3 Yrs old won't stop masturbating! Help!

Shivangi - posted on 04/21/2010 ( 29 moms have responded )

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Hello everyone. I have a 3 yrs old daughter and since she was about 2 yrs old, she's discovered the act of pleasuring herselves. Now, she's so smart that she will tell us to "go" so she can be alone. I have spoken with my Peds Dr. and she assured me that it will pass and not to bring her attention to the act however, it seems to just progress. I or my mother do not have any idea on how to stop her from masturbating ALL the time! Does anyone have any suggestions. My mom is very unhappy about this and scolds her as when she catches my daughter red handed. I am not sure of what could be the problem or why she is doing that constantly and how to stop her. If you have any ideas on how to stop this behavior and explain to her that it is not good to do it ALL the time or any suggestions are welcomed, thanks in advance.

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All children, or most, like to touch them self, it feels good so it's not that strange. But when the behavior gets to be compulsive or unwanted you need to punish the child.

I have slowed down my girls unwanted behavior giving them genital spankings, diaper position spread legs and you can alter between the butt and the genital area. It should be noted that a genital spanking is much more painful than a regular one on the butt, so take it easy...

GKIKASKOULOURAS - posted on 10/09/2012

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TEACH HER TOFUQ HER BROTHER IS THE MOST EASY WAY

Kate - posted on 08/18/2013

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My daughter has been doing this for 4 years, she is 7.... Sometimes it is all she can do, and she seems to not be able to stop.... Its like she has an itch that she can't scratch. It's painful to watch, and makes me feel like I've done something wrong as a parent, or that she is lacking something in her life. We have seen pediatricians, Occupational Therapists, and Councellors. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, but I know that if she gets enough physical activity inthe day, it lessons it. Good Luck to you.....

Anna - posted on 05/12/2013

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I have seen a lot of comments from mums about their kids masturbating. However i thought it would be useful for some of you to hear it from someone who masturbated as a toddler. I started when i can only assume I was 3 years (could be younger) And i can assure all those concerned mothers that no one showed me anything. Really i came across it accidentally when i was washing myself in the bathtub. And let me tell you as a child I knew how to masturbate better than some of the grown ups (Yes, i did orgasm everytime and reached it quickly), and with me being an energetic child it was a good way to release some of that energy. However my parents had no idea what I was doing and they made me feel ashamed whenever they caught me so I quickly learned that it was a private matter and havent been caught since. Although some parents believe in not making the kids feel "ashamed" I think a little bit of some sort of scolding will teacher the child the concept of privacy quicker. I do admit that I often wondered how wrong the thing I was doing was, but it never stopped me or bothered me for that matter. It didnt seem to harm me and it was fun so I just did it in privacy and I learned to be quite (helpful when teen) So just to relax you all - don't worry they will grow up fine, with healthy relationships and sex life - if not better - i kept my virginity untill i was 19 so it didnt affect me in that way, i didnt know anythiing about sex or something going into me until i was reaching my teens. If anything I think this ability to satisfy myself made me less sex crazy than my teenage friends at high school.

I dont think there is anything you can do to stop the behaviour, maybe try to find a hobby or some other way to release the energy as this was mostly the cause but nothing stopped me - However making them a little ashamed of not doing it exactly but being caught doing it will make them think about when and where this should be done. Its all nice to teach them to be comfortable with their bodies, but not too comfortable. There must be a balance. Its like saying its ok to eat sweets all of the time and its not. Its ok sometimes but it must be in moderation and other meals must be respected. This is no different. So you can say to the child its ok to want to do it but dont let anyone catch you doing it.Good luck

Beth - posted on 08/05/2013

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I realize this is old, but it BLOWS MY MIND that anyone would 'punish' their child for doing this!! Seriously?! You 'gently spank' your child's genital area for doing this?? What is wrong with you...people like you ate the reason kids grow up to be ashamed of their bodies. It's completely natural. I totally agree about telling your child their is a time and place (their bedroom), but absolutely DO NOT punish your child for this. They are doing nothing wrong. I have a 3 year old that does it constantly in her bed, which is why I was concerned and in this site. But I now realize what she doing is in privacy, and allowable.

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Kim - posted on 07/31/2014

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When I read the original post here I was thinking maybe someone touched or is continuing to touch this little girl maybe... I'm sorry but just touching her vagina wouldn't give her that much pleasure in the beginning why would you allow your daughter to masturbate for long enough to climax??? Does that happen for kids? I think someone showed her or did it to her... I'm just saying.

As for your daughter, I don't think that anyone did anything to her per say... But maybe she walked in on someone doing something in the shower. I don't think they intentionally showed her I think maybe she saw it and wanted to try it... Maybe she saw it on tv... If your child isn't known to make up stories then I would just casually bring it up to "granma" and tell her you're not accusing her or anything just trying to be a good mover and protect your daughter if you have to. If she loves your child she would not take offense to it at all. A bad mother ignores these types of things and died t look into them and personally I would just tell her that she's not allowed to do that until she's older and understands what she is doing... That's just how I would handle it... In sorry but the parents if the masturbating 3 year old are encouraging her behavior... Put her in time out smack her bottom explain to her that she is doing something that could give her an infection (UTI) which is true... And tell her she will get really sick and it will hurt. I'm not sure if you have discussed where she learned the behavior... Has she ever seen porn or been left alone with untrustworthy people? I'm just saying... I wouldn't go away when she tell you to... I wiuld tell her that she's way to young to be playing with her vagina and that she should wait until she's old enough to understand his her body works and what the purpose of everything is... And if you have to stand there all day and say I'm not leaving you alone to do that disgusting behavior that is not something people do like that this isn't something we talk about with other people let other people know you do it or see you do it. Please take her to a psychiatrist... She needs to be evaluated for molestation... Sometimes people react differently to the trauma and do the opposite of abstinence and become sex crazed. I don't want to label a little girl but maybe you're taking the wrong approach to this... You assume she learned it on her own and the doc said it's normal... Did the doc ask where she learned it? I don't know... Apparently this post is old as shit anyway and I am writing a novel... But I'm going to post this because I took the time to think about this for this long so people are going to read this damn it!

Asadhullah - posted on 03/14/2014

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Allowable?......... Now it will become her habit.... She will get addicted ...... Save her now ....... Me no body saved me .... I am struggling to come out of it ... I lost my health..... One day she might do any thing for sex.... Do u want ur child to become a whore....?... Just do not encourage ur child... To mastrubrate,,

Tameka - posted on 01/21/2014

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I don't understand this mess... You tell your child to do it in private..... No... Because now that you have told your child that now its ok as long as its in private. So now when she gets older and a little boy walks up to her and whispers sweet nothings in her here to get some the first thing that's going to come to her mind is............ My mom and dad said as long as its in private....smdh....

Angell - posted on 12/11/2013

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It's been 3 years since the original post and I honestly hope they didn't actually reprimand their child for this. All shaming and "spanking" your child when they're masturbating is going to do is give them a very unhealthy outlook on sex. All they know is it feels good to them and they're being punished for it, therefore you should teach them not to do it in public, etc. Learn how to talk to them about it instead of doing something that could be harmful to them mentally and emotionally as well as physically.

Allyshia - posted on 04/04/2013

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I have two little boys that play with themselves rather frequently. The 4 year old has slowed down, the almost 3 year old has increased his frequency. I have told them that i know it feels good to touch it, but their privates are just that, private. That no one else wants to, nor should, see their privates, touch their privates, or see them touching their privates. That they should only do that when they are alone in their room, never in front of people.

My 4 year old gets it, and occasionally goes to his room to be alone. The almost 3 year old still needs to be reminded from time to time. It's funny, because instead of exposing himself like his older brother does, he lays on his stomach and "humps". It's quite obvious what he's doing and I just gently remind him that he's supposed to do that in private.

Tiffany - posted on 11/19/2012

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Well I have the same problem, but my girl does it in bathtime, in the car, at grandparents houses, in the living room, eating lunch... It goes on. I have expressed this to her its not appropriate to do that there, and just tonight I caught her in the bathtub shoving a broken bathtub toy into her vagina. Now its gone from bad behaviour to health hazzard. What can I do I've done time outs, and explain it to her every time but its not getting through, just worse.

Luchoo Manish Shiv - posted on 11/13/2012

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You should not Consult a doctor

you should take advice from a vedic astrologer.

give the birth date of your child

Rosemary - posted on 10/01/2012

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all, i knew this to be "normal", but what happened with my daughter is concerning me. I sometimes give my daughter a shower rather than a bath to save time (sometimes i will bring her in with me - towards the end of my shower). just recently while she was in the shower with me, she bent over, i thought in an attempt to pick-up her dora mermaid, but then she just stayed like that to allow the the water to hit her backside. I asked her to stand up so i could wash her hair and instead she sat down in the shower then laid back to allow the water to hit her genital area. i was shocked to say the least and wondered how she knew to do that. i didn't freak out or anything but just casually asked what she was doing and who showed her that. at first she said, mommy, but i knew i hadn't and then when i asked again she say granma's house. she called our babysitter's mom, granma, but we had also just visited with my mother-in-law earlier that day. do you think kids just "figure this stuff out" or do you think someone would have had to show them this? concerened

Michelle - posted on 07/31/2012

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This is normal dont worry. Apparantly most children do this and it can start as young as 1. They normally discover it by accident while exploring (same as when they play with their toes or ears lol) and there is nothing sexual about it-they only do it because it feels good) Do NOT scold her, punish her or make her feel bad about it. Ignore it as long as she does it in private. If she does it in public explain that its private in a calm nice way. It is natural. If something feels good, we want to feel that way again. It does not mean that she will be overly sexual when she is older. It is nothing to worry about.

I can remember trying to stimulate myself as young as six and probably before that...
I always thought there was something wrong with me or that I was an abnormal child because i wanted pleasure but after researching a bit I found lots of sites saying lots of children do this and its nothing to worry about.

I can remember bouncing on a soft ball and it felt nice but that was the only reason I did it. I didnt understand that something could go inside the body etc or I didnt know anything about sex or the opporsite sex. Even when I was a teenager and figured out how to have a proper orgasm-I still didnt think about sleeping with men and kept my virginity until i was 18 so it is nothing to worry about.

If you figure out that something feels nice, of course your going to try to discover that feeling again.

Valerie - posted on 06/02/2012

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try to remember that it is natural, and let your mom know this as well. It is not sexual at her age, but she does know what "feels good". I remember doing it as a kid all the time. I couldn't WAIT for nap time lol. Also, let her know that it is something done in private, and do not make her feel bad about it. Try to redirect her attention if you can but if that doesn't work, tell her she needs to do it in private.

Margaret - posted on 09/01/2011

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I am with you and feel your frustration my son will be 5 in 2 months and he has been doing it for a year now he says he likes it grow and be bigger. He has almost been kicked out of numerous preschools over it. Now it's so bad he was caught on his cot in his public school Preschool class laying on his stomach, playing with his penis and making noise. I have talked to the pediatrician, a counsler, a psychologist and they just tell me it's and age group thing and it's even more heightened with his ADHD. He is very public about it and constantly fonderling where people always ask if he has to go potty. A year later and its only gotten worse.

Emma - posted on 08/27/2011

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My daughter also does this all the time (and in public if she is sitting down) I read on here last week that the general consensus was to not condone it but to get them to understand there's a time and place, which we are trying to do. Like one of the other lady's said I was the same as a child and I too was condoned and now have lots of issues with myself (not sure if its due to that or just me) so I will have a similar issue trying to get my parents not to over react and tell her off for it. I will let you know if I manage to do it when they return from holiday. Not much help but I felt I should post so you don't feel you are the only one dealing with this

Ashley - posted on 06/15/2010

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It sounds like the person who needs to be talked to is YOUR mother. She needs to understand that this is YOUR child and it sounds like You are doing what is right for her, to learn about her new curiosity. Your mother is going to turn her curiosity into a bad thing, and that is not good, because it is not a bad thing to do. It is NOT an abnormal thing for a child to masturbate. But the problem that most people dont understand is that they are NOT doing it for the same reasons (say you or me) are doing it. They are doing it because it is something that feels good. Something new that they haven"t discovered before and they enjoy it. Nicole is exactly right, that she needs to understand that what she is doing is considered "private" and it is to only be done in a private place. Private places are - bathroom, bed, nap time, quiet time. and Not private places are of course, out in public, resturants, in front of family or people etc. .
It needs to be a simple reminder when she is caught doing it in public - NEVER EVER scold her or she is going to grow up thinking that it is not ok to touch herself, or could grow up thinking it is not ok for others to touch her (of course when the time calls, u know what i mean). I remember being told at the age of 5 that I was shaking the bed (when i would sleep in my sisters bed) when i was masturbating, and I needed to do it when I was alone. (its so werid, that i remember that) and my DAD was the one who had to have the talk with me. But he was very calm and relaxed about it. I still masturbate the same way to this day and I am very comfortable with it. I was never in trouble for doing it when i was growing up, but I was reminded by both parents that it was to be done in private.
BAHAHAHA. i cant belive i just said that up there. . but who cares everyone does it!!!!!. .
It sounds like YOU are doing the right thing here, and no offesne to your mama. but she needs to back off and understand she is not helping her in any way, she is just making things worse for her future. Your daughter has only been on this planet for 3 yrs - she doesnt know what she is doing isnt supposed to happen in public. . until told, consistantly and calmly.
I Have worked with children for over 8 yrs. . and I used to have this little girl in daycare who would climb up to the top of the plastic play house outside..and she would rub her self against the edge of the house, every single day, All we could do was bring her down and tell her it was not appropriate to do that outside. I also had another little girl who would do it EVERY nap time. but that was ok. As all the kids were asleep she was busy, quietly under her blanket - where she should be doing it, and was taught to do it.
Good luck with your little one, and I hope you continue to guide her with light on her beautiful journey through life - whether she is masturbating or not LOL.
:)

Christina - posted on 06/14/2010

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My daughter started doing this after we took her favorite blanket away. It was like she was looking for a new way to comfort herself once her blanket was gone. One time I asked her why she was doing it so much and she said "Because it feels SO good!" I guess that was at least an honest answer. I didn't want to scold her for it, because I didn't want to make her feel like it was "bad" or wrong, but I did tell her that it was something she should only do in private. For the most part, she goes in her room. She seems to do it to help herself fall asleep. I would tell your daughter the same thing - it's for private time only. As she gets older she'll be more self-conscious and won't want anyone to see her.

Alyssa - posted on 06/11/2010

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She is just CURIOUS! And scolding and yelling are the worst things to do. Everyone knows kids love to do whats forbidden. I know for a fact that her down-there nerve endings are not developed enough to actually "pleasure" herself. Shes just exploring and it is natural. if you stop paying attention she will eventually find something else to be facsinated with

Shivangi - posted on 04/22/2010

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@ Nicole, Thank you so much for your wonderful suggestions. I will surely put it to good use and try and do these activities with her. I am working like crazy to make ends meet so don't get much time to spend with her. I hate that but that is what I have to do. She loves play dough but she tries to eat it. However will try and make it with her. I let her help me in "child-friendly" tasks while cooking and she loves helping and seeing the result of her efforts! Oh, how I love that smile! :) But I do realize that giving her time is and should be of importance too.

@ Amanda, Thank you for your post. I am not sure of what to say to your parents' adverse reaction. I can understand, because the same thing I kinda experienced...we basically don't tolerate that and it's hard for me to explain it to my mom to just let it be..she will grow out of it..but I can't change her. I tried talking to her but at first she will agree to what I am saying however it feels like it goes in one ear and out the other..what to do. Anyways, thank you both for your suggestions and support. I REALLY appreciate it. :)

Amanda - posted on 04/21/2010

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I can't really help with the why or how to get her to slow down or even stop. however i will say this, from personal experience. I was the same as a child apparently. Instead of being calm and talking about it or telling me to do it in private my parents would scold, spank, or ground. i'm 34 yrs old now and i directly attribute many of my body and sexual issues to that over reaction by my parents. I realize it's not easy to deal with but perhaps scolding isn't the right reaction. No parent wants their child to grow up ashamed of their own body. She seems to understand that she should have privacy for it and i'd say that's a good step in the right direction.



Having read your second post i understand the issues with background and culture. Perhaps you could talk to your mom about it? It's always so much better when everyone is on the same page. After all, you all only want what's best for your child.

[deleted account]

You're welcome!

And don't sweat the mixed messages. Your daughter has hit the age where she recognizes that Gramma has her way of doing things and that you have your way. As long as you continue to be consistent she will be just fine, because you being her Mom, will be who she takes her cue from when it comes to something that you and Gramma don't agree on.

Is it possible she is doing it because she is bored? Is she going to a play group or nursery/preschool (if not is that a possibility)? Are there other friends/family with kids close in age you can visit or have visit you?
I know that having another child around definitely helps with distracting children from masturbating.
The reason I say this is because if it's just your daughter and 3 grown ups, playing on one's own can get boring and as much as we love playing with our own children, they do eventually get bored with us too.

It's all about distraction. Finding activities that keep her attention engaged (tv won't cut it, in her mind she gets more out of masturbating then watching a show).
Going to the library or the park one day. Doing crafts, playing dress up in Mommy's clothing (this even works for boys at that age) on another day.
She's old enough that she can also help "cook" by mixing things together and help put cookie dough on to sheets ect.
Playing with play dough (I have some easy cooked and no cook recipes for home made play dough). If play dough is out because it's too messy (given you are living with your parents, they might not go for play dough if there is lots of carpets). Something called goop is a lot of fun, though messy (can easily be contained in a large Tupperware container at the kitchen counter) but really easy to clean up. Goop is equal parts of water and cornstarch mixed together. It runs liquid when held loose and goes hard when you squeeze it. If it gets on things it tries to a powder and wipes off no problem given it is just corn starch. You could do some basic science experiments. You could take some of her small toys and put them in some plastic containers of water and freeze them, then let her play with them the next day as they melt (best done outside if you can). Another easy one is mixing baking soda with vinegar to make a "volcano" eruption. Sink and float in the a big bowl of water with different objects is also fun.
You don't need to fill her day up non stop, but a couple of different things each day can make a world of difference.

She can't hurt herself by doing it too much and trust me she really is normal and healthy. Try not to worry about it (I stress the try, you're a Mom, we Moms always worry even when we don't need to)!

Shivangi - posted on 04/21/2010

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Thanks for the input. I really appreciate the vote of confidence that I am doing something right but telling her that it is not something you do in public, which she doesn't. But she does it so often that it just concerns me. My mom, on theother hand..is a different issue. We are of Indian origin so things like this is unheard of and not acceptable..so for my mom to get irritated is understandable however I can't stop her. I am just worried that me being a single parent and living with my parents, that my daughter is getting way too many mixed messages which I have no control over. I will continue to try and speak with my daughter but hope it will get better. Thank you so much for your input and suggestions.

[deleted account]

Alas your pediatrician is right, it will work itself out on its own.

And it says a lot about your parenting that your daughter asks to be alone to do this. This means she understands it is a private matter.

As someone who has been working in child care for almost 10 years, this has cropped up from time to time in the preschool classroom.

We did not make a big deal out of it, but we did make it clear that it was not acceptable to masturbate in public places (play room, lunch room, outside), but it was okay in private places (cot at naptime under a blanket, bathroom).

So I suggest encouraging your child to do this in appropriate places and times. Times being (nap time/quiet time, bed time). Otherwise, just ignore her unless she is doing it in a public place and then just a quick reminder of where she is and that it is a public space should be enough.



Try not to make it a big deal. Ignore it when you can and try and get everyone else involved in her life doing the same things. If everyone has the same expectations of her she will likely come around faster.

It's tough that your Mom scolds her, because we don't want your daughter to think it's a bad thing to pleasure herself. Try and get your Mom to switch to the "There is a time and a place and this is not the time (or place if it applies)"mentality versus "That's bad stop doing that"



Good luck!

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