Kids Masturbating

Parent Q&A

  • 8 year old daughter pleasuring herself?

    (5 replies)

    My 8 year old daughter may be pleasuring herself in her car seat. She doesn't have the strap between her legs anymore but when she is in her car seat somehow she is able to rub against it. She has been doing this a long time, prior to this using the strap in between to do so, which we then removed. Now she is starting to tell me that when she does this she gets wet between her legs (she is wondering if she is peeing on herself). I am not sure how to handle this. First, as she gets older I don't want her to feel embarrassed as she starts to understand what she is doing (and talking to me about). Second, she thinks she does this when she feels like she has to pee and it keeps the pee in, so that is about the extent of what she understands. She doesn't know anything about the details of sex although in vague general sense she knows how things work. She is a bit squeamish about bodily functions and will run into the bathroom to see if she has pee in her underwear after she does this and we are at home. I have all the sex books and age appropriate body books ready to go for when the time comes, but I don't think we are there yet. She also says that when she runs she gets wet there (I am not sure if that is pleasure or pee). Since her reporting of this wetness has just been about two to three weeks, I have just responded by saying "sometimes us girls have bodily fluids coming out of different places and it's a part of life"; last night we made a joke about girls springing leaks. She usually she asks right before bed and the few times I've said let's talk more about it tomorrow. I am not sure where/what/how to address this in an age appropriate, positive, healthy manner that will not in the future embarrass her.

    I think the time is now. Books like It’s Perfectly Normal and The American Girl Book (The Care and Keeping of You, The Body Book for Younger Girls) are probably appropriate for her. Note that American Girl publishes a book for older girls, and one for younger ones.  Reviews on Amazon for those books are really helpful! Check them out (they're actually probably even available at the library) and see if you think it’s right for your family. Some girls enter menarche as early as nine (!), although usually later, but there’s nothing wrong with starting the conversation about puberty now. Same with sexuality. Setting aside for The Talk, on some Future Time and Place, can set up a pretty awkward chat. In my experience, it’s easier to have smaller chats as they come up, and the subject can be directed/chosen by the child. Information is power! Help your daughter figure out what’s going on when she’s pleasuring herself, when it’s appropriate to do so, that everyone does it (even you!) and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Good luck!

    I can give you my perspective as a mother of boys. Boys are pretty keen on self-touching, beginning in the toddler years and then, well, forever!  The behavior itself is perfectly normal. The key is that this is *private* behavior. As soon as the kids were old enough to speak, we'd just coach them, consistently, that touching yourself is for private time -- alone in bed or in the bathroom, and "we don't do it in public."  If they forgot and touched themselves, we'd remind them again, have them wash their hands, and carry on. There was no shaming involved, just a very clear boundary about what is socially acceptable and what is not. IMHO, you will really help your daughter (and prevent an actual shaming situation, or worse) by making this clear to her.

    Hello,

    Your daughter could simply be having a Urinary Tract Infection. You could have it checked out by her Pediatrician. You could discuss this with her doctor too. The main concern at her age would be that frequent rubbing down there could lead to an infection. Perhaps if you explain this to her simply she might understand. You could say that it feels good but can burn if the skin gets rubbed too much. She might need pantyliners until this is resolved.

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Questions  

6-year-old daughter has been masturbating lately

Sept 2008

Hi - I can't believe I'm having to ask about this, but my 6-year-old daughter has been masturbating lately. She went through a phase of rubbing against furniture when she was about 4, but it eventually stopped; this is much more extreme. The last few nights she did it pretty vigorously in bed before going to sleep. She has even started going into her room or bathroom at various times of day ''to be alone'' and tells me not to bother her because she ''needs privacy''. I'm worried about why she might be doing it - i.e., is she anxious about something(s)? Perhaps not coincidentally, she has also started getting reprimanded frequently at school for things such as talking over the teacher. For some reason I intuit the two might be related. I just feel so helpless at being able to help her - can anyone steer me to a professional we could see together to address this? I'd be so grateful. Anon


if masterbating is an effective, harmless emotional release for her. do not address it. just give her the privacy she wants. if you think it's related to this other issue, that is what you should be addressing (once the other thing is resolved, the masterbating should lessen IF they are related) talk with her about school; strategize with her teacher about how to motivate her to pay attention... good luck


I think its great that your daughter understands that masturbation is private. She is appropriately trying to get privacy. I know parents who have struggled to get their kids to understand that they need to seek privacy if they want to masturbate, but your kid already understands that. So what exactly is the problem? Do you want her not to masturbate? Why? Let her play


don't worry about it. my 6 yr old has been masturbating vigorously since 2. I think sometimes it calms her down. I draw the line at public masturbating, and she knows I know what's going on when she goes into her room for ''privacy.'' (though sometimes it's to pretend to wear diapers). I also draw the line if she's masturbating when I need her to pay attention. It's kind of funny in our household, and I leave her be unless there's some reason not to, or something else to think about: (''can you wash your hands before we eat dinner?'' or ''honey, let's keep our hands out of our bottom when we have visitors.'')


I was hoping that the answers you received would cover this one, but I feel like I need to offer a different perspective. I was your daughter's age when I experienced a similar situation, and years of my parents avoiding the issue led to years of heart-ache, embarrassment, and even physical issues for me.

Please, please consider talking to your daughter, and if necessary getting a counselor for her. Trust your instincts. Sexual exploration is one thing, but anxiety overlaid upon it (or anything else for that matter) is no longer healthy. Make sure your daughter understands what she's doing, what her body is doing (this discussion can be positive)--but also try to address what might be causing her stress. At 6, she may not be able to link the two, but you can help her work through the one, and hopefully you'll see a decline in her need for ''privacy.''

With luck your daughter is fine, and is enjoying a positive, healthy journey of self-discovery. It certainly couldn't hurt to make sure that the rest of her is okay, too. Best of Luck


6-year-old twins masturbating

Jan 2007

I have twin boys that are 6. I am concerned because they touch eachother in a co-masturbating situation. I have talked to them about how its ok to touch themselves and how they should do it alone, etc. Anybody been through this with their children or had close sibling situations? I am worried about it progressing. I don't care if they masturbate. I care about the doing it to each other bit. freaked out


I realise that there are special issues with twins that have to do with them developing their own individual identities and negotiating the extra closeness they have as twins. That said, many, perhaps most, children do play sexual games that involve touching eachother at this age. In general, I think it is believed that sexual activity between children of the same age that is non-coercive is fine. There certainly are lots of societies and social situations where boys masterbate eachother. I realise this is a bit trickier because they are brothers & twins. I really do not know much about twins, but my guess is that it is developmentally appropriate behavior. You would no doubt hope that they would stop at some point, and I think that in general there is a bit less sexual interest from age 8 - 12. I do think that it is a fundamentally natural and age appropriate activity. However, if it feels really wrong to you, I think telling them that that kind of thing is done in private just with oneself is fine. It could be helpful for you if one or both of them told you a bit about what their thoughts were. That can also be tricky, if you do not want to focus too much attention on the activity. Good luck, and one more thought; they will notice if you are watching them like a hawk, and that will no doubt have its own effect. Joyce


I have a five-year-old and if he had a twin I can totally see him doing the same thing with his twin. So I think this is par for the course for this age. For some kids. My two older boys were not in to it the way this one is. When this one was 2 or 3, there was a lot of glad-the-diaper's-off penis clutching, but that went away after a few months. Now at five, he has rediscovered masturbating. He likes it very much! He can often be found in the morning lying face down on the bed, pajamas at the ankles, you get the picture. I think with your twins you could say the same thing I say to my kid, which is, that it's private, and not something we do around others, and not something we do when we are supposed to be getting dressed and getting ready for school. I'm not sure I'd tell your boys not to do it with each other, because that might make it more appealing and thus more aggravating for you. I know that my son has a lot more fun doing it because I have shown disapproval. So I try to just treat it the same way I treat other annoying behavior like not getting dressed, not picking up toys, etc. You don't want to make them feel badly about it - they will be embarrassed enough about it when they're older, looking back! 


7 year old daughter & Barbie

March 2004

I'm not sure if I did the right thing when yesterday I walked into my 7 year old daughter's room and found her on the floor naked from the waist down playing with her Barbies. I asked her what she was doing and she started crying. I believe she was exploring her genitalia with her Barbie dolls. I told her that wanting to explore herself was very normal, that she should only use her hands/fingers to explore and that using another object might injure her. She was quite upset/embarrassed and didn't want to talk about it any further. I did tell her that if she had any questions she could ask me anything but she just clammed up. Did I handle this correctly? Is this normal for a child so young? I'd love to hear from anyone with a similar experience.
A concerned mom


Yes, it is normal at this age. My daughter isn't old enough yet, but I remember that I started, um, ''exploring'' when I was 7, too. I think you handled it quite well, except for one thing, which you may have done, and just didn't mention, but in case you DIDN'T do it, my suggestion would be also to *apologize* to your daughter for walking in on her. Also, I would strongly urge you to promise never to do it again and that you will always *knock* (and wait for her to say ''you can come in'') before you enter her room. She's old enough now (clearly) to need some privacy, so showing that you acknowledge that and will respect her privacy is really important, I think. anon


7-year-old plays with his penis in public

Oct 2003

My 7-year-old son has gotten into the habit of playing with his penis in public--not unclothed, of course, but touching himself over his pants. He seems at times to be totally unconscious of what he's doing as he can engage in converstion, play a video game, be with friends, etc., and also be touching himself at the same time. I've had many, many talks with him about how inappropriate this behavior is in public, how if he feels the need to touch himself he should do it in private, etc. but the behavior continues.....any suggestions on how to curb it? And no, there's been no trauma or upheaval or abuse in his life! Thanks! concerned and uncomfortable mom


You are not alone! My daughter, now 7.5, has masturbated, sometimes frequently and at length, at inappropriate times, also over clothing, since she very young. It is comforting to her, and immediately stops when I point it out to her. However, it has caused concern at both preschool and now grade school, and raised questions about how to ''cure'' the problem - her integrating when and where it is appropriate into her everyday routine. She tends to do it more when troubled by unrest at home (prior to separation) and this year due to the subsequent divorce, as well as when her hands have to be still - sitting in circle has been a very popular time for her! A solution for us has been to keep her hands less idle while her mind could still pay attention. So those hand exercisers that rock climbers use worked, as well as hacky sacks, that kind of thing. It lets her move her hands and derive comfort in a more appropriate way while in public. And there is no form of abuse in her past either, just something she picked up on from a young age as a comforting thing. Kristen


My son is younger, but this is what I do. When I find himself touching himself I usually ask him if he needs to go to the bathroom. Usually he says no, but that reminder is enough to make him conscious of where his hand is and he stops. I don't know if this is the best route to taming his behavior, but it seems to work without calling too much attention to the situation by others. trying to be subtle