my 4yr old daughter sits funny,if she was 18 or 19 I would think she was masterbating! What do I do?

Amanda - posted on 02/08/2012 ( 38 moms have responded )

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So for like the past 2 weeks I have caught my daughter either sitting funny on a cushion on the floor or laying down with her hands down there moving in both situations.. I refuse to have any sexual contact with my fiance while our children around never have! My sister is my babysitter and I know she dosen't do that stuff in front of them.. I don't know what she is getting out of it i mean she is 4.. Or where she is getting it from! When I ask her what she is doing she just says she is sitting / laying there. I have told her that girls don't do stuff like that and she looks at me as if to say girls don't sit? I don't know what to do, I don't know how to get her to stop... I am worried casue she starts school in Sept and I would rather not have her doing it in school and I am the one that has to answer to the teacher.. I guess I am asking has anyone eles lil girls done this and what can I do to get her to stop... help me please!!

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Kay - posted on 02/08/2012

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Honestly, in response to your subject line, she probably is--and it is normal.



Let's face it, it doesn't just start feeling good down there magically when we hit puberty. Those nerves exist our whole lives. It is not unusual for young girls to discover that when they touch themselves, it is pleasurable.



This has nothing to do with anything she has or hasn't seen, and if you freak out over it, you could actually hurt her sexuality later in life. They attach no sexual connotation to it whatsoever.



Best advice is to talk to her and let her know that private parts are private for a reason, and that these are things we should do in our bedroom or bathroom, where we have some privacy.



Good luck! :)

Genevieve - posted on 02/09/2012

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My daughter is almost 6 and does it all the time.

I tell her to make sure she washes her hands and that is something to do in private. I don't appreciate her coming and sitting beside me on the couch and having her hands down her pants just like I don't appreciate my dog hopping up on the couch to lick his private parts either. And I explained it the same way to her. Dont worry. Its nothing to be ashamed of. And it is probably a good way to start more talks about her body. Letting her know that she is in control of her body and that no one is allowed to be touching her there. A great book I had when I was little and just found on Amazon in is by Joe Kaufman and it is called The Big Book About The Human Body. It is out of print but is by far the best book out there. I wish they would re issue it. So if you look on Amazon you will be able to find it in used condition. I really reccomend it! My daughter loves it and can look through it whenever she wants.

Patience - posted on 02/12/2012

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Your response " When I ask her what she is doing she just says she is sitting / laying there. I have told her that girls don't do stuff like that " was NOT a good answer. You made it sound like a shameful thing when its completely normal even at that age. You should have told her its a private matter and if she is it need to be done in a private area where there are no other people around.

Sarah - posted on 02/09/2012

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this is normal for kids that age, they explorer themselves nothing wrong with it. tell ehr to do it in private but dont tell her its dirty etc as its not its natural :)

Sarah - posted on 02/09/2012

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My daughter did this when she was about 3, always had her hands down her trousers when she thought no one was watching her, I think its because they get to an age where they realise what parts they have and get abit curious... So every time i saw her doing that i asked what she was doing always getting the answer "nothing", So i sat next to her one day and in a happy tone of voice as i didnt want her to think i was telling her off i simply said that little girls dont do that it makes your hands dirty told her to go wash her hands properly, and told her to wash her hands every time i saw her doing it and after about a week she didnt do it as she got frustrated with washing her hands. wokred for me hope it works for you x

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Betty - posted on 12/03/2012

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I don't remember when I started But I still do it so I am not gonna stop my 3 yo from doing something that surly won't hurt her LOL

Betty - posted on 12/03/2012

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My daughter started when she was barely walking her DR told me it there is nothing wrong with it. I have walking in on her playing with herself several time now that shes 3 some girld start like touching therselfs what will it hurt nothing

Jessica - posted on 03/13/2012

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Reality is you can't stop her. My daughter has been doing it since five months. We have set up a time rest time for her to do it and in her room only. She knows its a private thing that's what's most important. She will eventually grow out of it....i used to do the same my mom says until I was about eight or nine. good luck

Jenny - posted on 02/28/2012

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You don't want them to stop all together just want them to stop in PUBLIC.... It's not a bad thing and doctors will tell u it's masturbation bc it is.... They just don't no that it's a comfort thing for them at the young age... Parents need to talk about it and teach their kids not to do that in public or school... Telling them not to do it will hurt them or make them feel ashamed... I no this bc I went thro it and so is my daughter

Kelly - posted on 02/28/2012

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she's exploreing it's normal for her age my two yr old does it. Just explaine to her she can't do that out in public or school. make sure she washes her hands afterwards. I know it's hard raiseing kids i have kids an 11 yr old boy who is exploreing as well and it grosses me out butg it's normal. I have two 7 yr olds a girl and boy they haven't started yet and a 4 yr old boy who hasn't. 3 kids are my sisters the 11 yr old the 7 yr old girl and the 4 yr old the other 2 are mine. It does happen some earlier than others. take her to her dr and tell ur doctor what she does they may have more suggestions about what you can do to get her to stop. good luck

Sarah - posted on 02/27/2012

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It's normal for young children to masterbate. Telling her girls don't do that is lying and is going to make her be ashamed of herself. Instead teach her boundaries, like if she wants to do that, she needs to go to the privacy of her bedroom. It's not necessarily a sexual thing at that age, it's like if you have an itch, it feels good to scratch it.

Jenny - posted on 02/24/2012

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It's called rocking... It's rare and all u can do is teach her not to do it in public... Doctors call it masterbation... To them its a good feeling... They can't help it... If u try and stop her it will get worse... I know from experience!! And my daughter does the same thing...

Nicole - posted on 02/24/2012

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I was probably around 9 months old when I started rubbing my thighs together...I would get beat up for it...whipped with a belt whenever I was caught. My mom and stepdad were disgusted by me. When I was 3 or 4...I tried to explain it to my mom's brother (my favourite uncle with a heart of gold) and demonstrated it, in hopes that he would see there is nothing bad that I am doing and that maybe he would get them to stop beating me up for it. He gently explained to my mother that it was just me stimulating the muscles (i didn't understand what it meant back then... I thought he meant I was doing like a leg exercise/morning stretch type type thing)

Anyways, I had some serious inhibitions with anything sexual as I grew older. I thought sex was dirty and disgusting. After puberty i did connect the thigh thing with sexual things but not until i was 18 was i told by my now ex husband that it was a form of masturbating! unbelievably, my three year old son has been doing something quite similar! Goes without saying that I dont plan on beating or hitting him for it. So it really is much more common than people think or like to admit..cheers and take care!

Tiffany - posted on 02/21/2012

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Look at it like this:



Who's problem is this?

It's yours.



It's not bothering her. It's bothering YOU. You'll be embarrassed, essentially.



1. It's normal. She might need the stimulation of movement - some kids have a sensory input/output issue.

2. it could simply be that it feels nice, comfortable, to gently rub that area. She isn't masternating, because she isn't orgasming. It's just a pleasureful feeling.



Don't, please, don't make her feel like she's doing something wrong. You will see negative outcomes for the rest of her life if you do.

Bailey - posted on 02/21/2012

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I agree with Kay; self-gratification in children is not as common as, say, thumbsucking- but it is nothing to worry about. it is not abnormal =)

Jessica - posted on 02/18/2012

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if it helps, you can explain how when people go to the bathroom they don't do that in public, and when people take baths they do so in the path. try using examples of things people don't do in public, and don't be afraid to tell her. "let me tell you a secret, mommy does that too, but you don't see mommy doing that where other people can see do you?" make it like some little pow wow between mother and daughter. besides, if she knows this now... she may be more inclined to stick with that instead of discovering other stuff as a teen as well because if it isn't made a bad thing now, she won't wonder about it later. as of now, it isn't like that... but the habit of making it shameful can do many things to your kiddo... my boys touch themselves too. kids do this. better they know their bodies and themselves than be ashamed of it. many unhealthy thought patterns come from being ashamed of your own body. just teach them nobody should be touching them but them, and later on you can explain some other stuff... like the words yes and no... I also recommend some karate classes as the confidence that oozes off girls who have confidence in themselves is typically found attractive in of itself... and that means some idiot may try something one day, plus it also helps with bullies and self discipline. maybe not yet with it but... well, the "if someone touches you their, hit them ___"... the point being... this is perfectly normal. I asked the same questions when mine started this... I am so glad I had someone to ask... I about freaked.

Jamie - posted on 02/15/2012

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This is a very natural normal thing. Its in our nature to do things like this it doesn't mean she learned it from somewhere. I wouldn't worry about it and most of all I wouldn't tell her to stop. Telling her to stop will just make her feel like shes doing something wrong and shes not. I would just say you only touch yourself like that when you are alone and leave it at that. If you make her feel weird about it then shes going to grow up self concious about her body.

Bonnie - posted on 02/14/2012

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Girls do this just as much as boys do. She is exploring her body and realises it feels good. Just tell her it should be done in private where not everyone can see, such as her room or the bathroom.

Jessica - posted on 02/13/2012

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It's all part of life they dont get pleasure out of it, they are just getting to know their bodies. My 7yr old would even do it while we were out shopping. So I just simply talked to him and said everybody does it's fine BUT they only do it in private! It's not something you do around people. Took a few times of me telling him that and he got it pretty quickly.

If she thinks shes just sitting their not knowing what shes doing maybe then just simpy say 'OOOO lets practice for school on how we sit like ladies" and just sit with her on the floor and if she puts her hands down there then just say "look at how mommies sitting hands on her knees like a big girl" Maybe don't draw too much attention to what she's doing and try drawing attention to what she should be doing and make it fun and tell her she's getting ready for school. You have to remember she doesn't know it's wrong or even if she thinks shes sitting down then doesn't even know shes doing it, so just shape her into a different behavior pattern instead of bringing it up and then she'll never know what the problem was.

Ashley - posted on 02/13/2012

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She is exploring her body. Don't freak out just explain to her that is something you do in private. Girls do masturbate and it is completely normal. She didn't see any behavior in order to figure out that it feels good rubbing on a pillow or kneeling on her heels.



Take a moment to look up the phases that children go through in a child psychology book. It might help define some of the behavior you are seeing and give you a better understanding of the issue and how to deal with it.



I can assure you she is not doing it to make you upset. her behavior is driven by the same center in the brain that initiates sucking a thumb for comfort. Good luck and don't punish her for it. If she knows that its something to do in private she won't do it in school.

Bernadette - posted on 02/13/2012

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it doesn't take long for a kid to work out that it feels good to touch down there! It doesn't matter if they have had any exposure to things of a sexual nature or not. I remember doing it myself as a kid, and I was still young enough for my parents to be giving me a bath because I remember my dad telling me to stop. It's if she started to do things that simulate sex (such as humping things!) that would be a worry. If she has just discovered that it feels good to touch down there, it's most likely she discovered it all on her own.

Lauren - posted on 02/12/2012

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I have 2 boys and when I changed their diapers at about 6 months, they discovered their penis. It felt good when they grabbed ahold of it and they knew it. So anytime they could touch themself they do. My oldest is about to turn 5 and I'll still catch him "scratching" himself, but when he's got it up, you just know he's not scratching it or even for the length of time he does it. My youngest is going to turn 3 in May, and everytime he goes to the bathroom or we go to put a diaper on him for bed he grabs it and plays with it. Its normal and natural. I can't say she will grow out of it, but keep telling her people don't do that so she doesnt happen to do it in public or at a relatives house and they get uncomfortable. Good luck.

Jenni - posted on 02/12/2012

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They don't have to learn it somewhere. They figure it out on their own. It's normal. Just tell her that it is a private thing. Also make sure you are teaching her about "good" touch and "bad" touch. As well as being clear that no one else is allowed to touch her privates but her.



It's not called "masturbation" this young because they're not thinking sexual thoughts when they do it. It's called genital stimulation and is a completely normal part of development in boys and girls. Just figuring out how her body works.

Stifler's - posted on 02/12/2012

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Ask her to please do it in her room because it is not wrong but it's a private thing to do. It's normal.

Rachael - posted on 02/11/2012

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It is normal, it is not sexual, but it feels good. Even at 4 years old. It is also normal for parents to freak out a bit. What would probably help is to tell her that you know sitting that way feels good, but that it is something she should do only in her bedroom and it is not a place for anyone else to touch. good luck with it =) Also please please please don't tell her it is dirty. Hands are MUCH dirtier than a vagina or penis. telling a child it is dirty makes them feel ashamed about it and themselves, but doesn't make them stop. I am glad to hear you talked to her about it and used it as a segway into appropriate and inappropriate touching. Parenthood is as much about learning as it is teaching our little ones. My son tells me all the time that he likes touching his penis. He said it feels good. but he knows he can't touch it in public because it is just his. He knows he can touch his penis in the bathtub or in his room or at bed time, but not in public.

AJ - posted on 02/11/2012

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Ok so first of all my advice would be to stop telling her that "Little girls dont do stuff like that" becasue quite simply, your wrong. It seems to me that its quite likely she has discovered that what she is doing feels nice. It is a very normal and perfectly healthy part of her development. It is very important that you are mature about it, explain to her that you know it feel nice for her to touch herself but that it is not polite to do so in the company of others, that her private parts are private and touching them in that way should be done in private time. The worst thing you can do is make her feel bad or ashamed about exploring her own body, please dont do that to her. You clearly are not comfortable with what she is doing, perhaps because of your own shame, i dont know, but as her mother you have to put your own comfort/discomfort aside and allow your daughter to grow up unashamed about her body or sexuallity etc. Her actions are not sexual, she does not understand that concept, she only knows what feels good or bad and she should not be shamed out of exploring that, but taught what is socially acceptable behaviour in front of others. Good luck.

Timora - posted on 02/11/2012

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It's totally normal. My 3 year old actually figured out how to 'ride' on her rocking horse in such a way as to feel good down there. She never actually rocks on her rocking horse normally. I try to tell her that it is something private and if that's what she wants to do she can go to her room and that is fine. My problem is she gets obsessed with it and nothing will distract her and will 'ride' anything she can find - the corners of chairs or toys.

Jodi - posted on 02/10/2012

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Girls totally masterbate. It would be a very rare person who has never masturbated. What she is doing is totally normal. I have caught my 2 year old touching herself, it feels good and she knows it, I just tell her she needs to go to her room or to the bathroom to do that. Sometimes she does, sometimes she just stops. If you tell her that girls don't do that, you might make her feel like she's doing something wrong. I dont know, maybe you do think that masturbation is wrong or sinful, if that's the case, I simply can't help you. It's normal IMO and she shouldn't have to stop. again, just my opinion.

Lichelle - posted on 02/10/2012

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Girls DO do that, so try not to tell her they don't! Just sit down with her and explain that it is a private thing, and ask her not to have her hands in her pants when she`s at school or sitting in the livingroom etc.. I think the washing her hands every time you catch her sounds like a good idea!



Babies and toddlers are perfectly capable of masturbation. You just need to explain that it is something private and shouldn`t be public!

Megan - posted on 02/10/2012

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Its how she's discovering herself! We view it as inappropriate. So naturally where uncomfortable with it. I have 3 boys and the second they realized they had 'that' it became a built in toy. I haven't really put a ton of thought into it every time I see them with there hands down there pants I tell them to stop. ( All 3 are under the age of 5 ). But I would think that if u made it into a big deal then shed do it to test the boundaries (given her age). And it seems to me that if she's told it wrong and dirty it could possibly effect her views on sex latter on in life.

Amanda - posted on 02/10/2012

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Thank you ladies so much! I am very grateful for the advice.. And for no one thinking I am crazy.. I did ur advice nd talk to her about it.. She understood more then I thought she would.. Nd I haven't seen her do it since.. I also talked to her about the whole touching someone eles or someone touching her a lil.. My mom never had that talk with me so I am a lil nervous on what to say nd what I shouldn't.. But I guess your first child is your learning experience.. Nd I have learned something new everyday since the day I had her.. Again thank u all so much :)

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 02/10/2012

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It's called self exploration at that age. My 7 year old started doing it with her security blanket when she was 3 and it is perfectly normal. Any baby/toddler/children's book will tell you that she's doing something all girls and boys do. Babies even start doing that when they're around 10 months. And yes girls do things like that- I did that when I was 6- I just didn't know what it was.



The best you can do for her is to tell her to wash her hands and suggest that she doesn't do it where people can watch her because it's private. I know of someone who went as far as to show their daughter how not to hurt themself when they materbated. And above all, don't make your daughter feel ashamed of exploring her body.



This has nothing to do with physical or sexual abuse because she would be exhibiting more extreme behaivours. Nor does it have anything to do with kissing, touching or showing any type of physical affection to your partner. It's just a factor in having children. You can also consider this a lead into teaching your daughter proper male and female anatomy and talking to her about what to do if someone touches her inappropriately.

Lisa - posted on 02/10/2012

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Agreed with all of the above. It's natural curiosity. I had the same problem around the same time my son turned 4. He's 6 now. When I asked him what he was doing in the bathtub, he, too said nothing. That he was just playing with it. So I told him matter of factly, that his pee pee was dirty and that he needed to finish washing up. Then I mentioned that he has toys to play with and that his pee pee wasn't a toy. Wasn't sure how else to respond on the spot like that but he doesn't do it much anymore and not at all out in the open thank God. Just don't freak her out. I asked my pediatrician about it and he too said it's normal. He also said to talk gently to them. Hope this helps

[deleted account]

Girls and grown girls do stuff like that :)



So I would agree with other posters not to make it a dirty thing but tell her that those parts are for private and direct her to wash hands like another mama mentioned.

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