2 year old touching herself?

Marty - posted on 12/07/2011 ( 71 moms have responded )

57

41

6

Hi. Sometimes when my daughter is either bathing or I'm changing her, she likes to touch herself. I know it's her just exploring her body which is completely and totally normal, but I'm just not sure how to go about reacting towards it. Do I let her do it? Do I stop her? Does it make a difference?

Will letting her do it or stopping her trigger anything in her behavior later?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tara - posted on 12/07/2011

1,289

24

206

What I did when my girls started doing that (they are 3 1/2 and 2 years old) was tell them that I knew it felt nice to do that but that it was not something we do in public - it is for them privately and they are allowed to touch themselves in private in their room, but not in front of other people.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2011

3,560

36

3907

I hate when someone calls a vagina by a name that is something to eat. Something very wrong about that. That is all.

Kate CP - posted on 12/08/2011

8,942

36

758

*bangs head on desk* Let's not have THIS fight again.

And in some areas, pee pee refers to urine. Also, that just sounds like something a baby would say. So if a 15 year old is calling their vagina a pee pee I would say they have issues.

[deleted account]

Yeah, if my mom told my daughter that her vagina is called "candy" I would definitely step in and tell her that isn't right. Candy is something that you eat... and I wouldn't want my daughter to get confused by the term and allow someone to, well... "eat her candy."

*shivers* Ugh. That is just wrong.

[deleted account]

Kids eat food. They don't eat vaginas. Not sure why that is a tough concept to grasp. How is it wrong in anyway for a child to know what his or her body parts are called. That is ludicrous. My 10 year olds (well... in 3 days) see nothing wrong w/ their 3 year old brother calling his penis a penis cuz... that's what it is. KNOWING what your own body parts are called does not destroy innocence in any way, shape, or form.

You have every right to raise your kids to think there is something wrong w/ the word vagina and I have every right to think it is disturbing for someone to lol at calling a vagina CANDY....

It's all fair game. I'm not upset at all. I just think it's disturbing. ;)

This conversation has been closed to further comments

71 Comments

View replies by

Angela - posted on 12/10/2011

1

0

0

I'm a psychologist and you should teach children the correct names for their body parts. It is a vagina and it is a penis. Just don't make a big deal out of it.

Kate CP - posted on 12/10/2011

8,942

36

758

Any one want some popcorn?

And I'm actually talking about real food popcorn here...not a euphemism for my vagina.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2011

3,560

36

3907

If some little kid at school came up to me and said someone had touched her candy, I would just think someone had touched her candy. It wouldn't even occur to me to consider someone may have touched her vagina, to which my response would be very different.

Anyway, whatever floats your boat. If you want to teach your children vagina and penis are rude words, even when used in the correct context, go right ahead. You're right, it won't be my problem.

[deleted account]

Oh... apparently some comments were deleted. Sorry. My mistake. Most of my response still stands though, so I'm not going to edit.

Jodi - posted on 12/10/2011

3,560

36

3907

How is it my problem that I don't agree that we should be referring to a child's vagina as something to eat? Sorry, but *I believe* there is something wrong with that. And I see nothing wrong with a child referring to her body parts correctly. I call a knee a knee, a toe a toe, a penis a penis, a vagina a vagina, a vulva a vulva. That's my opinion, as well as that of many others. So you don't agree. Get over it. I don't know about you, but I'm not angry that you have your opinion. The only person getting mad and pissy is you.

[deleted account]

Thanks Cat. I couldn't have said it better. Next time I will keep my comments to myself, geesh! :)

[deleted account]

Marty, my comment was not directed at you, as you were not the only person that said it should be referred to as a vagina. I was making a general comment because of my neices recent actions and how it affected my child. I thought it would be a good example to share. That's it.

[deleted account]

My comment was innocent and does not warrant this level of anger. It behooves me that you think it is ok for an innocent little girl to refer to the body part as a vagina, but find something is wrong with it being referred to as food. However, that is your problem, nor is it anything that you can do about it. That is all.

Cat - posted on 12/10/2011

1

43

0

WAIT A MINUTE.....All of you telling people what they SHOULD or SHOULDN'T be teaching their children need to go away and grow up. For one, I think there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn't give our body parts a nickname. Growing up I referred to mine as a peach (sensible, actually looks like one!) and my brother - his willy. People are in way too much of a hurry for our BABIES to grow up - the big, bad world will come to them sooner than I care to imagine - lets not force it upon them unnecessarily early.

With regards to touching herself - she is just exploring her own body. Lets be fair, it's been hidden in a nappy for the first 2 years of her life, no wonder she's intrigued. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it. I wouldnt encourage it - and certainly wouldn't it let get further than a little poke around. Like I said, the big bad world is only around the corner. lets keep our babies as babies,

My final comment is that I wish those of you who feel the need to 'tell of'f' other mums for what they do and dont do just grow up. There forums should be answered by people with genuine advice or encouragement.

That is all.

[deleted account]

Teresa, Pardon me??? I said my mother referred to it as CANDY and I didn't say it was funny sweetheart, I am 46 years old and that is how it was when I grew up, whether you like it or not. Yes, Vagina was too strong for my 10 year old to hear her 4 year old cousin vagina around her. It is your opinion, but it was also my 10 year olds opinion that it is inapproriate for a 4 year old to to discuss her vagina openly around everyone. That is just plain tacky and trashy to think otherwise, as I teach my girls to be tactful. THAT"S MY OPINION! Could care less about yours!! And yes, you were picking!!

[deleted account]

I know I'm a glutton for punishment here, but I can't believe anyone would find it funny that the vagina was referred to as CANDY! And that the same person has a 10 year old daughter that cringed at the word vagina coming from a 4 year old. Sorry, don't mean to pick on you, but THAT is messed up....

Marty - posted on 12/10/2011

57

41

6

As I mentioned before, I like promoting the real names to better communication. At daycare, with someone close to her other then me, with a doctor, no matter the circumstances, I want her to be able to communicate EXACTLY what the issue is, if she happens have one, and not be misinterpreted because she called it something else. Nuff said :) But thank you all for your advice, Ladies.

Caroline - posted on 12/10/2011

43

0

0

Kate and Teresa, I totally agree. Calling body parts by their non real, human anatomical name is really strange. Every book and psychologist tells you that you should call them by their real name from the very beginning at a young age. That IS the name. Giving it a "fake" name is putting some kind of stigma on it. It's better not to say anything that to say a pet name. It's a vagina and penis, and "passing gas", not a "pee pee" or a "toot".

Steph - posted on 12/10/2011

6

1

0

Do what you would do if she were touching and exploring her nose or lips. And please teach correct names for all body parts.

Loretta - posted on 12/10/2011

89

33

2

I actually did a bunch of research on this when my oldest was that age. I found out that 1)Routine exploration does not lead to any problems later and is just part of discovering and owning their bodies and 2)Children will use the good sensations of touching themselves as a comfort when they are needing physical touch. Rather than make any comments about it, I would just initiate some snuggle time if I felt it was beyond a level I was comfortable with. My oldest two are 18 and 21 now and that seemed to work really well with both of them. I'm using that method of dealing with it again with my now 2 year old. And the bonus--lots of snuggle time!! :)

Helene - posted on 12/10/2011

17

12

1

from the beginning i tried to instill that that was private time and only for her. even with that instruction she decided to test her boundaries and some idiot decided to call cps because instead of telling me what she was up to it made them uncomfortable and they had to do an obligatory investigation needless to say we were just about instantly cleared but the trauma of the interviews and such still reverberates i was told i did the right thing by teaching her boundaries unfortunately she pushed them in front of the wrong person . i still say teach them early it is for them alone and a private this. set boundaries and instill them early. stopping her can cause a negative association with her body as a "taboo"

Jennifer - posted on 12/09/2011

103

52

0

explain what that part of her body is - and mention that its not something to do in public and that its not something anyone else should touch except parents and doctor.

Marty - posted on 12/09/2011

57

41

6

Okayyyyyy, wow ladies my comment was just a personal opinion, and I respect everyone else's but let's not make a debate about what's considered proper. It's different for everyone and as I read in someone's post, even if your taught a slang word you'll get the right terms down at some point. I don't think I've seen anybody my age walking around saying "I have a bobo in my peepee"
*I* was just stating that I'd PREFER to use proper words and not pet names because if she ever gets violated (Over my dead body!) and someone asks her where HE touched her, I'd like for her to be clear and not say "He touched me my "special flower' or whatever other name some parents might use. But that's MY opinion.
POINT BEING is that this was NOT meant to be a debate and I totally regret ever inserting that comment in my replies, SORRY.
I pretty much got the information I needed anyways so let's just leave it at that, shall we?

[deleted account]

Hey there, I taught my girls to call it their privates, because it is a private part of their body that no one should ever touch or see, unless it's a doctor and mom or dad should be there. My mom called it candy, lol. By the time you are old enough, the correct name should be taught. Or, even at a young age, teach the correct name. I have a 4 yr old neice and my youngest is now 10yrs old and one day my neice came in complaining that her vagina was hurting. My 10yr old cringed, because she thought that a 4 yr old should not use that word. It's just too grown up. No innocence at all!! Little girls are supposed to be pretty and pink not using vagina monologues.

Alexandra - posted on 12/09/2011

581

24

1

of course, don't tell her to stop or anything. This is perfectly normal, actually point out to what she is discovering, it is a fun game at this point. Then you can tell her to point to the tummy, to the knee, to the foot,... Don't make any deal from it, because it is really normal.

Bonnie - posted on 12/09/2011

4,813

22

261

Well I usually refer to my boys' private areas as their penis, as that is what they are. They have often referred to it as their bum lol don't know why. They are 3 and 5. My husband had referred to their penis as their 'tally wacker' LOL, don't know why either.

Either way, from what I am gathering from the OP, this post is not about what names to call kids private parts.

I think just telling her not to touch herself around other people is good enough. If it's her bedroom or the bathroom, it's more acceptable. I don't think allowing her to do it or stopping her will make a difference, but you don't want her to be afraid of her private areas either.

Angela - posted on 12/09/2011

6

4

0

My son is 21months old he does the same. I just tell him what it is and now he points to it and says peepee I think its important for him to learn and know his body. And I hope it makes potty training easier. Like u said it is natural

Alfreda - posted on 12/09/2011

33

2

0

At 2 I mostly ignored it. She was basically scratching, or touching without really being conscious of it. Closer to three, she began to moving more towards masterbation. If it is subtle, I would ignore it. If it is obvious, I tell her that I know it feels nice, but her vagina is just for her that she should only play that game in private. My 5 year old does it in front of me for a joke. I have had the talk several times with them about private parts, where to touch, who is allowed to touch in what circumstances etc. It really makes my husband uncomfortable when they masturbate in front of him so he asked me to speak to them about it.I think they like to do it because it makes him uncomfortable and they find that funny. They do not do it in front of non family members so we have not have the hands in the pants at all time issues like some boys do. I try to be nonchalant and open about it, encourage them to ask questions. Honestly, I remember getting in trouble for it when I was a kid and I don't think it scarred me too much anyway. I think kids are pretty resilient. My parents attitude towards it did inform me that questions were off limits and so I took my questions to peers rather than my parents. That was also due to the fact that my mother is very religious and told us pretty much sex is bad, it is something that boys want and girls shouldn't. That attitude in general further showed me that she was just not the person to talk to about these things. Luckily my school had a really great sex ed program.

Long story short, you could use it as a good opportunity to open the discussion and let her know you are the person she should talk to about these things.

[deleted account]

When my circumsized son was 2 he got REALLY confused by my uncircumsized 3 year old nephew asking him if his pee pee was open. To my son... pee pee has always been the stuff that comes OUT of your penis... not the penis itself.

As for vagina vs. vulva.... yeah, I get that point, but vagina is much more widely used and understood than any other non body part name that people come up w/ and use. In 35 years I've never HAD to use the term vulva. My girls (almost 10) DO know that word now... thanks to a post like this that they were reading over my shoulder. lol :)

Vicki - posted on 12/09/2011

20

27

2

I don't agree. We don't make a big deal about it whe he touches it. We just call it his pee pee. I think we should let each set of parents decide waht is right for their child and not criticize anyone else just because it's not what you did. Heck, how many grown me do you hear say Penis? Most of them use the term D!ck anyway!

Robbie - posted on 12/09/2011

1

16

0

I think teaching kids the slang terms for their private areas is wrong. Call it what it is. My 4 year old son knows that he has a Penis and Scrotum. Teaching the slang terms or telling them no..encourages secrecy and lack of communication/honestly later on.

Vicki - posted on 12/09/2011

20

27

2

I really hate all this stuff about you have to teach your children the "proper" names. My mother didn't walk around telling us about stuff in the "proper" teminology and I grew up to be a normal heathy adult! They have plenty of time to learn the techinal terms later on in life. you can teach YOUR children to call them whatever YOU want to but don't tell me what to teach MINE!

Traci - posted on 12/09/2011

18

13

1

Does it bother you more that it is a girl? People expect boys to do this but when a girl does it they feel weird about it. Like you said it is normal and she only gets to see it, or feel it when the diaper is off so of course she is interested. Like everyone else has said, I think just let her explore (once it's clean). My daughter never stays interested that long so I just wait until shes ready to move on and close the diaper up. In the bath she notices it to but she usually more interested in playing with her toys so any touching there is minimal. It's an awkward subject but she will read your vibes, so just don't react too much so she doesn't get the wrong idea, that it is a bad area.

Kate CP - posted on 12/09/2011

8,942

36

758

So...I guess we ARE gonna have this argument over what to call genitalia? *sigh*

Well...some one start popping popcorn.

Susan - posted on 12/09/2011

30

1

0

as a former ped nurse please call them by their proper names. one for docs sake when telling what is going on and 2 to be able to tell if something is doing something inappropriate to them. it makes a differnce to police, etc.

Susan - posted on 12/09/2011

30

1

0

perfectly normal! if it continues as she gets older around others, quietly remind her that it's private thing.

Rhonda - posted on 12/09/2011

5

15

0

I just asked my two year old granddaughter what her privates are and she said her bum! Just goes to show 2 year olds CAN grasp more then we give them credit for.

I noticed she touches herself a lot too but mostly during bath time or potty time. If she is not dressed she will do it as well. I just tell her to do it privately and she seems to understand. She has taken it upon herself to poop in private, she insists we close the door and wait in the hallway until she is finished. This is a great opportunity to talk about privacy and privates etc.

I agree with teaching kids the proper names for thier parts but see no reason we can not use both names. I prefer hearing privates even though both her and I know it is her vavlva/vagina/ etc.

Dianne - posted on 12/09/2011

16

45

0

for all those people calling it a vagina and think they are PC, that is technically incorrect. The vagina is internal, the vulva is external. I get really annoyed as people want to use the PC term but use vagina, which is wrong.
It is rather difficult for these girls at preschool age to reach into their vagina, therefore they are touching their Labia or Vulva.

my 2 cents on the PC nonsence.

Dawn - posted on 12/08/2011

5

12

1

Please please tell her the proper name, her vulva! The outside is called your vulva, the vagina is on the inside!
And it is perfectly normal!

Heather - posted on 12/08/2011

39

10

0

I gently told my daughter that she shouldn't touch herself that way when she is in front of other people or out in public. I explained that there is nothing wrong with what she was doing, but that if she wanted to touch herself like that, she needed to be in private. I also reminded her that those parts of her body are called her "privates" because that's where she's supposed to be when she touches them -- in private!!

(It also made a fantastic bridge into another conversation about the fact that other people shouldn't be looking at the "private" parts of her body except under special circumstances ... like when she's being helped to clean up after a toileting accident, us helping her to take a bath, or her going to a doctor's exam.)

Kristin - posted on 12/08/2011

48

7

1

Haha... I tell my daughter not to touch cos she'll get wees on her hand! We call her vagina her 'girly bits', just cos I don't like wee tots talking about vaginas in the supermarket etc! LOL. I'll teach her proper name when she's old enough not to tell the post man all about it! I did teach her that her little brother has a penis, but she says peanut! I think that's pretty funny, so we're sticking with that for now!

Debbie - posted on 12/08/2011

15

4

0

why should anyone else have an opinion on what a different family call their private parts????? My mum never called it a vagina but we all knew that was what is was! I dont call my daughters a vagina either, We call it a rudie, It sound cute and she is 3 so a rudie sounds far more cute and not sexual like the word vagina sounds. I dont think others should have judge about what we choose to teach our kids. Its just different, not wrong. Gosh I dont even like calling mine a vagina! I try to not call it anything at all lol! I tell my wee girl that if she wants to touch her rudie that she has to do it in private and she understands this. It has stopped her doing it. I think by telling her not to do it she would want to do it more! Typical toddlers!

Tala - posted on 12/08/2011

1

16

0

It is just that she is pleased with that feeling ,so just try to draw her attention to something else ,give her something to hold in her hand and she will forget all about it .

Tonya - posted on 12/08/2011

8

23

0

The only time I discouraged my daughters was when I was unsure of the cleanliness of their hands and in public.

Debbie - posted on 12/08/2011

15

4

0

I agree totally with tara who posted above, That is exactly what I told my daugheter

Sherri - posted on 12/08/2011

9,593

15

391

I think it also really is where you are from too. Their are many places where certain things are socially acceptable and places where things are just a little different.

I think when your schools only refer to them as privates and even my OB will say okay take your clothes off because I need to check down below or my kids pediatrician tells them they need to check their privates. It is what becomes comfortable and normal.

Sherri - posted on 12/08/2011

9,593

15

391

I am not embarrassed by my body in the least Kate. Never have been, never will be. Nor is my husband or my kids.

Lucy - posted on 12/08/2011

11

11

0

Just to add my two pennies' worth, we call them her Girlie Bits, and she can do what she like with them - except if we're out in public and I'll just distract her with something else! :)

Kate CP - posted on 12/08/2011

8,942

36

758

Well, I think a 39 year old woman who calls her vagina a pee pee has issues, too. An adult person who is so embarrassed by their body that they have to use cutesy names for their parts is...well...sad.

Donna - posted on 12/08/2011

204

23

2

Just ignore it if she is doing it in private. As you know kids will want to do something all the more if you tell them not to. If she is doing it alot she might be itchy so you might need to see if she is red or has a rash. It could be the soap or laundry detergent.

Debbie - posted on 12/08/2011

9

4

0

Yes it is normal for tots to explore themselves. I would just move their hand away to wash it during bath making no big deal about it, it's just time to wash the underarm. In public which some may want to explore while watching tv at a friends house (something to that effect ) then I would simply and quietly talk to her telling her no, that is not proper behavior in front of other people, even if they are friends.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms