how do you get your child to stop humping? my daughter is 2 and a half.

Ratih - posted on 06/29/2011 ( 74 moms have responded )

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Shes generally happy healthy and entertained but likes to hump furniture. ive tried not making a big deal out of it, distraction. embarssment and out of frustration telling her to stop. and she will for a while then it starts again.

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Ann - posted on 01/02/2013

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My 8 year old has been humping her pillow since I can remember. I stayed at home for a while and signed her up to a Mothers Day Out program through a local church when she was 3. They called CPS the 2nd day she went there bc she humped her pillow before nap time. We had a nice visit from CPS, explaining I have spoken to DR's and they say she will out grow it.
Well, she is now 8 and we (parents) are very hesitant on sleep overs. Our close friends know the situation, but now with random school friends, it gets weird. We have tried to stop it and it didn't work. We have told her that is something she can do with her door shut,(we try to keep the door open) then we hear her shutting her door at night. We can even hear hersometimes from the other room. She told me last night, that when she isn't tired, she humps her pillow to get her heart pumping, makes her tired, and can sleep better. I always check on her before I go to bed and half the time she has just collapsed with the pillow still between her legs. I have also threatened to take pillows away.
I don't want her to have a complex, but she is 8 and she masterbates to the point "a little pee pee makes the pillow wet" to go to sleep. How do you explain that it is wrong, when it feels good? All she knows is that it feels good and helps her sleep.

Rachael - posted on 07/01/2011

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This is a perfectly normal part of her development, it is NOT, I repeat NOT a sexual activity to her. She has discovered that her clitoris feels good when it is touched/rubbed. The nurse I did my pediatric clinical rotation with told me stories of girls who "hump" or "grind" against everything from furniture, and lovies to the carseat strap and blankets. Try being honest with your little one. for example: "It feels good when you touch your clitoris huh? You know that is a very special PRIVATE place for only you to touch. You can touch yourself if you want to, but only in private and you can't let anyone else touch you there,"
Yes, I do believe in teaching children (even toddlers) the proper names for their body parts (probably because I was in 4th grade before I learned that I had a vulva, vagina, clitoris and urethra, NOT a "pisher" as my parents always called it.) Good luck, and as embarrassing as it is to you try not to embarrass her because THAT could damage her sexual development. Good luck to you!

Andrea - posted on 02/18/2013

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My daughter just turned 5 and when she was about 2 she also started humping things, not because she was being abused like someone is suggesting but out of curiosity. She would grab one of her stuffed animals and lay on her bed or the floor and grind on it. I spoke with her pediatrician about it and she said its totally normal and will eventually pass. I sat my daughter down and talked to her about it, how yes it feels good and if she must she has to do it in the privacy of her bedroom. She's 5 now and doesn't do it anymore, if she does it's once I'm a blue moon.

Vicki - posted on 07/02/2011

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Sheesh I think it's a bit much to tell someone for certain that their child is being abused, based on a forum post. It's normal for children to discover that their genitals feel good. Yes girls as well as boys. Of course I'm not saying she isn't being abused, but it's not something that can be judged. I know I was well aware of my sexuality, although without a full understanding, before the age of ten and I was never sexually abused.

Fully agree with Rachael, proper explanations are the only way to go.

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Hayley - posted on 01/31/2013

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Something may have touched her there or she did and realized that she thought it was a good feeling or that it's a funny feeling. If she was being sexually abused she would be scared of other people, especially the person who is doing it. Unless she is, I dont think its logical. I'm sure it's normal, hunny.

Hayley - posted on 01/26/2013

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I honestly think it all depends on HOW she is "humping" things. If she gets all into it, then I'd be worried, if not, then I wouldn't worry too much. When I change my son's diaper he always touches himself down there, and no one has showed him. They probably just think it's a funny feeling. They're innocent, they don't know what they're doing! :)

Janine - posted on 01/13/2013

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I am 24 years old. I humped my hands, pillow, furniture all throughout my childhood age 4 and up. At first I didnt know what it meant-- but I learned. (Mostly from people shaming me) I would even do it in public. No one ever explained it to me, just told me to stop it. I figured it out as I got older. To this day I masterbate a lot. I do not think anything is wrong with it. Just make sure you explain it to her-- what it really means/is. No funny words, just real terms and rules for doing it in private. I wish someone had done that for me.

Carrie - posted on 01/01/2013

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I feel for all of you struggling with this... I have a seven year old daughter and she has done this off and on since she was a year old. It seems to stop and start again here and there but she has always done this. She had vesico urethral reflux as an infant, maybe it was that I don't know but I've been told several times by my dr. that it is normal behavior and that she will be fine!! She seems to also do it as a means of comfort when she was a toddler to go to sleep .. who knows? But I know it's not right to make them feel bad about it. I've told her that it is a private thing that she does only in her own room and not in front of other people. She's attemtped to do this out in our living room while watching TV and I tell her if she's going to do that she needs to go to her room.. and she either goes or stops .. I know it's frustrating but, personally, I'm sure they are confident and secure little girls. My daughter is in NO way abused at all. I've had SEVERAL conversations with her that no one is to touch her in private areas etc. Just do your best to have coversations regarding what is appropriate and what isn't and why... she will be fine!
Take care!

Meredith - posted on 12/28/2012

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I used to do it when I was little. It wasn't anything sexual trust me I used to do it to avoid going pee! It also felt a little good but mostly to not have to go " tinkle" if it keeps up just tell her to stop. She doesn't know better so when she gets older and if it keeps up tell her that it is inappropriate to do in public.

Chantal - posted on 12/20/2012

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@Nancy Total, you said your daughter is generally very respectful, explain to her that her public behaviour is very disrespectful, especially at the age of 9 she should understand that. (And by public I mean any place other than in the privacy of her bedroom, bathroom etc) It is just not appropriate behaviour for someone of her age to just masturbate without caring who catches her doing it and she needs to understand that. Of course it's not inappropriate for her to be doing what she is doing, but as soon as she is doing it at her own free will whenever and where ever she wants, it becomes disrespectful. While I don't believe in punishing a child for masturbation, I do believe in punishing them for disrespectful behaviour and at her age, it is definitely not appropriate to just do that whenever she wants. Try the disrespectful thing on her, my daughter understands disrespect fully and does not want to do anything to disrespect anybody. If your daughter on the other hand is doing it purely out of pleasure and feels she needs to do it, you may have to teach her self control...maybe getting her to distract herself or count to 100 if she feels the need to do it at an inappropriate moment? Good luck and don't be too hard on yourself! :)

Nancy - posted on 12/20/2012

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I said today that we might need to ask the doctor or maybe have someone she can talk to that studies things like that and she began crying and said maybe to appease me. I can't believe that came out of my mouth. I just want to pick her up from school now and apologize. I just can't walk in the living room one more time and see it!

Nancy - posted on 12/20/2012

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18 yr old Jessica- Your post really hit home. I feel that today I very much shamed her and I don't do that ever. I am so disappointed in myself, but this has been such a battle for 6 years!!! I feel that I am not equipped to to handle this constant masturbation. I always tell her it's fine, but it is private. But, I am at my wits end. She did last night while at my parents watching T.V. when I walked in from work. She did it when she got home before she went to bed. She did it in the morning when I gave her 15 minutes of T.V. before school. Mind you these times with the T.V. are limited because of this pattern. I keep telling her it is a private thing, so the only time it was okay was in her room. But, I then asked that she go to bed and not stay up all night doing that. It feels so odd to even discuss the matter.
My daughter has been masturbating since she was three and she is 9 years old. There is no history of sexual abuse. When I first noticed this behavior I ignored it, as suggested. Then I noticed she was doing it at daycare at 4yrs old before nap time and I explained it was something to be done in private. And she always does it alone at my parents house in room or my house and it drives me nuts! She is now 9 and there has been months where it has tapered off, but I am so uncomfortable I don't know how to help her understand that it is excessive. She usually does it to calm herself before bed or when bored and watching T.V. I told her it is not acceptable at other peoples homes or even in our own living room. I told her like showering or going to the bathroom, it doesn't mean it's bad that you feel that you need to do it, it just is private. She said she understood. She is really an awesome kid that is very respectful and has always had excellent behavior and grades at school. She is not defiant, but seems unable to conrtol this urge. I have a degree in Psychology, but this hardly makes me qualified to diagnosis her with anything. I don't know what to do! Clearly at loss, I am on forum.
e have discussed that she can

Torilynn - posted on 12/10/2012

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Deff; normal at this age. Just try to redirect the child to something else such as a story book or a snack etc. Shame on the mama, who flat out said the child was abused, as if she lived in your home! She needs parenting classes, tho I feel she meant well. That may have been her circumstance. I,hope not!!!

Nichole - posted on 11/24/2012

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Ok I know this post was a long time ago, but my daughter who is now 4 has been doing this since she was probably between 1 and 2, I have talked to her doctor on numerous ocassions and I have been told it is completely normal. I also have a 7 yr who has never done any thing of the sort, so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is not sexual abuse! I am going to be honest it bothers me very much that she does it, but on the other I can remember me doing it as a little girl and I was never sexually abused. And I can honestly say that (though I don't candone my daughter doing it at such a young age) due to my experience of doing as I grew, I have an orgasm every time my husband and I have sex. Too much info? Sorry but its true! I am just saying all that to say it doesn't always mean they are being sexually abused!

Umm - posted on 11/22/2012

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My daughter has been doing it since she was 9 months old and I have done a lot of reading and it is called gratification disorder or infantile masturbation.

Some research has been done on it and is seems it is linked levels of estrogen and testosterone.

I just wanted to ask if you exclusively breast fed your daughter or was she on formula milk.



Soy milk is known to contain high levels of estrogen so I was wondering maybe its the cause.

Chelsey - posted on 11/19/2012

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My daughter is 2, soon to be 3 & recently this year she started humping her stuffed animals, then the arm rest of the couches, & no trys humping me. It is normal though. I've checked with her doctor & I am a 100% she has never been sexually abused or has she ever witnessed any sexual acts. For all you moms questioning it, humping is very normal. I just tell my daughter to head into the room & continue that alone. Which she does.

Leah - posted on 11/19/2012

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Hi, just a question to everyone out there. My daughter is 4 now and has been doing this since the day her little sister arrived, she was 16mths. I thought it was the stress of a new baby and less mummy time and thought she will grow out of it but hasn't. Has anyone elses child been doing it for this long 2.5 years??? and if they did and have stopped can anyone identify when they stopped and why?

Jessica - posted on 11/12/2012

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Absolutely do NOT punish your child for this and make them feel wrong about this!! I'm 18 years old I used to do this as a child and still remember it and still remember my families reaction to it. My mom simply told me to do this in my bed room that its a something to be done in private. Of course at such a young age its going to be hard to control the urge their still going to want to do it but from my experience I will say be patient with them and definitely don't make them feel its wrong and don't make fun because I remember being made fun of for it and being embarrassed to want to do it. and it made me go crazy wondering what was wrong with me and why I was the only person who wanted to do it.

Julie - posted on 11/05/2012

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MY DAUGTHER IS 3.5 AND HAS BEEN HUMPING THINGS SINCE SHE WAS LIKE 18 MTS AND SHE MOSTLY DOSE IT WHEN IS TIRED AND ABOUT TO GO TO SLEEP. I AM A STAY AT HOME MOM AND MY CHILDREN HARDLY EVER GO ANYWERE I LOVE TO BE WITH THEM SO SENDING THEM OFF TO THE NEXT PERSON TO TAKE CARE OF THEM ISNT FOR ME. I KNOW FOR A FACT SHE WAS NEVER ABUSED. SHE MOSTLY HUMPS PILLOWS AND STUFFED AMINALS BUT I AM UNSURE WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO? DO I PUNSHIER HER DO I TELL HER THATS NASTY DO I SAY ITS OKAY ONLY ALONE IN HER ROOM OR WHAT I ALSO HAVE A SIX YR OLD DAUGHTER AND SHE NEVER DID THAT AT ANY AGE SO IS IT BAD FOR HER TO SEE IT AND WHAT DO I SAID TO HER I REALLY NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO THANKS!!!!!!

[deleted account]

I'm glad to hear that you are sure she is not being sexually abused Ratih. Sexual behavior is not always because of abuse.



I think you should punish her since she is embarrassing you with her behavior. If she learns that nothing good comes out of the pleasant feeling of humping she will most likely stop, or try to avoid attention doing it.

Annette - posted on 10/29/2012

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My grand daughter is 2 and a half and will not stop humping, I wanted to gain a better understanding of what was happening and to see If anyone else is having this happen to them and what to do about it.

Ariana - posted on 10/10/2012

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Um, just so you know, I disagree that she has to have been sexually abused to do this. I used to 'hump' things (not at 2 but at age 6) although I did it secretly not all the time... I know that sounds weird but it's a sensation and some people just figure it out. You may want to tell her that these things are private and if she wants to touch herself or do other things like that she needs to save it for private times. So if she's in bed or having a bath it's ok, but in the living room etc it's not.

Melissa - posted on 10/08/2012

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yeah i hump furniture too . i am 15 and i just never stopped . my uncle told me things like this were normal he would always sleep with me at night then the next day my sheets were covered in blood and i was supermaned . is this a problem?

[deleted account]

hi i hump my bed im 12 and a girl and i get curious what [[things]] look like when i was younger i used to say i wanted the devil to rape me i cant forget that i dont anymore but please tell me im not alone and also when my mom gets me mad i go to my room and call her names someone help

Pam - posted on 09/25/2012

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Well there is normal self exploration, and then there is deviant sexual exploration.. the normal part is the natural discovery that it may feel very relaxing to stimulate a very nerve dense area that effects the pleasure center of the brain. Everyone has been there and it's okay, although at first it may be shocking to see your little one "exploring".... Lets face it, we all knew this was coming. This could have happened in the "jogging stroller" with her seat belt, or on her bike, etc...basically anywhere that would be possible. This self exploration Is not sexual, it's an innocent self discovery. However, if the child is acting out with others, and not just herself, or is exhibiting external deviant sexual behavior, talks about other people's genitalia, and/or is obsessed with this exploration, then that is a red flag for sexual abuse.

In the case of normal self exploration: Ignore it until they are old enough to understand they should close the door when they poo and pee, try to be understanding and don't give it a label (as squeamish as it makes you, they see nothing wrong with it as they shouldn't, it's innocent child development at it's most awkward moment). If this normal behavior makes you feel uncomfortable for religious or other conservative reasons, and she does it in front of people who make you feel uncomfortable about it, handle it this way... 1. without shame and 2. with understanding. I will give my advice based on mother experience and being a child and youth worker.

For any child under 4, use redirection, just focus her attention somewhere else (without shame and without labels). For age 4 and over, this is a good dialogue to generally follow.. "I noticed that your rubbing your pee pee place on (say the object it is), and your doing that because it feels nice? (kid answers yes)... ok, well that is something you have to do by yourself, in your room, with the door closed. As per usual, the child will ask why? You say something like this; You know when mommy goes pee in the bathroom, or changes clothes? I close the door, because I don't want people to watch me pee pee or change, and you close the door when you pee pee or change too. Well, some things are done in private with the door closed, so others dont see our private moments, and this is one of them. You have to do it alone, in your own space ( get the delicate message across that no one should ever be apart of this moment). Always follow up with a "Mommy loves you, and a hug".... Conversations like these should always end with a moment of acceptance and love.

If the dialogue opens up again ...add that they cannot do it in front of their friends, or family, and that they cannot do it at school, or the living room, or store, etc and that it stays in their room, just like pee pee and poopoo stays in the bathroom. It's also a bridge towards having "good touch bad touch talks" in the future.

There is only so much we can teach a child at one time, so the talk comes in small doses, starting with the self exploration, then around 5-6 comes the "good touch/bad touch talk, then comes other talks... Although figuratively, this ones a good handle on how your going to handle all other ones. It also mirrors how we see sexuality, do you want to pass on your religious values and morals, or do you want to impart them with a good basis for healthy sexuality and self acceptance which generally leads to good decision making anyways.... In reflection I strongly feel that how we handle this aspect is very important to their overall emotional development, it impacts their sense of identity, self confidence, acceptance and general sexual health.

People who are made to feel ashamed or embarrassed go through a mixed array of feelings that extend into other avenues throughout our lives... In an extreme case.. Google Issei Sagawa... a serial killer who was severely sexually oppressed as a child and made to feel disgusting about these normal feelings he was having about self exploration, he went on to suppress it in himself and they came up in other gruesome ways because he could not express himself in a calm and non threatening environment...

It can also branch out to effect our relationships and can flow into how we see ourselves and what we deserve in a normal give and take relationship. I also would think that when these kids hit puberty, they will always remember the time mom walked in and acted like nothing happened...whew that was close, might have been very embarrassing ;-)

-mother of two & Child and youth worker

Amanda - posted on 09/12/2012

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Also I am shocked that a doctor asked you this Ursula, he or she of all people should know this is very common in toddlers. Don't let that bother you :)

Amanda - posted on 09/12/2012

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I am sorry to be so abrupt, but the talk about this issue having to do with sexual abuse is bull! Do not worry I can promise, that this is very normal 3 out of 5 children will do this, I am an RNA and a PSW and have studied sexual abuse in children and seniors......children being sexually abused, would not and I repeat would not act this way. When a child is being abused sexually they are more nervous and embarrased about their body parts, particularly that area. They would not purposely be doing this to themselves if they were being sexually abused. My daughter was two years old and began to do this ( she is five now) and I was a single mom and stayed at home with her for the first four years, she was never around any men or woman caregivers, n she still did this. It is actually very normal for children to do this. It is not sexual whatsoever, it just feels comforting to them in a very innocent way. :) hope this helps

Ursula - posted on 09/06/2012

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have just read this page and found it realy reassuring, my daughter humps the arm of the chair and when i brought her to the doctor they asked was she being abused, i was disgusted with this and for months was afraid to let my daughter out of my sight. thanks for reassuring me that this is normal.

Taylor - posted on 08/08/2012

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A good chance is she just picked someone to blame connie. If you accuse a child they are usually going to do that. I think it's unlikely she at 4 saw her near 13 year old niece doing it. i think the fact she changed her story is telling you that. Your husband basically is wrong on this. Kids often just do it by figuring things out for themselves.

Jennifer - posted on 07/17/2012

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My daughter does the same thing on the arms of couches or chairs, I dont like her doing it, but apparently its normal, its the same thing as a toddler touching themselves, my daughter is 4.5 and has been doing it for about 2 or 3 years, and she has never been previewed to that kind of behaviour.

Claire - posted on 07/13/2012

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honestly i wouldnt worry bout it my 2 year old is doin exactly the same thing, do not listen to some peoples negative posts on here saying that yr child is bein abused what absolue rubbish, i work with children and this is a natural thing for them to do its just discovereing themselves she could have just accidentally rubbed on something and remembered the feelin and likes it so keeps doin it, she will grow out of it, i just laugh it off when my daughter does it, shes a child they do funny things, but honestly dont worry bout it x

Claire - posted on 07/13/2012

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omg i totally agree tha is just terrible thing to say, my daughter is always rubbing herself on things and i no that she is not bein sexualy abused and feel sick to my stomach that u would even insinuate such a disgusting thing, how dare u x

Melissa - posted on 07/12/2012

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OMG my son humps too...from what I have read it just feels good and they dont know what it means so not to worry and they will grow out of it.

Alison - posted on 07/09/2012

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I'm new here and I just want to say that this "phase" humping/gyrating whatever u want to call it is completly normal. I know this because I myself had this 'phase' it was in no way sexual because I was not there mentally all kids know is this feels good to them and it also relaxes them it is a form of self-soothing and it does eventually tapper off, it doesnt last long. My daughter is 2 1/2 and she has just started this for the most part ignore it. If she continues eventually I will guide her to her room and advise her it isn't something you do in public yet alone in your room by yourself is ok and that the act is very normal but private and explain that her body parts are her private parts not anyone elses. Depending on how you choose to communicate with your child (every child is different) can affect or influence their future relationships and how they think and look at themselves. Use a little caustion and alot of love and even more patience. A mom of 2 Boy and a Girl 8 and 2 1/2

Joanne - posted on 07/06/2012

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Julie it is very unfortunate that your daughter and you had to go through that terrible experience but if you actually educate yourself a child begins to explore themselves around 24 months of age. i am offended just reading your posts because you are making accusations.......please i know you are concerned because you went through that horrible unspeakable experience but posting stuff up like this numerous times is not helpful. It is very normal for a child whether its a boy or girl to hump, touch, and explore themselves. in some cases children are being abused but in most cases the parents are doing everything right and it just happens the best you can do is ignore it and eventually they will stop!

Angela - posted on 07/02/2012

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i did it as a little girl right up til about 11 i found it a form of comfort thats all it wasnt sexual in any way and i certainly was not abused i was asked not to do it so i did it in private i grew out of it

Susan - posted on 06/02/2012

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This is very normal.. as infants they touch themselves finding something they haven't touched before.trying to figure out what it is.. around 2.5 they start finding themselves again. they explore their bodies,noticing the difference between girls and boys. they all are curious. we were too when we were young.Its nothing bad. its all normal.

Think about it!! when your potty training a child,that child is learning to wipe themself. they are curious.What is this?and poop come from there.my PP comes from inside me?They think about these things and yes the explore themselves. sorry for being graphic.

Kyla - posted on 06/01/2012

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We are having the same problem with my daughter. She is 2 1/2 and there is no way she is being abused because daddy is deployed and I am the only one that watches her. I am a stay at home mom with no close family. She comes to dr appts with me and my friend comes to the house to cut hair and so on. I have actually NEVER left her with a sitter once! So if my daughter does it and I am NOT abusing her then I think its pretty normal for girl and boys alike if so many other parents have said the same. I checked with her dr. and he said its perfectly normal.

Beth - posted on 05/28/2012

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My son will be 2 in July and he humps his blankie. He only does this at night when he's winding down from the day and getting tired. I thought it was a behavior at first, but I did some research on it and it seems natural. I just dont want it to get out of hand when he gets older.

Heather - posted on 05/23/2012

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seems to have worked here :) however she only does this when bored and tired and usually watching tv at the same time.

Heather - posted on 05/23/2012

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i certainly agree with marisol. my 4 year old daughter has been doing this since she was an infant. however she knows when we see her and she stops immediatly and that is due to us kinda laughing about it and now she realizes (from the way we talk about it ) that it is something that is taboo in public. AND for the record i am a stay at home mom and do everything for my girls, very rarely their father. the abuse thing is not possible here, therefore proof that it can be perfectly normal . hope this makes you feel better and please do not panic before you really have to . good luck

[deleted account]

My daughter does this too. If our legs are up when we're sitting in the recliner she tried to hump our legs. She also will put the recliner up and hump that and her bike seat. She used to only do it when she was trying to go to sleep but lately she has been doing it a lot more for seemingly no reason other than it feels good. Her father is not around and I have not left her with anyone for even a second (she's almost 3, by the way) so it's clearly not sexual abuse. I have heard it's normal but I want her to stop humping my darn leg haha! She also does it to shopping carts when she's sitting in the seat and it's SO embarrassing.

Angel - posted on 04/02/2012

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I am having the same issue with my 3 year old son. He's been humping his blankie for the the last year and a half. I don't know where he got it from? I've always made sure that he watches age appropriate shows. He's never been in anyone's care but mine because I am a stay at home military wife. I have most certainly never touched my child. So if someone wants to bring up the abuse card it's not needed because I have never abused any of my children. I have 2 older daughters and have never had this issue with them. Just my son. I have asked him why he does this and he says that it helps him sleep. I recently confided in his pediatrician and she said that it was normal and that he would grow out of it, but if I wanted too I could take him to see a psychiatrist. I don't see how a psychiatrist can help a 3 year old stop doing this. I'm hoping it fades out soon because after this summer is over he will be starting pre-school. I am avoiding all day pre school, which he is eligible for, for part time pre school to avoid nap time. Which is when he seems to do it. Nap time, bed time, ie. I was always used to giving my children sippy cups of milk at bed time up until the age of 4 to help them sleep. Except for my son. I stopped giving him a cup when I put him to bed at 2 and I fear I made a mistake by doing that because that's when the humping started. I have no clue what to do. My mother says that I did the same thing as a child and that he will grow out of it, but he's not growing out of it fast enough for me. When will it stop?

Kylie - posted on 03/29/2012

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my daughter started humping things when she was about 6 months old when i put her on a rocking horse, she is now 4 and a 1/2. she is not being sexually abused because i have been around her day since she was born. she call it jumpy jumpy and only does it in the morning or before bed.

Dana - posted on 03/11/2012

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tell her that isn't a nice thing for little girls to do not around others and definitly not around mommy telling them to stop means just that stop for the moment that you are asking her to stop try thais approach and see what happens

Jen - posted on 03/02/2012

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@amber kids often don't have great hygiene so you do need to enforce washing hands after.

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