19 answers

4 Yr Old Always Touching Himself

My 4 yr old grandson has gotten into the terrible habit of always having his hands on his private parts. When he first started this about 2 months ago we assumed he would outgrow it. Now he does it all the time and really does not even realize he is doing it. We are constantly telling him to put his hands down or actually moving them ourselves but they go right back as soon as he focus is off us. We have talked to him about "Daddy doesn't do this" and nothing seems to work. It's like he is pinching or pulling himself. Could this be a medical issue? Has anyone ever dealt with this?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I completely understand. My almost 4 yr old does the same thing. It really bothers me but he only does it when he is naked. My husband is not at all concerned. He says my son plays with it because it is there & feels good & is something he will grow out of. My doctor says the same thing. Apparently this is normal boy behavior.

Just continue to tell him no and remove his hands. You can also use the phrase, "not a toy". Consistency without anger and frustration will help him outgrow this.

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My son is almost 4 and does this. We are teaching him to not do it in front of other people. We don't want to make to big of a deal out of it or make him feel there is something wrong with him. We went to a party of 4yr olds and he stuck his hand down his pants. I told him to get his hand out of his pants and the other moms laughed and said their boys do the same thing. I think is just a stage for kids this age.

All boys do it..it just is what it is...I have 3 boys they do outgrow it at some point it just feels like forever...I had one that was really bad about it..We use to tell him that it was okay if thats what he needed to do but to please go to the bathroom or his room so that our girls wouldn't see him do that. He got tired of having to leave all the excitment and stoped putting them down his pants and went to putting his hands in his pocket and soon that stopped too..so I'm wishing you the best of luck..Its a phase..and there are lots of them to go through so just remember it never last forever!!

You are not alone! My, now 6.5yr old, son began the pinching behavior about the same time. It's irritating, yes but it's something that most little boys do (my best friend has 3 boys and confirms). I have to constantly remind him about it, but ultimately, it's worse when he's in pajamas without underwear.

We have made a rule of wearing underwear all of the time - no sleeping "commando". And, if he wants to pinch, don't do it in front of others.

Ahh, boys!

My 5 year old nephew does the same thing and I have questions too, but didn't want to ask my sister. I know they are working with him, but like your grandson, nothing seems to work. I am interested in what others have to say about this issue.

Welcome to the wonderful world of boys! I have 4 sons between the ages of 12 and 3.5. My husband was raised with a brother. When our first son was about 3-4yrs old, he started touching himself and it made me crazy. My husband, my father-in-law and couples we were close with that had older children ALL told me that this was a phase and it will pass- not to draw attention to it. I struggled with the first one....now 4 kids later I can tell you that it truly does stop- almost overnight. My older 2 boys are 10 and 12 and they never do it. My 5 yr old is the one who is still doing it. Our 3.5 year old I've just notices in the last month or 2 starting. He is also 'inspecting' when he is in the shower. The Christian books I've read about raising boys explain this time as an awakening/ awareness of their body and it distracts them occasionally. I am happy to tell you- that it really is ok, just 'don't draw attention to it!'

He could possibly have yeast.

I am on the same page with Jeris....I tell my boys that their penises are private and not to touch (yes the pinch and pull)...infront of other ..They need to do that in the privacy of their own rooms..It's happened at preschool ...And they said "He's not the first and he won't be the last"...It's normal....We just have to set boundaries without making them feel like it's wrong. :-)

I have 3 boys, and my oldest, 5 went through this, and my 3 yr old is entering this phase. It's natural, but I emphasize that their penises are for potty, not playing. Yes, it's a natural urge, and at their age they are innocent, but I most certainly will not teach my boys it's ok to do even in private. Definitely do not try to shame him or make him feel like he's being bad - gently remind him "hands", then redirect his attention and help him occupy his hands with something else. Play with playdoh, color, cook together, play cars, blow bubbles outside, anything involving the hands =) It tends to happen more when they are bored. Also, have you talked with his mother? Ask if she has talked to him about it and what does she do? I wouldn't worry - this too shall pass.

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