Playing with penis' - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 09-09-2003, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 ds' are 3.5 and nearly 5. Until now I've been OK about letting them play with themselves and have gradually introduced limits about not doing it in front of visitors, wearing underpants when we have visitors, etc I suppose I'm not really that comfortable with it because it's not how I was brought up, but I don't pay any attention to it when it's just our family around.

Recently, older ds was trying to touch younger ds who didn't want him to and I explained that it was private...nobody gets to touch you there if you don't want, etc....

And then about a week later they decide they are quite happy playing with each other.

I know I have a hangup about the whole thing so I just don't know where to set the limit. Is it OK for them to play with each other at all? Only until a certain age? Only once? Not at all? There is only 16 months between them so I guess it is just a stage that they are discovering together but I just don't know what's OK.

arcenciel WAHM to 14 and 13yo DS, 9 and 5yo DD

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#2 of 13 Old 09-09-2003, 04:30 PM
 
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My boys are 19 months apart and sometimes do this too.

Like you if one is upset then I step in with the whole "he gets to make the rules about his body" whether it is toes or elbows or penises.

And usually I try to just ignore it if they are both interested and happy. My brother and I are 11 months apart and I can remember touching him in the tub when we were little and don't feel like I have any scars from that part of our relationship We were probably as old as 4 or 5. I was just curious. And it was definately more then once, I don't think it is fair to expect any kid to learn something the first time. I do sometimes distract them, with out mentioning penises at all, I'll just get out the playdough or get ready to go to the park.

Dh also seems to have some sort of knee jerk reaction of you can never touch your brother there, he also has a very close in age sister (14 months apart) and I would imagine that he was told from a very young age not to ever touch his sister there.

I don't know if that helps any or is just more confusing.
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#3 of 13 Old 09-11-2003, 08:40 PM
 
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Personally, I would not let them touch each other. It's enough for kids to touch themselves in private to get to know about their bodies. touching someone else's body in such a private place just sets up that it's okay. Small children don't really stop someone from touching them even a sibling, but they may not feel good about it later. It certainly may not cause them any problems later, but it could so err on the side of safety.
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#4 of 13 Old 09-12-2003, 05:59 PM
 
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I agree with geekmom. Even though their play is innocent exploration, it's probably best to make an absolute rule about other people not touching your sons' penises. If the rules are fuzzy, then it opens the door for someone to take advantage of them later. You know...if it's okay for my big brother to play with my penis, then it might be okay for the teenage babysitter...you get the idea. I don't think that disallowing this type of play will "scar" them as long as you do it sensitively without making them feel ashamed. And of course let them know that solitary exploration in private is always fine!
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#5 of 13 Old 09-12-2003, 06:15 PM
 
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I remember touching my brother's scrotum in the tub - we are four years apart, and I couldn't have been older than 6, which meants omg my mother left my 2yo brother alone with me in the tub... ok, moving on, I don't think that turning a blind eye to sibling touching is going to lead to such fuzzy boundaries. At that age, your sibling isn't that different from yourself. The level of intimacy you have with your sibling is radically different that your relationship with any potential abuser other than a parent.

Slightly OT, but what I do think makes fuzzy boundaries about touch is expecting kids to submit to any touch they are uncomfortable with. People get worried over siblings touching each other's genitals once in a while, but they don't worry enough, imho, about children communicating that they are uncomfortable sitting on an adult's lap, or being kissed or hugged by an adult. The way I think about it, the important thing to communicate to children isn't "no one should ever touch you there," but "no one should touch you in any way that you don't like."
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#6 of 13 Old 09-12-2003, 06:18 PM
 
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touching someone else's body in such a private place just sets up that it's okay.
I guess since I believe that touching other people in such a private place is an important part of thier future, I don't want to say never let any one touch your penis.

I think as long as you focus on what they are comforatable with it will be a guide line for all interactions for the rest of thier lives. Giving them words to say when someone touches you in ways you don't like, and keeping it a subject that can really be discused in your house.
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#7 of 13 Old 09-12-2003, 06:22 PM
 
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Like urklemama said!

I also wanted to add that this really was just as a young child, as a preteen or teenager, I didn't have any desire to touch my brother, and I am confident in saying that if some one else had asked me to touch their penis at that age (4 or 5), I would have felt uncomfortable and known that it wasn't right.
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#8 of 13 Old 09-12-2003, 06:28 PM
 
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Um, I feel like I should add that I, too, have never felt the desire to touch my brother's pink bits after early childhood.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-13-2003, 10:58 AM
 
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I have a question, but first I want to say a few things:
I only have a toddler, and a baby on the way.
And that this is a topic I am very concerned about because there was a lot of abuse in dh's home growing up, and his borther sexually abused his sister, often.

Ok, my thought is that a child's nature is to be explorative, and curiouse (and [b]that[/] is ok,) but not to be sick and abusive. So it must come from somewhere (or someone) else, and in this case I have two very obviouse guesses, but we'll not get into that!
In otherwords, what I hope is that children left to themselves to just be children is ok, and they won't continue to do this as they get older. That this is a normal thing for children to do (?)

Ok, so here's my real question:

As Mallory was saying, I think it's important not to give children the idea that touching and being touched intimately is always wrong, because I don't want them to have the sexual hang ups that most people in this society have.
Do you think that explaining to them that in the future, when they have a partener it will a good thing, but they need to wait until then, or something along those lines?

I would think that this would mostly cause them to be obessed about getting a partener and having sex, etc., but like I said, I only have a toddler and I really can't imagine what it'll be like.
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#10 of 13 Old 09-13-2003, 03:03 PM
 
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I can understand that you are worried about abuse, but I still think that this very playful touching that goes on between my boys is not a bad thing, something they can talk, about not just told to stop, which I think gives the impression that it is something wrong. I mean how does a 2 year old really respond to "don't do that".

And I think if you encourage your children to speak up any time they feel uncomfortable whether it is grandpa or the doctor or you, that is the best thing you can do to prevent abuse- most abusers are people that parents know and trust, and I think that most children are uncomfortable long before any thing too serious happens. My 2 and 3 year olds are comfortable telling someone to stop touching them, although I do occasionally have to tell them if you don't like it say so(not about the penis touching, but all touches). And we play lots of games where thier saying stop is final, like me running after them and stopping when they say so, so that they learn that the people you want to be around stop when you say so.

But there are also things I explain to my children in terms of people in this relationship don't do that. Usually it is my oldest and me- he is very interested in long kisses, and when he tries to kiss me like that, I just tell him that's not how mama's kiss their boys. Or when he nurses I often will rub his back or side and he would try to put my hand on his penis and I would just say mamas don't touch thier boys like that, or you can touch your penis. So I guess I am saying that saying something like brothers don't touch like that or you don't touch your brother like that is a way to stop the touching in this relationship with out forbidding that any one would ever touch thier penis.
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#11 of 13 Old 09-15-2003, 10:20 AM
 
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I was just about to post about this...

My 4 yr old dd is often wanting to feel her brothers (2year old & 3 month old) penis'.

I have been a little unsure about the most sensitive and long-term effective way to deal with this...

shayna
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#12 of 13 Old 09-17-2003, 11:34 AM
 
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I agree that a young child may not register his discomfort with privates play until later, so it's best not to allow others to play with our private areas at all. Also, I think it would be so easy for small children to quickly move from 'ok' touching to 'not-ok' touching (harmful or upsetting) that it's best for them to just stay away from this area of others' bodies altogether.

Saying that it's ok because someday they'll have intimate interactions to me is like saying it's ok to let them drive the car now because someday they will. IMO the capacity to understand how, when and why to touch others' private areas is something that won't come until much later in their development.

Carolyn
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#13 of 13 Old 09-22-2003, 01:37 AM
 
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Difficult, isn't it.

Agreeing with geekmom and chicagomom and others ...

"Private body" issues and how they're handled do have serious implications for adulthood, granted, but as long as you're not smacking their hands or yelling at them or making faces in disgust ... in other words, if it's dealt with respectfully, and as one of those things that, well, this is the way it is, with no judgments made and with no one made to feel badly about it ... well, I don't see that it would cause issues down the road.
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