving birth" and while he is at it, heck, he might have well have some additional fun also. Not trying to be lighthearted about something that is bothering you, but I really don't think that it is something you should worry too much about. Keep an eye on any other strange behavior, or if he invites another child to play this with him, but I'm betting the role playing of "giving birth" will likely run it's course. The masturbation may not.:
lorrielink's Avatar lorrielink 03:16 PM 07-23-2002
i agree, my ds is 3 years and 5 months old and i could see him doing something like that if he were seeing videos like that and being part of conversations like that.

ds's daddy and i were just talking the other night about wheather or not he should have seen womans parts by now and just how to deal with it, it was a long conversations with many sides and we didnt really get to ne conclusion but some of the general ideas we concluded on was that it was a very healthy thing for boys to see Everything about woman, that the usual covering up of all things female just contrubuted to the "mystery" of woman and tended to instill negative thoughts about woman in mens minds, keep in mind this is not just my opionioin i got some of this stait from a man

i think its great that he so involved with what your doing and as a result likely go through some stages that no other kid you know will do for some time, but i think this is a positive thing, by the time hes really old enough to start even being interested in nething sexual he wont have to go through all the confusion and insecurity since there will be no mystery to him and likely hell have a much more profound respect for woman when it comes down to well as have more confidence about his own body and not be so ashamed of natural fundtions like most boys are taught to feel.

sorry if thisdid not really address your concern but i hope youll be able to relax a little and like most of the things im sure youve already experainced with him this too shall pass and become something even more sleep depriving
steph's Avatar steph 03:36 PM 07-23-2002
while i don't have a son, i think this will pass... also, the thought came to me that if he's playing "giving birth", since he doesn't have a vagina that his penis would be the next best thing. sounds pretty innocent to me.
Starfire's Avatar Starfire 04:26 PM 07-23-2002
My son, who s now 5, and my daughter, 6, have both attended births before. And yes I think because he does not have vigina, he will grab his penis. My son has done the same thing. It passed. I think mostley because I told him that women give birth, and as a boy what he can do, is hold hands, help get med. stuff, so now he does have a doll, who is the same size, and he holds her hands and tells her everything is ok. Some times he will yell at me to get water. But that is how we got him from touching himself and the labor thing. It might have passed on it own, who knows.

But my son started being at births at age 2. At age five I have no worries that he might be affaid of anything later in life. I figure if he sees it as normal, and no one is freaked out about it, he will grow up more in touch with reality about babies, sex, and womens bodies.
Piglet68's Avatar Piglet68 11:12 PM 07-23-2002
In Dr. Sears "The Discipline Book", he talks about masturbation at this age and what it means. I don't think you should worry. It is normal for children who are actually educated about what birth is and what it involves to play at giving birth. I'm sure it can be upsetting for you, but I don't think it is anything you need worry about.
juandipr's Avatar juandipr 01:18 PM 07-24-2002
I've always found so much support and reassurance here, it makes me feel less worried when you know other people go through the same as you. Thanks for all your kind and clever replies.
mich's Avatar mich 06:20 PM 07-24-2002
I saw a show on MTV (yes I'm sorry to say we still have cable) It was about promoting masturbation awareness. They talked about the history of masturbation, how it was seen as evil and something that must be stoped at any cost.

The message of the show was that only by talking about it, and recognising 'self pleasuring' as something safe and natural, can the taboo be removed.

It made me think of the history of birth and midwives. Midwives were evil (and burned) because they eased pain. If the birthing mother did not experience pain then the baby and mother were damed. It sounded like they beleived people who masturbated were damed to hell.

Sorry to get so off track, but I have been thinking about this topic alot, and why it is still so taboo, and how I will adress it with my boys.
mamaduck's Avatar mamaduck 06:45 PM 07-24-2002
My 2 year old has been playing with dolls lately and telling me that he is not the daddy -- he is the mommy. That he is a good mommy but a "bad daddy." I think little kids identify strongly with their mother -- esp. if she is with them as primary caregiver. I imagine he is trying to identify with these women as mothers in some way, because you play such an important role in his life. I would consider it a phase in his development, and not abnormal.
juandipr's Avatar juandipr 11:47 PM 07-24-2002
I guess what makes me really uncomfortable is that he hides to do this; he always finds a place under the table or behind a sofa, although he did it in the car today. But he is always looking at me to see if I'm watching him.

When I tried to talk to him about his play, he told me that he doesn't want to tell me what the stories he makes up are about. The he agreed to tell me that he makes up stories about giving birth, that there is a machine that pushes the baby out, etc. But then he started to hide again to do it. It seems to me that somehow he knows what he is doing is taboo. He also said that I would laugh at him (don't know where he got that) and I told him that daddy and mommy would never laugh or make fun of him, that it's ok to touch your private parts but you should do it in private.

I guess it's not the same to think about what your parenting ways are going to be and face reality. I want so much to do the right thing, but I guess I am just dealing with my own feelings about the issue anyway.
rwikene's Avatar rwikene 04:57 AM 07-26-2002
well since you told him to do it in private, maybe that is what he is doing. In my opinion kids at this age start to become modest...I know plenty of children who suddenly don't want to change in front of their moms...even when mom is the primary care person....

even though you may not say something to him about his "play" maybe someone else did....just a thought