Need help! Daughter touching self at school/home - Mothering Forums

Need help! Daughter touching self at school/home

amhancock's Avatar amhancock (TS)
11:39 AM Liked: 10
#1 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 94
Joined: Dec 2006

I really need some help here!  My daughter has been putting her hand between her legs for some time.  She is now 5 (almost 6) in kindergarten. I have rec'd calls from the school nurse and the teacher about her doing this. They have not shaming her at school, I've asked them to quietly correct her and they've been good about doing that.  I've explained to her that this is not something to do in public. When I see her doing it I just say "hand" or "no hand" and she realizes what she's doing and stops.  But the next moment she's back to doing it again.  I assure the school that there are no health/molestation issues.  I do not want her to feel shameful about her body, but we need her to stop doing this.  It is embarrassing in public and I don't want her to made fun of at school.  We have talked with her time after time about how this is inappropriate in public or in front of other people. Honestly, I have no problem if she wants to go to her room alone.  But at this point nothing we've said is making a difference in curbing this behavior.  It's like she's not even aware she's doing it at times.  What options are there?  Has anyone else gone through this?  Any advice is very, very much appreciated!



earthgirl's Avatar earthgirl
11:50 AM Liked: 22
#2 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 3,562
Joined: Feb 2006

Haven't been through this, but is there any possibility that she has a UTI or something else that may be causing her discomfort? I once had a girl in my class who couldn't seem to stop touching herself and she did end up having a UTI even though she never complained about pain or anything.

Jen Muise's Avatar Jen Muise
12:10 PM Liked: 75
#3 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 233
Joined: Mar 2012

that was my first thought too, that something might be mildly irritiating her - not enough that anyone's noticed, but enough to itch or feel a bit uncomfortable.  I'd bee looking for some kind of infection or rash, make sure underwear fit right, that there were no sensitivities to the laundry soap, feeding her live culture yogurt etc. 

philomom's Avatar philomom
01:13 PM Liked: 2749
#4 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 9,263
Joined: Sep 2004
I'd look into the irritation/allergy thing too. No bubble baths, no body washes... shift to a dye free fragrance free detergent for your clothes.

Also, when you are home.. I'd send her to her room with a smile. It's okay to play with yourself but like picking your nose... no one wants to watch, its private.
NiteNicole's Avatar NiteNicole
01:46 PM Liked: 1344
#5 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 4,580
Joined: May 2003

If she's not getting the hint, there is nothing wrong with saying, "That is private and you need to do it in your room" and make her wash her hands when she comes out.  Every time.  Make her wash her hands even if she stops right away.  Clearly she isn't embarrassed, which is good for her self esteem I guess, but if you make it inconvenient then it might stick in her mind a little better.  This isn't a great comparison but I think every kid I've ever cared for has been a  nose picker.  If I just tell them to stop, they're doing it again within seconds because it's just a habit - like hair twiddling or anything else.  If I actually make them stop what they're doing, get up, and go wash their hands it's eventually inconvenient enough that they start catching themselves and not doing it.

motherhendoula's Avatar motherhendoula
02:03 PM Liked: 1276
#6 of 14
03-29-2012 | Posts: 752
Joined: Feb 2009

I had to tell you that i KNOW what its like!  Every cousin i ever had (males ) had a tight handle on their penises from the age of about 2.5 on, so i steeled myself for this behavior from my SON - never thought about my daughter !- so joke was on me - he wasnt interested  at all ....and my daughter had her hands in her pants constantly. 

She also used to pretend the couch was a horse and 'ride' the arm.  She never did it at school or day care, and i never got the courage up to say anything to her about it - which i regret.

it did go away by itself after a while, and this was during the time when i was single - so it was just me, her and her younger brother around - i guess i thought it wasnt such a big deal as long as it wasnt around other people - she didnt have her own bedroom at the time either.  She did wind up with a few UTI's  i believe it was caused by the constant playing - and NOT washing her hands - so you have nothing to lose by following NiteNicoles advice!!

nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial
01:46 PM Liked: 186
#7 of 14
03-30-2012 | Posts: 4,449
Joined: Nov 2005

I have a daycare girl who was doing this a LOT.  I was getting complaints from other parents, so I got harsh with her.


I wasn't shaming, I just told her that it was not OK, and she had to stop doing that while she was here.  It took a few weeks of reminding her... I can't remember what word I used... it was "no hands", or "turn over" , or something. and eventually she started to understand what I meant by that.


I had originally tried having her nap alone so nobody could see, but she was so obvious, and then it moved from nap time, to every time she found a spot on the floor until it became a constant habit.  I just needed to help her replace the habit with something else.  (which is lying on her back for naptime)


We had a kid in school growing up who would slouch in her chair and put her hands down her pants every time she wasn't writing or coloring.  That was back in the early 70s, and STILL some of us will be talking online, and somebody will mention "Hey, remember that girl who always kept her hands in her pants?".  We don't remember her name, but we remember that.  


If it is a habit, and not an irritation, I'd want to break that habit.  


If it's an irritation, you might want to try changing detergents, soaps (no soap in the tub) and maybe even try a new brand of undies.  It's like that tag that's only noticeable to the person wearing it, you are constantly touching it because it's slightly annoying, but not enough to make a big deal out of.  Especially if she isn't an oversensitive person who would throw herself on the floor and writhe around like she's dying because the sock doesn't feel good.   Maybe something is uncomfortable enough to grope, but not enough for a tantrum.

USAmma's Avatar USAmma
12:30 AM Liked: 2637
#8 of 14
04-05-2012 | Posts: 18,573
Joined: Nov 2001

My oldest did a version of this from early toddlerhood to around 1st grade. Ugh. She would rub herself on the stroller or carseat straps, my hip (!), or position herself on the edge of the coffee table or the arm of the sofa. I took her to the ped to make sure there were no health issues and there were not. I encouraged her once she got old enough to understand, that she needed to do that in her room because it was private. I thought that once she started school it was not happening, but her 1st grade teacher told me she was rubbing herself on the edge of her chair while sitting a certain way in it. I had a gentle talk with her about it at home, about how her teacher noticed she sat a certain way on her chair and she blushed and told me she didn't want to talk about it anymore. I just told her that other people were noticing including her teacher. I asked the teacher later about it and she said it had completely stopped after I had the talk with her. I think social pressure will eventually correct this, at least in public.

honeybunmom's Avatar honeybunmom
04:50 PM Liked: 65
#9 of 14
04-06-2012 | Posts: 1,750
Joined: Jan 2007

My 6 year old is doing this and has been for quite a while.  I have been very clear with her that it is a private matter to touch herself.  I know there is no UIT/infection/allergy/irritation issue because she flatly responds that it feels good.  I have validated that and continue to remind her that touching herself is something to be done in private.  I remind her that it is not an activity for school or any place else outside the house.  I am hoping she will be too engaged by the first grade work to do this there.  The only inkling I have that it is happening at school is that one teacher mentioned to my husband that she may have a UTI.  She had her first accident in over 2 years that day, so, I think she may have been clutching herself because she had to go and that teacher also told her to wait (no issue with the teacher, issue with my daughter waiting until the last minute to go).

blueberrystamps's Avatar blueberrystamps
07:50 PM Liked: 12
#10 of 14
05-05-2012 | Posts: 136
Joined: Nov 2005

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for sharing I have a 4 year old almost 5 that we have been dealing with similar things for awhile. I have not wanted to google it because I had no idea how to word it so as not to come up with things I did not want to find. Any way I am just glad to know my kid is not the only one and we are going to keep working on it.

CrazyCatLady's Avatar CrazyCatLady
04:35 PM Liked: 79
#11 of 14
05-07-2012 | Posts: 4,556
Joined: Aug 2004

My dd is seven and does this in school (well, and at home) too.  For her it's usually a needing to go potty issue.  She always holds in her pee until the last second because she hates the bathrooms at her school.  So that problem is easy enough for us and her teacher to address.  She also complains about "bubbles" down there and I've yet to figure that out.  I'm reminding her constantly and getting no where.  Anyways, I just wanted to thank you all for sharing.  Kind of good to know that I am not alone here.

Thursday Girl's Avatar Thursday Girl
07:41 PM Liked: 1138
#12 of 14
05-09-2012 | Posts: 5,522
Joined: Mar 2004

Two of my daughters do this and I am always trying to get them to do it in private. I have mentioned to my husband that maybe we should take them to the dr and see about a UTI and they had an appointment scheduled but then my car broke. I do need to make another appt for them though.


Melaya- could the bubbles be farts or quifs(sp)? sometimes farts can go forward to the labia and my daughter told me she was farting with her vagina which I told her was called a quif.  The word bubble made me think of it because 2 of my daughters have said their butt was making bubbles when they farted.

CrazyCatLady's Avatar CrazyCatLady
07:55 PM Liked: 79
#13 of 14
05-09-2012 | Posts: 4,556
Joined: Aug 2004
Originally Posted by Thursday Girl View Post

Two of my daughters do this and I am always trying to get them to do it in private. I have mentioned to my husband that maybe we should take them to the dr and see about a UTI and they had an appointment scheduled but then my car broke. I do need to make another appt for them though.


Melaya- could the bubbles be farts or quifs(sp)? sometimes farts can go forward to the labia and my daughter told me she was farting with her vagina which I told her was called a quif.  The word bubble made me think of it because 2 of my daughters have said their butt was making bubbles when they farted.

It probably is.  I remember getting "bubbles" as a kid too and it being pretty uncomfy.  But I don't think that she is having bubbles all.the.time.  And if she is, I am baffled as to how to fix that lol.  Either way, she needs to keep her hands off of her privates in public, bubbles or not lol.  I also plan on taking her to check, yet again, for a UTI.  Just to be sure.

Peggy O'Mara's Avatar Peggy O'Mara
08:11 PM Liked: 176
#14 of 14
05-09-2012 | Posts: 482
Joined: Nov 2001

My daughter used to do this a lot at about 5. She would basically be humping the sides of the coach. Because she was my fourth, it freaked me out a bit, but I just figured it must have felt good and didn't worry too much. I wonder if young ones just get pleasurable sensations and that's all. They are innocent to it, but may just want to check themselves out at that age. I remember my sister and I in the bathtub showing each other our privates at 5 and 8. Boy did my mom get mad. Made my sister and I afraid of each other after that. Oh, my. Think it's normal though.

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