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#1 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did a search for this but nothing came up...

Tonight I went out to dinner with a friend. She was telling me how her daughter and a friend of ours daughter were caught playing "doctor" naked in one of the girls room. She was telling me how she handled it. I wondered aloud if my daughter had ever been involved in this game and the friend assured me that they had only played it the one time and I didn't have to worry. So tonight when I got home I was telling DH about this and he said that he knew about it. I was suprised since the friend told me that DD wasn't there. He said it must have been another time while we were all at one of their houses. DH knew about it because the other two girls were playing doctor in the tent and they wouldn't let DD join and DD was upset and came to let DH know.

When DD got home tonight I asked her if she had ever played dr with these two friends and she said yes they had more than once (all of these girls are 5, I should add). I asked her what they did when they were playing dr and she told me that one of the girls will lie down and the other two will "examine" her vagina with pretend dr instruments (the plastic kind). I asked her if she enjoyed this game and she said yes she did. I also asked if they actually placed anything inside of their vaginas or just on the outside and she said they just touched on the outside. She also told me that she has never played this with any of her other friends (girl or boy) and that it's one little girl who always wants to start it (they are always at her house when they play it too).

My first reaction is that this is completely normal. They are just exploring eachother's bodies. My second reaction was pretty much wanting to cry because I felt like some of my DD's innocence is lost. I don't know if that's rational or not. I do really feel like this is normal behavior for this age.

My question is how should I handle this? Is this something I should stop? Should I call the other moms and tell them that this wasn't a one time thing? The other moms are not into GD at all, and that is why I hesitate to tell them. With my DD we talked about it calmly. I just asked her a few questions and she was open and honest because she knew I wasn't going to be upset with her for telling the truth. I know that will not be the case with the other two girls and that really bothers me.

Anyway, I really don't know what to do and I would love any and all advice from you lovely mamas!

Thanks

Sarah loving wife to Scot...joyous mama to...
Emilee and Elaina and our newest addition Elliot Bell 9/15/10
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#2 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 04:05 AM
 
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Hmnm... I guess the question is what the reasoning behind the motivation is -- do you suspect that the girl who 'starts it' has been sexually abused? If so, that's a good reason to bring it up.

If it's just to warn the parents that it's going on -- I dunno. It's great that your daughter can be so open about it -- you don't want to give the other kids a complex because their parents overreact.

If your motive is to stop your daughter playing this game, then I'd have a talk with her about how that part of your body is private, and it's not OK, even in playing, for friends to touch it, examine it, etc.

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#3 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 04:08 AM
 
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i dont know. if you are comfortable with your dd, i dont think i woudl say anything unless you suspect abuse. doesnt sound like the other parents will be nice about it. if you just prefer your dd not to play that anymore with them, that discussion can just be between teh 2 of you.

i do think its normal for the age though.
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#4 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 06:18 AM
 
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I really don't get how so many people on this board, consider this type of exploration age appropriate and normal. There are lots of other ways to play dr, taking pulse, blood pressure, listening to heart beat and breathing with a stethescope. Ask yourself, why is this game called dr? Is looking and probing around the vaginal area somehting that your children normally experience at the dr? Or does it sound more like what an adult taking advantage of a child might describe as dr play?

Let me put it this way, even though it is "playful" and taking place between the same age group. Don't you see that the initial intrest might be motivated by a child who is trying to cope with the abuse she is suffering?

People your children need to know how to protect themselves. You must educate them that there are sexual predetors in this world. How will they know the difference when this type of "play" is condoned.
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#5 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 06:37 AM
 
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Hi, sorry to intrude all of a sudden, I've been on the board for a while, but don't often contribute...
When we (my brothers & I) were small this game was called Doctors & Nurses, it was great fun: it included pulse taking and sore tummies and operations, but I think also it was a was of checking out the similarities and differences of other children's genitalia, there was a kind of excitement to it as well, because you knew a lot of grown-ups would think it was wrong, because it involved "rude bits" although I could never understand why my Aunt went ballistic when she found us(cousins) playing it.
Another game I was introduced to by a little friend when I was 5 does worry me now, it was called "secrets" and basically involved masturbating each other, it was all innocent fun for me, I knew it felt nice, but not that it was sexual, but now I wonder how she knew all the sexual stuff and worry that she was being abused, there was a huge difference between the two, and I wouldn't be worried if my daughter played Doctors, but would be concerned if she mentioned participating in the other.
hope this helps.
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#6 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 06:38 AM
 
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I actually remember playing this game when I was little. My mother had a baby when I was 5 and I invented it during her pregnancy, then changed it to "birth" later. I initiated the game with two friends.
I was never sexually abused, and this game didn't change my "innocence" at all. Curiousity about taboos is pretty normal among children this age (just think about how some little kids love to say bum and tell poo jokes, or even swear a lot).

My mother had always taught me that genitals were private places, but I truly did know the difference between playing doctors with a friend and abuse.

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#7 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 12:39 PM
 
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awww (hug) don't worry she hasn't lost her innocence!!
I used to play show and tell with people all the time!! It wasn't sexual - well it was in that it involved genitalia - but I just wanted to see!! I didn't care about seeing girls, only boys I had stopped doing this well before then but I was sexually abused around 8 or 10 and I didn't even know what it was or anything. I didn't like it, but I wasn't traumatized because I didn't even realize something "awful" was happening. Years later I remembered and was like holy shit! The neighbour was a dirty old man! Another thing.. when I was four I was babysat by a lady who had a 5 year old son, we'd play hide and seek with our little siblings and every time he would pull me into the closet and kiss me. I loved it.. and it definitely did not take away any innocence...
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#8 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamas for your advice! I really do know that this is normal and dd didn't loose her innocence. Just when she was telling me about it last night I had this overwhelming urge to bawl my eyes out (could be the late pregnancy hormones too LOL).

I'm still undecided on whether I should tell the other moms or not. The reason why I hesitate to tell the other moms is the way the one mom described how she handled talking about it with the girls. She said she sat them both on the livingroom floor and made them tell her what they were doing. Both little girls were reluctant and the mom finally threatened to make them get undressed and SHOW her what they were doing if they didn't tell. I can't imagine how humiliated and scared those two girls felt during that and I would never want my DD in a situation like that. No wonder the girls didn't want to tell them what they were doing : . Especially because what they were doing is totally normal. Even if it's not really what happens when they go to the dr. I don't know why kids call it playing Dr. I guess it's because they are using dr tools?

Also, I don't want DD to stop playing with these girls. I don't agree with the moms parenting style, but my DD really does enjoy the company of these girls and I would hate to take that away from her because of an innocent exploration of their bodies. What kind of message would that send to DD?

Anyway, thanks again for all of your responses.

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#9 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 04:41 PM
 
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Maybe the girl that starts the game has been to the OB/GYN with her mother, and knows that as "doctor". I can see the roll playing very clearly in my mind's eye. If your daughter spoke about it so openly and without fear and discomfort, I would stongly feel like her innocence is NOT lost, and that they seriously were just playing... The objects were used to examine, not probe... I dunno, it does not strike me as grounds to assume sexual abuse or over react.

I do think that it would be a good idea to meet with the parents in person. Tell them something along the lines of the children are playing this game and they are so innocent that they do not realize that this is not approprate. No one is in trouble, no one is at fault. It is important, however, that we together have a conversation with the children about how parts of the body are private and should not be shared with others, even as a game.

It may be a good idea for the parents to talk it out at length, even writing down concerns or a plan. Then bring the children together, so they have eachother as support and friendship, a shared experience, are all getting the same information, and no one is isolated. Then the parents together make it clear but not frightening; playing doctor is okay. Touching or showing your private areas to eachother or to other people is not safe or approprate. Talk about how putting toys on or inside of the vagina can hurt that body part, how there are other ways to play doctor, and that it is a good rule of thumb to keep your pants on at all time when playing with other kids. Maybe also mention that adults should not ask you to take pants off, and that at the doctor's office it is only okay if mommy or daddy is there with you.

Then open it up for the kids to talk, and ask questions! You may want to discuss this outline with the other parents, so that together you can come up with the information you are all comfortable with the children having if the questions start going in sexual reproductive directions, etc. More importantly, make sure every parent has the chance to voice which things they do not want their child to have information about, and come up with a way to still answer the question.

Above all else, make sure no child is isolated as the "bad" one. Make sure the children know that they are not in trouble. Try not to scare them about their body. But do make it clear that showing and touching privates together is not an approprate way to play.

Once back at home, you can follow it up with your child, providing any specific information that you want her to have, or answer any additional questions she has for you.

I think that innocense is FAR from gone. Quite the opposite. Help he be able to keep that by arming her with an understanding that he private parts are special!
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#10 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 10:43 PM
 
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embers- that was very well put. After your example of a dd going with mom to an OBGYn appt. I thought okay, yeah that could happen. Esspecially since my dd came to all my appts, while I was pregnant with ds, and she was in the room while the dr examined me.

I just get really concerned about this typr of behavior be cause my experince as a child was with another child who was being sexually abused. I did not know it at the time, and our play was consensual, but a little past the range of normal. My mom did not prepare me for this type of exploration.
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#11 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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Having experienced sexual abuse in childhood and having subsequently initiated exploratory play, I personally would be concerned about *how* the child who initiates the play saw this exploration modelled on another person. Granted, a girl with a pregnant mother could have observed an OB/GYN examination. But, that seems somewhat doubtful since it is logistically hard to take a child to an office visit. Also, a child of 5, could have experienced a vaginal examine herself, but most probably not with instruments. (Personally, I would prohibit this type of "well child" examination unless a child had a medical indication.) And having experienced some medical testing is another possibility. However, the apparent private (or secretive) and recurrent aspect of the exploration raises red flags for me.

I am surprised at the frequency that the children are experiencing this naked exploration without observation by an adult. I would deduce that either the adults are otherwise occupied, or the child is seeking the secrecy. Assuming that I knew which child was consistently involved, I would discuss my concerns with her mother. Probably I'd mention it to each of the mothers, individually so that no one feels singled out. At the least, the children need to understand that exploration of others private parts needs to be consensual; and that she has the authority for saying "no" about her own body. We express that ds is welcome to play with his penis in private. It hasn't occured to me that he would want to see or touch someone else's privates. He is 5 y/o also. What would be the motivation (underlying need) except for having had interactive exploration modelled and needing to process it?

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#12 of 19 Old 07-29-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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Well, I've *caught* my girls doing this, sometimes alone, sometimes with each other, a couple of times with friends. The mother and I are very close friends, so we both just react calmly and say that our privates are private and not to be shared. But, I know exactly where my girls got it. A few months ago, I had to have a PAP and there was no one to watch my girls. So they attended, and got a very, very up close and graphic idea of where they came from. My m/w got a kick out of explaining to the girls why my cervix is shaped the way it is, the labia, vulva, etc. It was an enlightening experience for everyone.
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#13 of 19 Old 07-30-2006, 10:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by gsmama2
The reason why I hesitate to tell the other moms is the way the one mom described how she handled talking about it with the girls. She said she sat them both on the livingroom floor and made them tell her what they were doing. Both little girls were reluctant and the mom finally threatened to make them get undressed and SHOW her what they were doing if they didn't tell.

Sorry, I can't seem to get the quote tags to work! Anway, I have to say this was disturbing to me. I think I would let this mom know she was crossing a boundary. I would not be comfortable at all with someone threatening to make my child get undressed for any reason whatsoever.

Originally Posted by gsmama2
So tonight when I got home I was telling DH about this and he said that he knew about it. I was suprised since the friend told me that DD wasn't there. He said it must have been another time while we were all at one of their houses. DH knew about it because the other two girls were playing doctor in the tent and they wouldn't let DD join and DD was upset and came to let DH know.

This was at someone else's home, and DH was there, right? If the tent was at my home I would consider taking it down. It sounds like your dd has already talked to about this comfortably, and that's great. I would want to know if this incident was the first, and how DH handled it if he knew it was happening in the tent. Or if he wasn't the only adult present how it was handled, or did the girls just play without interference on this occaision? I think I would have a lot of question for the adults present so I could have a clearer picture in my mind of what exactly was happening.

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#14 of 19 Old 07-30-2006, 05:43 PM
 
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I played doctor with two little boys next door as a little girl... and I had never been abused sexually in any way. Maybe kids call it "doctor" as an excuse to get to look at each others genitals... what else would they call it really? Especially if we tell our kids "only you, mom & dad, and your doctor should touch there." We create and recreate the taboo with everything we do with our kids, with the very fact that those areas are almost always covered up by clothing.

I think telling two little girls to tell you what they did or get naked and SHOW you is much much more damaging to innocence than a game of doctor among a few little girls.
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#15 of 19 Old 07-30-2006, 06:33 PM
 
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i dont think there's anything to necessarily be worried about just because the kids call the game "doctor." i mean, i don't know anyone who doesn't know what playing "doctor" means. it's a common euphemism (sp?) in our society and i think that a kid of 5 will have probably picked up on it.
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#16 of 19 Old 07-30-2006, 06:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
We express that ds is welcome to play with his penis in private. It hasn't occured to me that he would want to see or touch someone else's privates. He is 5 y/o also. What would be the motivation (underlying need) except for having had interactive exploration modelled and needing to process it?
Well, what about curiosity? My children aren't this old yet, but my dd's pretty curious about penises at the age of 3.5. She thinks it's pretty interesting to see that there are different ways we can be.

Also, the girl inititating it all might already have been reprimanded for it, and that may just have served to further pique her curiosity.

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#17 of 19 Old 08-02-2006, 01:50 PM
 
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When my ds was 5, he and a friend were at my house, playing pirates under a fort in the family room.

Or at least I thought they were playing pirates. Turns out my son's friend "bribed" him into playing "doctor", which meant touching each others penises and bottoms. My son felt coerced into doing it, because his friend promised him he could play with any toy at his house the next time he came over if he participated. My son only wanted to play CandyLand.

I freaked. I was upset about the whole "loss of innocence" thing. I was freaked out at the exploration combined with coercion, which sounded a lot like some adult had modelled that behavior at home with the child.

Finally, I told his mom--who I knew only from preschool, but knew as a good and devoted mom who never left her child with any other caregivers (so I couldn't figure out what was going on.)

She was extremely upset but went home and talked with her husband and her son to figure out why he was engaging in that sort of play.

Turns out her son had JUST had his 5 year old checkup a few weeks prior, in which the doctor needed to feel his genitals (which is typical) to make sure everything was in the right place. Her son resisted and so they ended up making a special appointment to go back (once he was ok with the concept) to do that part of the exam.

We concluded that he was probably working out some of those issues and curiosity and coming back to an equilibrium on the subject with my son. Which ok I don't really appreciate but good to hear that the kid hadn't been abused.

Anyway, now I keep a very close eye on playdates. And my son doesn't appear to have been psychologically or emotionally harmed by the experience and still is good friends with this boy, so all's well that ends well, I suppose...

We did talk with my son about boundaries and that no one should touch him in those areas except mommy, daddy or the doctor and even then only with his permission, etc... so it did give us an avenue through which to talk about these issues...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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#18 of 19 Old 08-02-2006, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
It hasn't occured to me that he would want to see or touch someone else's privates. He is 5 y/o also. What would be the motivation (underlying need) except for having had interactive exploration modelled and needing to process it?

Pat
Just as PP said - curiosity. My DD was very interested in my "private parts" in a sence of where she came from when she was born, did doctor "cut my tummy", did she "come out of my butt" and so on.

I did explain AND showed her where she came from which was immediately followed by her scrunching over to see her own "hole" :

She is also very curious to see DH's privates, but HE is not comfortable with that, and we related it to her.

I am not saying that the particular situation that OP describes is to be brushed off, but saying that I would concider the posibility of just curiosity.
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#19 of 19 Old 08-02-2006, 11:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubamama
Having experienced sexual abuse in childhood and having subsequently initiated exploratory play, I personally would be concerned about *how* the child who initiates the play saw this exploration modelled on another person. Granted, a girl with a pregnant mother could have observed an OB/GYN examination. But, that seems somewhat doubtful since it is logistically hard to take a child to an office visit.
I really don't have any experience with this type of behavior. But I wouldn't say it is hard to take a child with you to an office visit. My oldest, who was 15M-2Y while I pregnant with her little sister, went with me to every single one of my OB/GYN appointments. And they have both since went with me to my post-partum and yearly checkups. Some times SAHM's don't really have other babysitting options and take their kids with them to dr. appointments. If sexual abuse doesn't seem the cause I would suspect the girls witnessed this by going with her mom to the dr.
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