"Need advice. 31/2 year old girl is rubing on her privates. Is this normal?"

Crystal - posted on 01/02/2010 ( 163 moms have responded )

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Our daughter is only 31/2 years old. We catch her rubing her privates on her pillow and bear. I'm really not sure what to do. I feel like a three year old shouldn't be doing that. We ask her why she does that and she tells us it tickles. Does anyone have any advice?

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Valerie - posted on 01/05/2010

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Quoting Christina:

They don't get "enjoyment" out of exploring..



Do we all remember being two and how it felt when we first discovered our genitals?  This subject is definately fopaux.  No one wants to believe that a toddler can experience pleasent feelings through their genitals.  Touching genitalia at any age can produce pleasant sensations.  Here is a website that addresses the issue and explains that even to a young child, the genitals can feel good when touched, and how to deal with it.  http://parenting247.org/article.cfm?Cont...  A child doesn't have to see something to instigate their exploration of their body, and if that exploration leads to a tingly or feel good sensation it is purely biological and not influential.  Please, do not worry about this behavior.  If it is undesired and uncomfortable for you, read this article and hopefully it will give you some insight on how to deal with this issue.    

Jaime - posted on 01/05/2010

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Quoting Christina:

I'm sorry.. I seem to be the only one that thinks this way so far, but there is a difference between exploring and getting enjoyment out of touching yourself. It seems to me that your daughter enjoys it, and whether you like it or not, your daughter is committing masturbatory acts. No 2, 3, 4+ year old child should be masturbating! I would simply tell her that it's inappropriate to rub herself with anything. She will figure it out when she's older what to do if she wants to act out on it and not actually have sex, but no young child should be doing this. I have to ask though, where did she get it?? Did she walk in on you two or catch something on TV that was not age-appropriate material? If that's the case, I would simply lock your door.. If she needs something, she's old enough that she can knock and ask. Or if it was the TV and you don't want her seeing things like that, lock out those programs and you and your husband can hold the pass code to unlock it if that's your prerogative. Like I said, exploring is one thing.. They don't get "enjoyment" out of exploring.. But when she is getting enjoyment out of it, saying it tickles and whatnot, I would definitely consider that masturbation. Remember, she doesn't have to know what the words MEANS in order to commit the act..


This is a seriously uneducated reply.  Self exploration--unless examining the genitals for medical reasons--IS masturbation!  And a toddler is likely going to find it very pleasurable to rub or touch their genitals...it's not a secret that it feels good to touch the errogenous zones of the body...and there's absolutely NO shame in doing it---no matter what fucking age you are!



"whether you like it or not, your daughter is committing masturbatory acts"...you say it as if it's a crime to masturbate.   You have a disturbingly misguided understanding of masturbation.  The majority of--if not ALL--children will self-explore, rub and touch their genitals either to see what it is they are touching or for gratification...kids aren't innately ignorant of the fact that their genitals are particularly sensitive to touch, and therefore it stands to reason that they will touch and pull and yank and pinch and rub and whatever else until they reach an age where they understand that there are boundaries and that private time is a personal experience away from social settings.  In the meantime, this young girl is gonna go on touching herself and enjoying every minute of it.  It's comments like this that mislead so many young children and teens into thinking that sexual feelings and responses are supposed to be repressed, instead of being supportive of self exploration so that they have a better understanding of these feelings and are more able to control the urges later on...

[deleted account]

You know, I have to say that the minute I read Christina's post I had her flagged as a conservative Christian, even before I scrolled down and read the post where she came out and said it herself. There's just an air about people like her that gives it away... fearfulness and anger about things she doesn't understand. When you're living by rules that were written thousands of years ago, you're going to get a little uncomfortable with the modern world.

I'm just wondering why God would give us these bodies with these areas that feel good to be touched (no matter what age you are) and expect us not to touch them! Does God really expect a 3 year old to exercise such self control? Are they going to be "punished" for this behavior? I agree completely that hers is a very uneducated post... but we have to remember that most modern day "conservative Christians" shun the science community and any type of new research or development or understanding is "evil" and can't be trusted, and therefore are NOT educated because its evil.

Anywho... this is normal behavior, and its up to the parent to help the child know "good touch, bad touch" to protect them from perverts. And it is psychologically damaging to shame a child into thinking that this is dirty or disgusting behavior. Any educated and qualified pediatrician or child psychologist will tell you this.

?? - posted on 01/06/2010

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There is a time, a place and an age.



The time is when she discovers it, the place is in private and the age is whatever age a child happens to discover their privates.



there is a difference between exploring and getting enjoyment out of touching yourself.



Yea there is, and when you explore, you find things that you get enjoyment out of it. That was a completely pointless statement.





They don't get "enjoyment" out of exploring.. But when she is getting enjoyment out of it, saying it tickles and whatnot



Children get enjoyment out of the simplest things - that doesn't mean it's sexual. To her, it's nothing different than a hug or softly brushing a finger across a cheek or a feather across your skin.







It only becomes sexual when she is old enough to understand what SEXUAL pleasure is. For now, all she knows, and cares about is the fact that 'it tickles'. And that's perfectly fine. Explain to her, which I'm sure you have, that it is her private area that is ticklish so she shouldn't tickle herself there unless she's in private.







Children don't have the capacity to know the difference between an innocent touch and a sexual touch. As long as your daughter knows that ONLY SHE CAN 'tickle' her there, that is all that matters right now.

Jaime - posted on 01/07/2010

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Why is it that everything always comes back to God and Christianity and the bible? Who gives a shit what the bible has to say...we're talking about masturbation---that is to say touching oneself for pleasure. I just don't get what the big deal is? Are you telling me that because of a religious belief, it is highly inappropriate for a person to touch their own penis or vagina because God doesn't want them to?...and instead God wants a person to touch another person's penis or vagina and make babies and maybe get some pleasure out of it? Well forgive me if I say 'fuck that', I'll live happily in sin, feeling absolutely no shame and absolutely no pressure to please another person before I know how to please myself. It's just ludicrous to me to think that it's acceptable to bump uglies with someone and touch and pinch and squeeze and caress a body that is not one's own...but the second they even think about self-pleasure in the absence of a partner (and most specifically an opposite-sex partner) it is completely and utterly inappropriate! Masturbation is the safest sex that ANYONE can have! And for all of the people that are so up in arms about teen pregnancy and young kids having sex...I should think there would be way more support for self masturbation and being in tune with one's own body and impulses. I realize that the majority of my comment doesn't relate back to a 31/2 year old masturbating...but I've seen so much jargon about religion in this thread and it's making my head spin! ENOUGH ALREADY!



Edited to include: "God and Christianity and the bible?" and "jargon about religion"

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[deleted account]

Quoting Edna:

Michelle, one thing i would like to tell you is that you are held accountable for anything and everything that you do in this earth as long as u r alive, if what ur son is doing is right, why do u encourage him to do it in secret?



HERE HERE...FINALLY WELL SAID EDNA!!!

Jodi - posted on 01/10/2010

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I am going to close this thread for 24 hours for some people to cool off. Everyone here is entitled to their opinion, and given the posts that are being flagged, there are those of you who think only YOUR opinion is allowed. I have a bunch of flagged posts from this thread here, and not one of them I would consider against guidlines. If you think otherwise, go for it, feel free to message me (I will get back to you when I have time), but seriously, ladies, say your piece, give your opinion, and MOVE ON!!!

Anyway, thread closed for now.

Jodi Adams
CoM Moderator

[deleted account]

its seems d world has really gone MAD!



i have three kids ranging in age 14,5,3 and have never had this issue.



WHY? because when i noticed my kids at a young age making themselves hard or whatnot i simply distracted them. it certainly was not time for any sextalk. this is not something a little toddler should be left alone to do in PRIVATE! what is wrong with most of you. the one person with any sense got bashed.

it is obvious most of you dont have time to spend with your kids that's why they're finding this nonsense to get on with. it is because ppl have no codes to live by anymore the world is getting to be one GIANT sespool of SEX CRAVED ADDICTS, turning to little kids for pleasure.



is it not obvious if this is encouraged at a young age you will then have NO CONTROL of when not if it goes further?!

[deleted account]

its seems d world has really gone MAD!



i have three kids ranging in age 14,5,3 and have never had this issue.



WHY? because when i noticed my kids at a young age making themselves hard or whatnot i simply distracted them. it certainly was not time for any sextalk. this is not something a little toddler should be left alone to do in PRIVATE! what is wrong with most of you. the one person with any sense got bashed.

it is obvious most of you dont have time to spend with your kids that's why they're finding this nonsense to get on with. it is because ppl have no codes to live by anymore the world is getting to be one GIANT sespool of SEX CRAVED ADDICTS, turning to little kids for pleasure.



is it not obvious if this is encouraged at a young age you will then have NO CONTROL of when not if it goes further?!

Krista - posted on 01/10/2010

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Quoting Christina:

Ok, first of all I have to say that I did not come to this thread to be attacked by just about everyone b/c of my religion. That is just beyond rude and inappropriate on here and I an surprised that only ONE Moderator on here asked for you all to keep it civil when on just about every other thread, the littlest thing sets them off to remind you.

I didn't ask any of you to believe what I believe, all I did was state MY OPINION and what I believe and, God forbid I share that I am a Christian on this forum. I have not attacked any of you for your religious beliefs and I would appreciate if you all would have the same courtesy.

For the ignorant women that think I am "messed up" b/c of what I believe and the way I was taught.. WRONG. I have had my "fun" in the past, going against my religion and exploring things on my own and I have come crawling back to God on my knees b/c He has always been there for me, keeping His watchful eye and healing hand on me no matter what circumstances I ended up being in. I don't have to explain my life story to any of you, I do not answer to you, I answer to God. But I will say that I got pregnant before I was married when I tried to do things on my own instead of following what I truly believed. I have a beautiful 18 month old son and a wonderful husband b/c of it and for that I am truly thankful. Sometimes God turns the bad situations into good ones. And for the record, I was molested when I was 4..


Christina, I think part of the reason why your response was met with such vitriol is because women, overall, have a long, long history of being made to feel ashamed of their bodies and ashamed of their sexuality. And sadly, one of the main culprits in this is organized religion. So when the entire medical community concurs that Crystal's daughter's behaviour is completely normal, and you come on here talking about how awful it is for this girl to be "committing masturbatory acts"...well, it strikes a nerve.



Religion has such a long history of making people, but especially women, ashamed of their own sexuality. So I think that by many, your post was interpreted as a recommendation that the OP make her own little girl ashamed of what she was doing -- and they were (rightly) alarmed and upset, as doing this could have serious psychological ramifications for her later in life. 

Laneisha - posted on 01/10/2010

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totally normal! its called worming, at least thats what i know it as. It may be inappropriate but obviously she does not know that. Im no doctor but i believe it is just discovering new or different feeling down there. She will totally grow out of it.

Sarah - posted on 01/10/2010

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Hey ya, i have heard from a couple of mums about this recently. As i understand it, they think that it feels nice, and it is completely normal. She has no idea that what she is doing could be sexual. She doesn't even know what sex is! Not much comfort to you unfortunately. Just teach her to be discrete. My this discussion has gotten out of hand! Crystal, just take the info that is relevant to you honey! Everyone has there own opinions. XX

Allie - posted on 01/10/2010

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Its normal, its just something new to them... i have asked my doctor about it... you just have to try to teach her not to, i know thats easier said than done, im still trying to get my oldest to stop... good luck...

C. - posted on 01/09/2010

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Ok, first of all I have to say that I did not come to this thread to be attacked by just about everyone b/c of my religion. That is just beyond rude and inappropriate on here and I an surprised that only ONE Moderator on here asked for you all to keep it civil when on just about every other thread, the littlest thing sets them off to remind you.

I didn't ask any of you to believe what I believe, all I did was state MY OPINION and what I believe and, God forbid I share that I am a Christian on this forum. I have not attacked any of you for your religious beliefs and I would appreciate if you all would have the same courtesy.

For the ignorant women that think I am "messed up" b/c of what I believe and the way I was taught.. WRONG. I have had my "fun" in the past, going against my religion and exploring things on my own and I have come crawling back to God on my knees b/c He has always been there for me, keeping His watchful eye and healing hand on me no matter what circumstances I ended up being in. I don't have to explain my life story to any of you, I do not answer to you, I answer to God. But I will say that I got pregnant before I was married when I tried to do things on my own instead of following what I truly believed. I have a beautiful 18 month old son and a wonderful husband b/c of it and for that I am truly thankful. Sometimes God turns the bad situations into good ones. And for the record, I was molested when I was 4..

Michelle - posted on 01/09/2010

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Totally normal! Don't worry. I have nieces whom are now 15 and 21 both whom did similar things. They are good normal girls who have yet to give their mom and dad any problems!

Valerie - posted on 01/09/2010

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Quoting Jo:

Well I'll just address your hostility comment because I never said anything with any hostility, I even laughed... I asked you a simple question, because you stated your qualifications on Child Psychology but didn't even remotely address the OP's question, rather focused on something I wasn't seeing as productive to the OP/on going convo...

You focused on a completely irrelevant aspect of the conversation Atheism/Christianity (a finished back n forth side step conversation between Christina and others) and ignored even weighing in on the actual topic. You turned focus onto something that came from left field so I was asking you where in the OP did it say anything about being Christian and why I felt that saying that was equally weak.





 



I'm sorry, but it seems you missed the origination of my comments.  If you look at the very beginnings of this conversation, you will see that I was the first person to comment after Christina made her first and original post.  And YES it did address the OP in a productive manner even citing references for further reference and it did not include the topic of religion which I felt was irrelevant at the time.  Here was my original comment for your review:



" Do we all remember being two and how it felt when we first discovered our genitals?  This subject is definately fopaux.  No one wants to believe that a toddler can experience pleasent feelings through their genitals.  Touching genitalia at any age can produce pleasant sensations.  Here is a website that addresses the issue and explains that even to a young child, the genitals can feel good when touched, and how to deal with it.  http://parenting247.org/article.cfm?Cont...  A child doesn't have to see something to instigate their exploration of their body, and if that exploration leads to a tingly or feel good sensation it is purely biological and not influential.  Please, do not worry about this behavior.  If it is undesired and uncomfortable for you, read this article and hopefully it will give you some insight on how to deal with this issue."



Only after Christina's response was seen in a negative light by many other moms did I chime in on the religion aspect of the conversations that were developing.  I read many other moms who were Psychology majors who referenced Freud and wanted THEM to know that I was as well but thought that their attempts at trying to get Christina to read Freud were a wasted effort. 



For you to give me the credit of turning "the focus onto somthing that came from left field" is more than I can accept.  I am not going to point out names but if you read back you will see where and who made religion the focus of this conversation.  It wasn't me.  I was just one of the numerous who commented on masturbation in relation to religion (because that's where the topic turned) and that is why I took it as hostile when you picked me out of the previous 20 or so to quote negatively from.  ;0)   



 



 



    

Amanda - posted on 01/09/2010

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Quoting Christina:

No, it doesn't lead them into thinking that sexual responses should be repressed.. It teaches them that at certain ages, especially YOUNG ages, it is NOT APPROPRIATE. What is the little girl going to do if some pervert starts touching her and it "feels good"? Every child should be taught that at a young age, touching yourself, and other people touching them, for gratification is inappropriate and immature and it sure as hell wasn't meant for them to be touching themselves inappropriately at 3 years old!! And yes, I said immature. B/c people who cannot control those desires ARE IMMATURE.

When a child KNOWS what masturbation is and KNOWS what the purpose of it is, like say an early teen.. That's a bit different than a 3 yr old.

Like I said before, there is a DIFFERENCE between SELF EXPLORATION and MASTURBATION.. Touching yourself b/c it "feels good" isn't JUST self exploration. You may fail to see it as that, and that's fine, but I call it as I see it. Ask a Pediatrician.. They will tell you there is a distinct difference between the two!!!


FYI, here is a resource on toddler masturbation: http://www.ehow.com/how_2159326_deal-tod...



You can argue all you want, but the medical community does NOT agree with you. Also, note step 1 of the instructions: "Ignore toddler masturbation. If you get angry or flustered when your toddler masturbates, many children will do it just to see your reaction."

Fawn - posted on 01/09/2010

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My daughter did this alot when she was little. She did it until she was in about second or third grade. It is really a difficult to do with a three year old but I agree with the last comment try to teach her that it is something she should do in private. My daughter would do it when she was most relaxed or tired. Her teacher in I believe it was first grade told us that it was normal and not to be worried. If you are really worried about it I would ask her doctor on your next checkup.

[deleted account]

Wow..Um, I'm not sure where to begin. I'm new here to the CoM and this conversation caught my eye. As I scrolled down to read the posts I have to say I was quite appalled and astonished at some of them. Regardless of our feelings/opinons toward Christianity, there is absolutely no need to be rude and foul-mouthed. It is just plain rude and inappropriate here in a forum where we are to encourage each other and support one another, specifically the person who is seeking the advice.



I am Christian and though my belief is discourage this behaviour in a gentle way, I do understand that it is normal for toddlers. I have three girls, my older two have gone through this (my oldest still occasionally does it) and I simply tell them to please stop doing it as it is inappropriate to do this in front of people and if they can't to please go to your room until you are done. They always stop right away because no child wants to go to her room. They simply giggle and then stop. There is no need for a sex education lesson at this point with a toddler, so I don't go into specifics with them about anything. They are not mature enough to understand. When the time comes, I'll be happy to educate my girls.



Do what feels right for you in this situation.



Again, let's please try to be a little more encouraging and less attacking here. I find it hard to be with moms here in my neighborhood because of their attacks and attitudes on certain subjects. I was hoping to find a different atmosphere her in CoM.

Bridgette - posted on 01/09/2010

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She realizes that its there. Its a phase and will pass. First child? Just make sure she doesn't have a rash and she will move on to something else in a bit. It's natural. Wait till you have a boy!!!

April - posted on 01/09/2010

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As a mother of 5 children. 3 that are girls. It's normal! She's just learn about her body.

[deleted account]

Masturbation in a 3 year old??? Whoa what is this baby watching??? That's just ridiculous and I would be worried.

Danielle - posted on 01/09/2010

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Ok I know many people have weighed in on this topic but I just wanted to say that it IS normal. I did it as a child and I was never molested so there is not necessarily a connection. The problem however is that both of my parents and other relatives made a BIG deal about how "wrong" it was and how "inappropriate" it was. I was constantly told to stop.
I ended up pregnant at 15 and contrary to the few comments above that infer that this behavior leads to promiscuity, my childhood exploration had nothing to do with my getting pregnant. My promiscuity had to do moreso with the fact that I was taught "sex is bad. Don't have sex" and obviously teenagers don't always avoid a behavior they're told to avoid. However, my parents constant behavior regarding my exploration left me with a problem now that I don't know how to fix. I am 23 years old and almost completely incapable of talking about sex. I can have sex with my fiance just fine but when it comes to communication, I get EXTREMELY embarrassed despite the fact that I'm an adult, he's an adult and these things are perfectly natural. I know that there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about but find that sometimes my face turns BRIGHT RED when I discuss certain things with even him (and we've been together for 7 years). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that my shame and embarrassment comes from being consistently told that my childhood behavior was "wrong" and being constantly told to stop.
It even goes as far as I have a hard time saying "vagina" or "penis" without feeling flushed. We were always discouraged from using the scientific terms as my mom felt they weren't age appropriate. She simply called them our privates.
I'm trying, although it's difficult with my embarrassment, to teach my boys that it's called a penis and that it's PERFECTLY normal to explore/touch as long as it's in private and they're not touching each other or anyone else and that NOBODY ELSE is to touch them unless it's mommy, daddy, a doctor, etc and even then those people are only allowed to touch them to clean them or provide medical treatment. My oldest is nearly 8 and can clean himself now so he knows mommy and daddy don't need to touch him to clean him anymore.
I also fully intend on teaching my children that the human body is NOTHING to be ashamed of. Yes, certain things should remain private but they should not be so ashamed of the human body that they have to have sex with their spouse in the dark- this is yet another one of my problems. Again, we've been together for 7 years and I still have issues with having the lights on because I hate my body.
When a big deal is made over normal/natural things and said things are oversexualized, it DOES cause psychological problems later on. All those who say "oh well I turned out just fine"...here's a different argument for you- once upon a time, it was perfectly normal for an infant to be laid on the floor of a vehicle without a safety seat. Those who survived without injury may say "well I turned out just fine" but that does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that children didn't get hurt or killed from lack of said safety device nor does it mean that because some people turned out just fine that it is a perfectly acceptable method to follow.
That may seem out there but it does in fact relate and my point is that while YOU may have turned out alright- it DOES cause damage to shame them and tell them it's wrong and it should not be the acceptable method of dealing with the behavior.
If you are religious and believe that masturbation/self gratification is wrong (which I've read The Bible front to back several times and still cannot recall seeing that anywhere in the book.... but whatever) then there are ways to teach that the human body is not something to be ashamed of but that your God would prefer that you don't self gratify. There are several very good approaches to this mentioned on the first page.
Religion does not mean that you should make them feel dirty or shameful- there are better ways to approach this.
I, however, am no longer of the religious mindset so my approach will continue to be to teach them that it's alright in private and that they should not be ashamed of themselves but they will know the importance of good touch/bad touch. My oldest son understands that if ANYONE attempts to touch him inappropriately he is to tell the nearest grown up that he trusts immediately after telling the pervert "No, it's not ok to touch me there".
My advice is really to just explain that it's ok if it's private (and obviously for siblings that share a bedroom the best course of action is to tell them that they can only touch themselves in the bathroom when they are alone. My children bathe together so I would make it clear that bathtime is NOT an ok time to touch but when they're in there BY THEMSELVES it's fine) and then seriously just ignore it. If it's done in public, a gentle reminder that it's private would be good but don't make a big fuss over it. If it's ONLY being done in private then just ignore it altogether and they should outgrow it.
I'm not an expert on the subject nor am I a professional psychologist, however, I know that the suggested response of some people that it should be stopped and is wrong, etc. has personally caused me damage so I REALLY disagree with that approach. I REALLY, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, believe that we oversexualize completely normal behaviors which only causes damage.

Sheila - posted on 01/09/2010

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There is nothing shameful in exploring the body!!! We all do and have done so! Nothing wrong with it! Please make sure you make your daughter know it is Ok! In her own room or house is fine! My daughter is 13 and half and we still talk about touching! This keeps open communication for the future teen years! Trust is there and they feel good about themselves! Make your choices positive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =]

Samantha - posted on 01/09/2010

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Well, all of the Christina's out there will, unfortunately, think it's wrong to masturbate at any age for all time. The bible says so, so it must be right, right? NOT. But you won't ever get her to change her mind. Just make sure her children don't date yours. Cos hers will think it's kinky and weird and wrong, and yours will just shake their heads. Masturbation is normal for all ages. My daughters did it, still do, and while I giggled on the inside cos it was funny, I very politely told them that is was totally cool, just that they should do that alone. I also told them that the only person who could touch them there was themselves. Or mommy or daddy or the doctor, with us there. When I have an itch, I scratch it. It makes it feel better. Whether it's my armpit, my leg, OR MY VAGINA, Christina. I'm sorry you feel it's "innappropriate". I am only thankful that my family doesn't. My oldest also "explored" her butthole, fortunately that wasn't as pleasurable for her, and I had to wash her hands after that! (I don't think there's anything wrong with that either, just gotta watch for fecal matter on the fingers!) Crystal, after all that, IT IS COMPLETELY NORMAL AND IT FEELS GOOD. She will continue to explore her world, whether it be her own body, or the backyard. Just make sure she is safe, and understands that no one else should be touching her that way, including her siblings. If you tell her it's wrong, start saving money for therapy. Good luck, I hope this helps.

Kim - posted on 01/09/2010

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Ahh yes, your daughter has found that she can pleasure herself. This is VERY normal. Try to explain to her that while it feels good, it is something she can only do in the privacy of her room. My daughter humped the nose right off her bear! Don't worry, she's just found what most kids find sooner or later.

Jaime - posted on 01/09/2010

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In response to Patricia who said: "Exploring/masturbation/touching YOUR OWN private parts is QUITE DIFFERENT from a stranger doing this to a young child and YES, little children DO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE (they are born with the ability to know when something is ABSOLUTELY WRONG with someone doing this to them)"

This information is not correct. Babies are not born with an innate sense of right vs. wrong, if that were the case then there would be no need to educate our children about safety and various other learned behaviours. The boundaries of appropriate vs. inappropriate are societally-structured, and it is Man that has decided that sexual touching of a child or minor (permission or not) is inappropriate. A person touching another person's genitals is not wrong or inappropriate if we are talking about consenting adults. If we are talking about a minor that understands the boundaries, it IS inappropriate because we have determined the 'minor' age to be intellectually-capable, but not yet fully aware of the consequences of sexual interaction. If we are talking about young children and toddlers, then the inappropriateness is obvious...but it still stands that boundaries NEED to be taught, they are not innate and they are not genetically fused to our DNA in utero. With that said, masturbation, self-exploration, self-pleasure of any kind is personal and unique to each individual. A child will not connect the feelings they get from touching their genitals, with sexual urges that come in their teen years and beyond. Some kids have no interest in masturbation or bodily exploration (although they are few) and that is their normal and natural bodily response--and perhaps even their bodily response to the stresses in their environment. Support, understanding and encouragement, so that they will be proud of their bodies, are the key components to helping children become aware of the boundaries and why they exist. But parents should never assume that a child is born knowing the difference between good touch/bad touch...it just doesn't work this way. Support their bodily curiosity, take every opportunity to discuss the difference between good and bad touching when they are young--but can understand, and leave communication lines WIDE open for your children when they become teenagers and adults...this will make a world of difference!

Mary - posted on 01/09/2010

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As the mother of all boys this is totally normal. I have told my sons tht if they want to touch themselves they need to do it in the bathroom or their bedrooms. My youngest now 4 almost always had his hand down his pants in the house, I would just simply say "let go or go upstairs", he got the message. They all sleep with their hands down their pants it feels good, it is not dirty or shameful nor should they be taught that.

Tracie - posted on 01/09/2010

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this is perfectly normal behaviour even at her young age. she is exploring her body learning how different things make her feel. one thing you do not want to do is to make her feel like this is wrong and that she should not do it. for young children the human body is a very strange thing and the only way to understand it is to explore it.

Hayley - posted on 01/09/2010

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TOTALLY NORMAL ! i have worked in childcare basically all my working life and about 60% of children 'explore them self ' its not unnatural or sexual, they are just finding out that hay if i do this if feels okay.

i wouldnt worry about it, if she is doing it in public , like on the couch while watching tv etc just say to her ( in a manner that should not be "in trouble" or you "freaked out") that, thats what we do in private

[deleted account]

Little girls who take bubble baths are prone to yeast infections. I would get her checked out by a doctor. What's appropriate behavior discussions can follow.

Jodie - posted on 01/09/2010

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As I'm sure you've read, it's completely normal! Although, I too feel that this is an inappropriate behavior in a child. Having 6 children of my own ranging in age from 25 to 7, and doing daycare for 15 years, I feel that I have a real understanding of this issue! With my older kiddoes, I didn't allow it at all! Never made them ashamed, but just told them not to do it when I saw that behavior. There is also the hygeine issue. I would just tell them that after having their hands on their privates that they needed to wash them.



Children share! Especially when something feels good! & They will tell their friends! When my then 3 year old son with a speech impediment told me "look mom, it's dicken up!" I looked, agreed with a smile, then just reminded him that he's not supposed to do that! When my now 9 year old girl was aprx. 2 & started the self exploration, I was older, had read all the "new age" parenting books, and decided to not discourage in any way other than the "it's private, only in your room, by yourself, etc......" A year and a half later, as it became more often and less subtle, I decided that she could go to a shrink later if she needed to and went back to the good old don't do it at all! :)



Now, having the first 3 of my children adults, with no sexual hangups!, & my 9 year old perfectly happy to talk with me about anything..... Do what feels comfortable to you and your family values. Most 2 & 3 year olds won't remember by the time their teens what you told them! Hope this helps you make your own decision.

Gail - posted on 01/09/2010

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It is perfectly natural for these types of things to happen with any child. Of course teaching her that she should not do this in front of other people but in her own room in private would be the best way to handle this. My son is 12 and autistic. He started touching himself a couple of years ago, we would walk into the room and find him touching the area. We just told him that these behaviors should only be done in the privacy of his bedroom or the bathroom. We also made sure that he understood that it wasn't wrong to have an interest in touching himself. That it is a normal part of human sexuality but that we should be private about it. Of course, your daughter is two young to go into that kind of detail but don't imply that it is wrong, dirty or shameful in any way. Good luck!

Janis D - posted on 01/09/2010

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Of course it "tickles" ie feels good. I'm happy that you are not introducing shame about her physical pleasure. Three is a fine time to begin explaining what is appropriate public behavior and what is private - sounds like you have lovely communication with your daughter.

Angella - posted on 01/09/2010

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my 5 year started doing that when she was only 1 1/2 years old. And she dose it. My advice is to try not to say to much about , unless she is hurting her self. They hopefully will grow out of it someday.

Shantel - posted on 01/09/2010

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its normal for a child to explore but if shes doing ALL the time then you might want to try to explain to her that yes its there, explain to her what its there for and what it does and tell her its not a toy to play with. lol.. my daughter will be 2 next month and she plays with her whoohaa when shes in the bath or when we change her but its not every time.. shes just curious!! but yes it is strange to see.. lol

Autumn - posted on 01/09/2010

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I have worked with young children for more than 10 years now. It is very typical behavior supported by research. Almost all young children, at some point, explore their body and realize exactly what your daughter realizes. It also signals the opportunity to begin teaching your child about what is appropriate touching from others. Typically, a child explores it for a while and moves on, just like every other new or stimulating experience they have encountered. Some posters pointed out that they might be concerned about inappropriate sexual behavior occurring, and yes, it can be a red flag, but typically you will noticed other indicators or red flags. Talk to your pediatrician about it if you are terribly concerned or feel it is becoming a bigger issue than exploration.

Sarah - posted on 01/09/2010

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Everyone is going to go through this. It is completely normal. They just know it feels funny or tickles. I know it can be really embarrassing sometimes, for example my daughter started putting toys down her pants at daycare at that age even but just bear with it and I swear it will pass soon enough. Just tell them not to do it around people because it looks gross and then people think your hands smell like potty. But yes, something to that kind of way is good to say because obviously you can't go around with hands down pants, but at the same time you don't want to make them feel ashamed about it. Good luck, and I promise this stage doesn't last too long

Michele - posted on 01/09/2010

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I am in early childhood education and know for a fact that this is a perfectly normal thing for a child of this age to do. She is exploring her body and yes, it may feel good to her but do not shame her. Just let her know that she needs to do it privately and ask her to stop when in front of anyone. If you were to ask your doctor or nurse they would tell you the same thing. Do NOT make a big deal out of it or you could cause her to hate her body or go in another direction with it. Good luck!

Patricia - posted on 01/09/2010

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Quoting Christina:

No, it doesn't lead them into thinking that sexual responses should be repressed.. It teaches them that at certain ages, especially YOUNG ages, it is NOT APPROPRIATE. What is the little girl going to do if some pervert starts touching her and it "feels good"? Every child should be taught that at a young age, touching yourself, and other people touching them, for gratification is inappropriate and immature and it sure as hell wasn't meant for them to be touching themselves inappropriately at 3 years old!! And yes, I said immature. B/c people who cannot control those desires ARE IMMATURE.

When a child KNOWS what masturbation is and KNOWS what the purpose of it is, like say an early teen.. That's a bit different than a 3 yr old.

Like I said before, there is a DIFFERENCE between SELF EXPLORATION and MASTURBATION.. Touching yourself b/c it "feels good" isn't JUST self exploration. You may fail to see it as that, and that's fine, but I call it as I see it. Ask a Pediatrician.. They will tell you there is a distinct difference between the two!!!


Two TOTALLY DIFFERENT SCENERIOS were brought up here....this little girl touching/exploring herself and feeling pleasure verses SOMEONE ELSE INNAPPROPRIATLY TOUCHING HER.  I really give the mom of this young child a LOT more credit for knowing the difference between the two situlations and talking to her daughter about OTHERS touching her there and PROTECTING her daughter from such people.  Exploring/masturbation/touching YOUR OWN private parts is QUITE DIFFERENT from a stranger doing this to a young child and YES, little children DO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE (they are born with the ability to know when something is ABSOLUTELY WRONG with someone doing this to them)

Tonya - posted on 01/09/2010

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my middle daughter did the same thing. i was very nervous about it. i talked to the dr and they said it was normal. to keep an eye on it, she finally grew out of it. i would just watch her and make sure it doesnt go any further.

Christine - posted on 01/09/2010

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I am an occupational therapist. It might be a sensory issue. Kids sometimes rub and touch things to stimulate themselves. It acts as a way to soothe or calm themselves. Maybe you should show her some other ways to tickle herself such as using a feather to lightly tickle her on the arm or give her a beanbag to let her hold and rub between her fingers. Maybe she just needs a different way to stimulate herself. I wouldn't tell her it's forbidden to do, because as we all know when you tell a 2 year old not to do so

ething, they want to do it more!!! Just show her there are other ways to tickle herself. Hope this helps a little. Good luck.

Jerren - posted on 01/09/2010

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Quoting Kiriosha:

This is very normal at that age. I work in a daycare and you wouldn't believe some of the things we see kids do. Sometimes they do it as a stress reliever and other tymes it helps them to calm down and relax. So, don't or try not to draw any attention towards it and eventually it will go away.


I've also heard the experts say that kids banging their heads in the corner of their crib is a "normal" behaviour that kids will get over too.  I believe that it is appropriate for human beings to touch and explore their own bodies.  However, we've created two things in our society that kids have to figure out how to deal with.  The first is that we teach them from early on that they must learn to "self soothe".  If you put a baby alone and awake in the middle of the night in their crib or left in their crib for "nap time", we expect them to figure out how to stop being scared or alone.  They suck their thumbs (then we tell them to stop doing that), they hold their stuffed animals (then we tell them that's not ok), then rock themselves or bump their heads, or find a spot on their body or motion that makes them feel better and we tell them THAT's not appropriate.  I think a lot of the behaviours of two years olds are to comfort them because they don't have the comfort or security  from the adults that take care of them.  Kids will still pull and yank and touch, but they may not NEED to masturbate to find comfort at such an early age if we hug and love and nurse and hold our children longer than society tells us is appropriate.



 



Second,  we have sexualized our bodies so much that we as adults can't see children's non-sexual innocence as anything other than something uncomfortable for us to watch.  Children don't have the same sexual response as they do after puberty.  They have their sex organs, but not the same hormones.  We are oberserving their behaviour with our sexually developed brains instead of seeing it through their eyes.  What if it JUST tickles?  Do you pull your kids hands away from their armpits?  No, because YOU the sexual developed person is seeing what they  are doing sexually, perhaps, not them.  So talking to them and LISTENING to what they are saying and accepting their experience as real will not shame them and it may teach you a thing or two about them.



 



If I put those two together, when I have seen my four children touching their genitals and it makes them happy and it makes me uncomfortable, I can pick them up and hug them and tell them that I love them and talk to them about how they feel.  Maybe they need some comfort.  There will be plenty of time in their life to "self soothe".



One last thing.  My kids all did the touching and exploring far younger than toddlers because I didn't put diapers on them 24/7.  I think we see more toddlers and older children touching so much is because it's the first time they have access.

[deleted account]

As a mother and foster parent we have experienced this many times. It is normal for a child to explore their bodies. As others have said just explain that we need to do that in privacy of our bedrooms or bathrooms and give her a signal that just she and you would know so that when you see her doing it you can give the signal and she can choose to stop or go in private. Don't make a big deal out of it or shame her.



Also you need to check to be sure she doesn't have a yeast infection, that her panties aren't too tight and rubbing her, and also check - have you changed laundry detergents that could be irritating her. Children will rub themselves because of these factors too.

Debbie - posted on 01/09/2010

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I knew a little girl that did this and her mom asked her doctor about it. He said that it is absolutely normal. Some children do it to relieve tension. He also stated that it feels good to her so she does it. She has no idea about Masturbation and if anyone says it is something she saw or that this is what she is doing they are just sick people with sick minds. Your child will grow out of it. She should not be reprimanded for doing this as has no idea what she is doing just that it feels good, that is the very innocence of childhood.

Jan - posted on 01/09/2010

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I know this sounds silly,but I was watching house the other night and there was a little girl doing the same thing,he just told the mom,she needed to explain to her to leave her private parts alone.Good luck!

Janet - posted on 01/09/2010

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Quoting Christina:

I'm sorry.. I seem to be the only one that thinks this way so far, but there is a difference between exploring and getting enjoyment out of touching yourself. It seems to me that your daughter enjoys it, and whether you like it or not, your daughter is committing masturbatory acts. No 2, 3, 4+ year old child should be masturbating! I would simply tell her that it's inappropriate to rub herself with anything. She will figure it out when she's older what to do if she wants to act out on it and not actually have sex, but no young child should be doing this. I have to ask though, where did she get it?? Did she walk in on you two or catch something on TV that was not age-appropriate material? If that's the case, I would simply lock your door.. If she needs something, she's old enough that she can knock and ask. Or if it was the TV and you don't want her seeing things like that, lock out those programs and you and your husband can hold the pass code to unlock it if that's your prerogative. Like I said, exploring is one thing.. They don't get "enjoyment" out of exploring.. But when she is getting enjoyment out of it, saying it tickles and whatnot, I would definitely consider that masturbation. Remember, she doesn't have to know what the words MEANS in order to commit the act..


Christina:



I understand that this may seem contradictory in terms to our nature as mothers, but this is a very normal part of development.  Check out this website http://www.drspock.com/article/0,1510,6247,00.html - It sounds to me that YOU are uncomfortable with it yourself and are projecting.  Sorry not everyone is deviant or sees some lude sexual thing and BAM they are messed up.    It is something that is comfurting.  Check out the website or google it.

[deleted account]

yes some people are just born to be very sexual. I did it all my childhood even since I was 3. My mother would always catch me and tell me to stop. The reason why I did it is because it felt good. And I am just being honest withyou. I knew nothing about sex back then just rubbing it felt good and that's it. My mother told me she thought I was being touched but I never said someone did. But you never know so just ask her simple questions.

Liz - posted on 01/09/2010

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I do. as uncomfortable as it can be (especially if they do it in public) its actually very healthy and normal. I used to do something to that extent, looking back im horrified, but youll be happy to know I didnt turn out to be promiscuous. The worst thing you can do is shame her. Just encourage her to do it in private

Katrina - posted on 01/09/2010

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Tickeling is a fun thing for youngens to not have to worry about

who or where they do it. Although she told you that it tickeled,

I think you might wanna give it a new name all of it's own.

I would also along with telling her to be alone when she does it.

The reason you do this alone and with nobody else is because

people are not suspose to know that you do that. It is very

unlady like to touch your private in front of other people.

Yes, that gos for little boys to. Even if their just simply trying

to adjust, it's still very unattractive. Boy, girl, it don't matter.

People don't wanna see it.

Jeannie - posted on 01/08/2010

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This is very very natural. Yes even at this young age they do start learning about their bodies and stuff. Like the other mom, I would explain it isnt somehting to do in public, but other than that I would leave it alone.

SHEILA - posted on 01/08/2010

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IGNORE IT MOST ALL LITTLE KIDS DO IT... TELL HER TO GO TO HER ROOM IF SHE WANTS TO DO THAT...

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