J.D. asks from Meridian, ID on July 15, 2008
5 Year Old Girl Showing Her Private Parts
Hello, my daughter just turned 5 in May and we have been having issues with her showing her private parts. I don't understand why she is doing this. We have talked about them being "private" and how it is inappropriate without making it a big deal. She will be walking around in her swimming suit and will just pull the bottom part over to show me when she knows I am looking at her. Why does she do this? Is it normal? She has also pulled her pants down in front of her 4 year old boy cousin and when asked what she was doing she said "I had to go potty and I wanted him to watch me." It's kind of disturbing to me and I am very curious to know if anyone else is having the same issues and what they did about it. Thank you so much!
2 moms found this helpful
D.C. answers from Boise on July 16, 2008
Ok, this is going to be upsetting and very unpopular, but, this is not normal. I would be concerned as to wether she has saw something she shouldent have, or worse had something bad happen to her. I know no parent wants to face this, but as a servivor of it half my childhood was taken from me. In the very least i would speak with her doctor and see what he sugessts.
L.B. answers from Salt Lake City on July 16, 2008
You mentioned that your are currently at home with your children for the summer. The question that came to me is, who watches your 5 year old when you are working ? My biggest concern is that she could be acting out something that has happened with her while in someone elses care. Of course all children have to learn what is and isn't appropriate, and they will eventually learn, if you are consistant with how you handle it. Is she doing it for attention? If it were my daughter, I would be asking more detailed (not leading) questions about why she keeps doing that.
C.S. answers from Salt Lake City on July 20, 2008
She might have seen someone doing this and she may be copying their actions. I have two boys and the only problem I have with my oldest (five years old) is that he likes to put soft blankets next to his private or watch it wiggle when he is getting ready to get into the bath tub. I'm not sure if it is common or not, but I would definitely talk to her about it and try to see if someone has shown her how to do it without implying it or giving her the idea. I think that at that age they just might be curious about their anatomy and since it is something that they are told not to show they rebel and do it anyway. I know it is really frustrating! I'm sorry I couldn't offer better advice. Good Luck!
K.J. answers from Salt Lake City on July 16, 2008
tell her it's not good to show her parts, act disgusted when she does, and show your dissaproval. she's probably just excited about this part of her body, kind of like discovering something you think is cool.
S.B. answers from Denver on July 20, 2008
To a point, I think it is normal. Also, she is geting you reaction. Try to immediately actively ignore her when she does this to you. she found a response, so don't keep giving it to you. Mine did this a bit at just turned 4. We just said: Not interested so what do you want for lunch. Redirect. Mine also had the cousin issue as she was obsessed with him sittin gup to pee when on a houseboat vacation for a week with him. then a week later, my other brother-in-law taught my 2 year old sone to stand and pee. Needless to say, it was a mess aroud here talking about boys and girls. Eventually, it got to be last week's issue.
A.F. answers from Salt Lake City on July 16, 2008
My first thought was that she may have experienced someone else doing the same thing, or even worse. Yes, kids like to explore their bodies and see what it's all about, but most kids will get the point about modesty and privacy in a short while. If you really feel that she's not getting it, or that she might have had a bad experience, it can't hurt to ask her about it. She needs to know that there are bad people who would do inappropriate things to her and that she needs to be aware and careful. If you've already taught her that, she should know if something inappropriate has happened already and will probably tell you. If it's really nothing and she just isn't listening to you about privacy, then try the time outs or leaving the situation. Anything you can do to let her know that it's serious. Good luck. Hopefully she's not seen something bad.
B.G. answers from Billings on July 16, 2008
I have just recently dealt with this same problem with my 4 yr old son. And from what I gathered, it is completely normal and yeah yeah yeah. But, I would say, if you've told her time and time again that she cannot do that in public, and she obviously ignores you and does it anyways, I would end the playdate, swimming session, anything, and take her home for a time out. Explain to her that she is more than welcome to explore her private parts when she's ALONE, ie- bathtub, bedroom, ect. I know it sounds perverse, because it did to me, but it is completely normal for them to want to explore. But, as for exploring in public, it is just unacceptable. If you've told her before, and she does it anyways, she needs to be punished, and maybe even banned from that activity for awhile so she gets the idea. My son continually did that and we grounded him from EVERYTHING; friends, park, pool, cartoons, video games, relatives, EVERYTHING, because he continually showed his privates when he obviously KNEW (as we had told him over and over and over) he was not to do that in public, and we havn't had an incident since. Sorry for the marathon, hope it helps.
D.K. answers from Denver on July 16, 2008
It is normal behvior, you continuing to tell her it is inappropriate is on the mark. Explaining her body is for HER to see, and unless it is you, her Dr (with you in the room) NOBODY is allowed to see her or touch her. I finally had to go hard core on my daughter who would get dressed wherever regardless who was around that if she did this at school she could get into a lot of trouble, then I proceeded to explain about there being bad people out there that may take what she is doing as wrong, even maybe hurt her. That may sound horrifying but she is articulate enough we had a talk about bad people, it had to happen as she had to understand that yes bodies are beautiful, it is her private special thing and that showing others was very inappropriate and bad manners, for a number of reasons, she of course asked for those reasons....she is one of those kids I had to be honest and blunt to get my point across.
Once I really drove the point home that she has control over her body and she needs to understand she is now becoming a big girl that she needs to shut the door when she is in the bathroom, get dressed in a room with the door shut and that she should protect her own body that helped a lot. She still pees with the door open sometimes but she has realized what "privacy" and all that is now and is doing a lot better.
It is normal for this age, my son who is 4 is now just all interested in his body parts and has no sense of privacy so I am going round two with him now, hee hee....
C.L. answers from Colorado Springs on July 16, 2008
my stepdaughter did the same thing when she was that age. I caught her laying in the hallway with my 3 yr old nephew with her pants unzipped, then i caught tham again with her pants down totally this time. then after we had discussed it in great length and i also brought it up to her mom, i thought it was over with until i caught them again the week after that. it has ceased since then, but she has a baby brother with her mom and her mom never let her see her change her brother. so i think part of it was curiosity since she knew something was different from what she had. she knew all about private parts and she always told me "no boys except daddy and her stepdad could see her woohoo" so i think it may have just been curiosity. in your case with her showing anybody, it may just be her way of seeing just how private its supposed to be. i would not react to it at all if she is just showing you. this way she will realize that its not a big deal anymore. but it all depends on who else she is showing and so on. most likely its just a phase.