3yo humping the couch-setting limits? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 07-01-2002, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a very expressive, happy 3 1/2 year old girl who is really into "rubbing" on the couch. I know that masturbation, etc. is normal, blah, blah, blah. Struggling with whether to and how to set limits for times when there are friends or babysitters over. The current rule is no rubbing on people. Do we say that it has to be done in her room only? I am pretty certain it is a phase, although intense, that will pass with time but don't want to be too permissive. Also don't want a power struggle that could be saved for something more important. She doesn't do it in public or other places- just at home in the living room several times a day. At this age, it is sort of compulsive- like she isn't aware that she is doing it. (There is no history of inappropriate sexual touch- so I don't think it is related to any real life experience.) Hesitant to ask pediatrician because obvious answer is to set limits and direct her to her room. However, given her age and personality this is easier said than done and I think she is still young enough that it doesn't matter. Does this sound similar to anything going on in your home? Looking for similar stories and suggestions. If you think I am crazy for allowing it at all, please save your opinions. Thanks.
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#2 of 13 Old 07-01-2002, 08:45 AM
 
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Well, if your visitors are on the accepting side, I wouldn't set any more limits. When she is older, say 7, or 5, depending on her social maturity, you can then ask her to limit to private space. I think maybe 3 is too young, especially if it seems to be an unconscious thing. My son went to a home day care where the mother's little boy had a thing with the couch. We used to make jokes (in private!!!) about where she was going to put all of the offspring loveseats.

Sarah
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#3 of 13 Old 07-01-2002, 10:50 AM
 
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Hmmm, we've a similar situation. We tell dd that her room is the appropriate venue for that particular activity, and we enforce it. She started at about 3, and at nearly 5 shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, so if it's a phase, it's a long one. I don't see any problem with teaching a three year old that some things are done in private.

Love, love, love the loveseat joke!
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#4 of 13 Old 07-01-2002, 11:17 AM
 
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I work in a daycare, and have seen numerous children as young as 2 1/2 begin to masturbate (rub), usually with blankets or stuffed animals under them. I babysat a little girl who did, often on the couch watching tv or once i sent her to her room to calm down and when i went to check on her , she was on her bed rubbing, and she was about 3 or so years old. I didnt mention to her parent b/c i didnt want to embarrass them, they were always very protective of their children, but i was very accepting of the situation. I never said anything to her about doing it, its natural and it just feels good to them. I guess, though, that if it was my child, i would say that it was something not to be done in front of guests. at three years old i think that they can understand that, and just make sure you let her know that it is okay to do, it is just a private thing to do.
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#5 of 13 Old 07-01-2002, 11:51 AM
 
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My 3 yr old dd is similar. We have taughter her that her bedroom is the appropriate place for those activities. I think it's just common curtosy. We don't make her feel bad about doing it, but it's something to be done in private. Social graces and all that.
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#6 of 13 Old 07-03-2002, 02:32 AM
 
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I'm glad this topic came up! My dd has been doing this since 8 mos. old. Started out in the high chair, then in the stroller and carseat (the strap between her legs) and also on my hip while in the sling. She's finally cut that out and now likes to do it on my leg or on my body if I'm lying in bed. It's soo irritating. It's like, as soon as I sit down she's on me trying to rub. I keep pushing her off and she just jumps right back on me until I stand up. I thought only little boys did this!!!

Anyway she's 18 mos. old so it's a long phase for us too. I don't let her do it in bed, I just keep telling her "down" and pushing her off and she's not trying it as much then. She will try it on various furniture items too, if I'm not available with my leg (ugh!). It's embarassing when we have people over, or if we are visiting. She actually will work herself into a sweat at times!

I have found that she does this more when she's very bored, working on a BM, or has a BM or very wet diaper. I have also found that it doesn't seem to work as well if I take her diaper off. The cloth diaper seems to have enough bulk to somehow make it work for her better than no diaper at all. Not much of a choice there, since I can't let her go around diaperless all day with my wall to wall carpet.

Maybe at age 3 you can set some limits with it, like in her room only. Maybe have a talk about private parts (??).

One other problem I'm having with my dd is she likes to grab and hold my boobs. They are her security object even though she never nursed. SHe has to have one when she's going to sleep and when she's tired. Even when I am pushing her in a grocery cart she'll reach out and hold onto one in the store, and I try to take her hand off and she had a fit. I have to push the cart with my arms straight out so she can't reach me! I'm waiting until she's old enough for the private parts speech to deal with this one, probably around 3-4 if she's still doing it.

All those things the parenting books never talk about . . .

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 13 Old 07-03-2002, 04:47 AM
 
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My dd has done it since 6 months, first on the stroller and highchair straps, now also on table corners. She's almost 3, and we're just starting to clarify that we'd rather she didn't do it on tables outside (the stroller is so ingrained, I don't know of any way to keep her from doing it. Also, we only use the stroller for store trips to put groceries in the bottom, and it's actually kinda nice to have her quiet )

She starts to understand that most people in our culture consider the feelings she creates private, just like they consider those parts private. So far, she does pretty good ~ but I have many friends who've gotten some good giggles out of it
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#8 of 13 Old 07-03-2002, 08:35 PM
 
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Yeah, we've gotten giggles out if it too. Once we were at a playground and Abi put herself over a giant crayon and started doing her thing. My friend's kid came over and started copying her (she normally doesn't do this), and then a little boy came over and saw them doing it and he copied them! It was really funny but at the same time seeing three kids doing that was kind of disturbing so I had to redirect Abi someplace else.

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#9 of 13 Old 07-04-2002, 12:57 AM
 
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My experience with this is to limit where it's done...
there's nothing wrong with private behaviors
(potty, bath, etc)...done in private...no shaming and new rules stated very casually.
This is unlikely but would become an issue as she gets older and receives ostracism for peers. Let's face it...it's not socially acceptable.
In most masturbation behaviors that are this active, ANXIETY is usually driving the energy.
Which is not to say that the child has an anxiety problem...just that the nature of your child may be more spirited, energetic, quick, alert. For example, in a school-aged child, it's not uncommon for him/her to walk in straight from school and start up.
Physical exercise is mandatory for aggressive masturbators.
Like many other instincts, this one needs to be modified. Again, certain times of day or night might be preferred by your dd, and maybe she does this more when stress is high.
I know of a little girl who would hump against trees and broke a huge four poster bed! So, it's really not a funny or irrelevant issue.
One great exercise is to replace the masturbation with other sensuous forms of touch (touching silk, listening to very quiet piano music, licking something unusual, smelling different smells).
Last, I would just confirm no yeast infection...looking at underwear for discharge...etc.
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#10 of 13 Old 07-04-2002, 01:24 AM
 
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OK I should say nothing because my DS plays with his penis alot...but...
The image of a bunch of three yearolds on crayons and USAmma the shopping cart and boob thing:LOL
I know it really isn't funny but it is!
Christina I was thinking the same thing about checking for a yeast infection.
Yea all the things the books never mention.
Thank goodness we have each other
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#11 of 13 Old 07-05-2002, 02:52 AM
 
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christina, thanks for the advice about excercise. My dd's only 18 mos. old but well established in this habit. I notice it mostly when she's bored. I try to keep her busy during the day but I can't do that every minute. When I'm working she'll often start doing it, or if I get engaged in a show she'll come over and do it on my leg. We are housebound right now because of the heat. I try to get her out once a day to the indoor playground but the rest of the time we are at home. She's ahead of the curve and I just honestly thing she gets bored if she's not challenged.

MAMA-J, there def. is some humor in the situation with the shopping cart thing. I just wonder what I'll do when she's big enough to reach me even with my arms straight out! lol!

Darshani

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#12 of 13 Old 07-10-2002, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just in the time I posted this issue, there have been positive developments. My daughter is showing more awareness of the behavior, hence, it is easier to redirect. Also, we went to visit the in-laws and she found really discreet ways to meet this need- I was impressed. This says to me that she understands there are limits, etc. She was also really respectful of the rules around nudity, i.e. "Poppa doesn't like it when people are naked at his house." I would much rather handle it on a case-by-case basis, reserving the "in your room" rule for last, than encounter power struggles on foriegn turf. Not that the two are related necessarily, but, all along I have found if I give her some room for control she does much better in the long run. Reinforces the idea that learning social expectations is a slow process in some areas, but achievable. Thanks.
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#13 of 13 Old 07-10-2002, 04:52 PM
 
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Edited bec. my very protective husband doesn't want our daughter's private habits posted on the internet.
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