16 answers

4 Year Old Daughter Masturbates

I am not sure how common this is, but my daughter is 4.5 and has been masturbating for about 2 years. The pediatrician and preschool teacher has said to ignore it, but it is gettting harder and harder to ignore. She use to do it with her blankie, so I banned her blankie to her room only. Now she does it with her hands almost anytime she is watching TV. She once told her grandpa her privates hurt because I think she had irritated them so much. When I see her doing it, I send her to her room, but I am not always able to watch her. I send her to her room, not as a punishment, but I explain that it is private and it needs to be done in her room if she wants to do it. Anyway, it has become so often lately that I am starting to getting angry about it and am having a hard time ignoring it. Anyone ever deal with this. Some advice on how to handle it would be wonderful. Thanks Ladies.

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2 out of 3 of my kids have done this. My now 4yr boy has done this with his blanky for a few months. I did bring it up to the ped. and he said his daughter was also going through that phase and it is NORMAL.I think you are doing a great job. I NEVER EVER tell him to stop or it is wrong but to only do it in his room. I notice he will stop because he doesnt want to be in his room away from everyone else and I really notice he does it when he is bored or looking for attention. This is my son so I am in no way saying thats why you daughter is doing it. I know with my now 10yr daughter it passed after awile. It is normal and I wouldnt worry to much. Good Luck.

More Answers

Touching and exploring is normal, but when it becomes excessive so that is her favorite pastime and to the point where she is causing irritation, that really needs to be more delicately handled.

She needs to have another stress reliever and comfort soothing activity addressed to her, as of right now, it sounds like this is the only thing she is using to cope and do out of boredom. Give her distractions, and more cuddle time are some of the things they suggest

Child expert Dr. Jim talks about this here and what you can do:


We teach our boys that this is the area they pee from, it's only okay to touch for peeing and cleaning. We don't go the naughty or sinful route, just that it's a private area and not for touching for them, or not for anyone else to touch either.

5 moms found this helpful

Sexual exploration is normal. Masturbation at that age is not. A simple NO when the child explores usually will teach them not to play with themselves. I am not a young woman and I have raised quite a few children...all happily married and from what they tell me, sexually happy. Little girls are different from little boys. Rethink what she is trying to achieve. There is the issue of injury. There is also an issue of hygiene. A youngster like that can create multiple and ongoing problems with hands that could have gone anywhere.

That's such a burden for a child to bear!

5 moms found this helpful

Y'know . . . this may be not simply sensual pleasuring
but perhaps irritation/itchiness.
And each feeds into the other.
I don't have any suggestions . . .
other than I hope you'll be able to resist getting angry.
Whatever the situation is, you'll be in a much better/more competent mindset to follow up with whatever plan you decide on if you are not
distracted by anger.

3 moms found this helpful

This is normal. I clearly remember masturbating frequently at her age. My mom told me that it was private and needed to be done only in my room. After a few times being told this firmly, I believe that I did comply with that rule. My daughter (now 8) has not been as obvious about this, but I do notice that she chooses to be alone sometimes in the bedroom or bathtub and I give her that space.

I woud continue to stress to her that this needs to be done in private. Enforce that rule. Shut off the TV and send her to her room. Not angrily, but firmly. Watching TV causes us to stop thinking and just do what we feel like (I've noticed kids sucking thumbs, picking noses, etc. and not even realizing they are doing it when the TV is on).

3 moms found this helpful

Well, it's not really "masturbation" in the sense that it's sexual to her at this age. It's a pleasurable feeling, so she does it. However it does seem that she does it to excess! My oldest son is 4.5 and of course he's discovered his genitals, but he was fine with the explanation that any playing with them needed to be done in private. My MIL says his dad -my husband -was much worse and embarrassed her to death in the grocery store and everywhere, so I know some kids really get into it! Did your pediatrician offer any advice? How long ago did you broach the subject with the doctor? Is it possible she has a yeast infection and is rubbing because it itches/burns/hurts? I'm sure this isn't something you want to think about -but is it possible she's been molested? Perhaps her pediatrician should have a look at her genital region. The only thing I can recommend is constant consistency. In a calm voice (I know it's hard), every time she does it -watching tv or any other time -tell her she needs to stop touching herself there and if she doesn't, she's going to have to go to her room. Turn off the tv if she can't or won't stop while watching it. Be very clear that it's okay to touch yourself there in PRIVATE (which I know you've done), but not any other time. You may have to say this over and over and over, but she may be using this as a control mechanism and to get a rise out of you, because she knows it pushes your buttons (lots of experience with this regarding other issues and my 4 year old). As hard as it is -try to remain calm about it at all times, but make sure the tv gets turned off and she is sent to her room. I would take her back to the doctor though!

2 moms found this helpful

If we have time for it I do the same and send kiddo off to be in private. The REST o' the time it's this:

"Hands outta your pants." as i go about doing what I was doing

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That seems a little young, has the doctor checked her for a yeast infection or anything that would cause her to itch or be extra sensitive? Have you tried putting some vagisil on her to see if it itching/irriation that causes discomfort? Could she be doing it for comfort? My daughter pinches her underarms it's a physical habit.

I think the way you handle the masturbation is healthy - tell her it's private and not something we do in public/around other people.

If its really bothering you - I would go back to her pediatrician, or maybe see a different doctor and get a second opinion. Touching, exploration and curiosity are very normal but if she's doing it as often as you suggest I would think something else must be going on - and maybe your pediatrician dismissed it too soon.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

So do you mean... it seems to be compulsive... and your concern is that she cannot seem to control herself and it is too... much?
Have you expressed that to your Pediatrician...
as you said, it has become "so often" that she is doing this.

Sure, every kid has normal exploration and does go through this which is considered normal.. and yes, to just ignore it and direct the child to their room for privacy etc.

But it seems... you understand that, but your concern is that your daughter is doing it SO much... or it is getting to be more frequent... that you are worried??? And don't know how much is too much or how much is not normal???

One thing would be to articulate to your Pediatrician... since you feel this is beyond... normal frequency etc.
But, I don't think, that being angry at her, is going to help.

Does your daughter do this everywhere? No matter who is around her or not? Or does she confine it... to only at home, in private????
She is 4 years old.... and once in elementary school or older... if she is still doing this... it will become awkward...

Since you say...ignoring it and having her go in her room... is not helping, ask your Pediatrician for other suggestions.... or.. is she stressed or anything???

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