21 answers

My 5 Year Old Touches Himself

My 5 year old son has recently began wanting alot of privacy. He doesn't want me or anyone else in the bathroom when he goes which is understandable I guess, but I've seen him touching himself. He'll go in his room get under his blanket and play i guess. I don't know if this is normal and he doesn't do it infront of anyone but i'm afraid that his younger sister may see him or there may be some problems with that. I don't know where he's getting this from either.

What can I do next?

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Developmentally, this is normal for a 5 year old to "explore", so I would not be too concerned. I would suggest you sit down with him now that he is more aware of his body and explain what is okay and what is not okay. Most likely he did not learn this behavior anywhere but is playing. I would be concerned if he is asking others to see or join in on the "play".

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My son did this also when he was about 4. I'm sure you know that it's not a sexual thing. He has simply realized that it feels nice & is probably relaxing. All we did was remind our son that it was something that he did in private. Can your daughter open the doors? If not, remind him, since he already goes to his room, that he needs to make sure that the doors are closed. Yes, soon enough, your daughter will do something like this as well. It's just a phase. It didn't last very long here & probably won't for you.

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Trust me this is totally normal.My 4 yr old does it all the time.I asked him why he does it and he said that he likes doing it.He will lay in bed watching a movie and i will turn to check on him and he has his hands on it.Your little girl will probably do it too.They are just curious as to what it is and all.
With your son it will continue.Trust me.I have a 15 yr old who does it all the time.Well the difference is my 15 yr old has hit puberty.
There is nothing to worry about at all hun.It is all normal.

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I just want to echo that it is normal. Just as every child is different in everything else, so they will be different about this. I just made sure my boys, two of them, understood they could only do that in their room in private. Sometimes I will wake my 5 yr. old up in the morning, and his hand is in his pants. If he's doing it in his sleep, you know you can't control it. Sometimes I think little boys need to make sure it is still there!
And yes, someday your daughter will start exploring her body also. Again, perfectly normal. Again, need to be taught there is a time and a place.
Personally, I wouldn't worry about limiting how often, that will take care of itself. My 15 yr. old did eventually stop doing it all the time, and I don't really want to know what he is doing now.
R.

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You don't know where he's getting it from? It feels good! He does it for the same reason the rest of us do it. It's good that he understands that it's something to do in private, many kids, although younger, will do it anywhere and you have to teach them that it's something you don't do in public.
Whatever you do, don't make him feel bad or ashamed of it. It's something that will probably pass, but even if it doesn't, as long as it's not disruptive to the rest of his life (he still does other things with his free time, right?) it's nothing to worry about.

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M.,

Sounds like normal exploration to me. Your daughter will probably go through it too. I'm sure it feels good, in a non-sexual way. You could use it as a learning opportunity to reinforce that it is ok for your son/daughter to touch him/herself, but not ok for others to touch them.

My son is almost 2 and he went through a 2-month period of sticking his hand down his diaper everytime he went to sleep. As he was doing this, his shirt would get caught in the diaper and he would always wake up with a wet front. My daughter also like to touch herself now that she wears panties. I think it is totally normal. We're just working on her doing it in private, not in public.

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M.
This is perfectly normal and right now very approachable. You may want to ask him what he's doing and be open to talk to him about how he feels when he does what it is he's doing. Let him know that as we grow up we have different changes in our bodies. He will respond to being as open as you are with him. If you hide it and make it a secret...he will too. If you make it a part of life....so will he. MY son is very grown and has children of his own and went through this when he was the same age. He only got it from 100% curiosity and discovering his own body. It is not a problem it is only a lesson in life.. Good Luck
S.

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This is comletely normal!! He is just exploring himself. It's best he does it now and gets comfortable with his body. I wouldn't 'encourage' the behavior, but respect his privacy and make sure he understands his body. My husband says he was 5 when he started getting really curious about his body. I wouldn't worry about it at all!!

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Your son sounds perfectly normal to me. I was a preschool teacher for ten years, an assistant director for a Kindercare
Learning center, and have been a parent now for almost ninteen years (three teen-agers- two sons, one daughter).
Children this age, and especially boys, discover that touching certain parts of their bodies can feel good. Babies often rub their heads when sleepy because it is soothing.
Some kids play with their earlobes, twirl their hair or run their fingers through it, hold soft blankets against their cheeks, etc... Your child has just recently discovered that playing with himself can be pleasurable as well, so he doesn't necessarily have to be "getting this" from anywhere. When my own boys were young, we simply told them that the handling of private areas is done in private. To help them understand what private means, role play certain scenes.
"When Grandma is over to visit and you are in the family romm with her, is that "in private?" "When you take youself to the bathroom, is that "in private?" Make sure he understands that when his sister is around, that is NOT "in private". Sometimes young children will invite other children to play their "game", which is still normal, but not something I would ever encourage youngsters to do.
Just be sure he is clear on the "rules" you set and this phase will pass. If you feel his behavior is excessive, then don't hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.

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Developmentally, this is normal for a 5 year old to "explore", so I would not be too concerned. I would suggest you sit down with him now that he is more aware of his body and explain what is okay and what is not okay. Most likely he did not learn this behavior anywhere but is playing. I would be concerned if he is asking others to see or join in on the "play".

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M.,

From what I can understand this is normal. We had a Family councelor talk at one of our Mops groups. He said that all children with go thru a time of self-discovery. He said to talk to them about it (ie., Ask him if it feels good when he touches himself.) and explain when it is appropriate or not appropriate to touch themselves. Do not say anything to cause them to think there is anything to be ashamed of. Call all the body parts by their approptiate names. Stuff like that. I don't remember anything more than that. It was a good topic but my boys were only 2 and I didn't have any issues yet at that point. I think he said that they would out grow it for a few years... but then as teenagers it would come back. I don't know if that helps you at all.

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This is completely normal. My eight year old started doing this when he was about 4 or so. He also LOVES to be naked. I simply told him that it was something he should do in private. Every once in a while I will still catch him doing it unconsciously. My ped. told me not to tell him not to do it all because you don't want him to feel ashamed about his body but instead just teach him that some parts are only for him. (We did tell him that even though those "private" parts were only for him that it was okay for us or the doctor to look at/touch them if it hurt or he thought there might be something wrong so we could avoid a fight if he had an issue in the future) We haven't really had too much of a problem since then.

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I have two boys who are now teenagers..get used to it! :)
Seriously, this is completely normal behavior. He's discovered something that he can make move at will and that feels great to touch! Sounds a little unacceptable, I know, but he's not worried about what others think yet! If he doesn't already know, you could explain to him that it would be inappropriate to 'play' in front of ANYONE else, etc...
I had a friend that actually asked her pediatrician if it was 'normal' for her child to be so fascinated with their own body parts and the doctor said it was! Don't worry. Take care!

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Oh So Normal... and he is wise to go to his room and have privacy, that is something my youngest son is still dealing with. You don't ever want him to have issues about his sexuality,so just keep reinforcing that its okay to touch yourself, but privacy is a must, bathroom, bedroom etc. If his little sister sees it she is invading his privacy and you should reinforce her respect of that too. Its actually agood thing and so normal and think about it.... your ex- always touched himself too. Be glad your little man has to respect to do things in privacy!

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This is totally normal- it feels good to him and he doesn't understand it to be a sexual experience. I told my son (4) that it is okay but he has to do it in the privacy of his room, that it is a private thing. I didn't want him to be wierded out by my reaction or think what he was doing is dirty or wrong. Explain to your daughter that when your son's bedroom door is closed, she can't go in w/o knocking. This is also a great tactic for not being busted in on when YOU are in the bathroom. (in the past 6 mos I have finally been able to go to the bathroom ALONE). Hope this helps!

i think it is a natural boy thing. i grew up with 3 brothers. and yes i did see things sometime that i was like what are they doing? even in my teen years. but i asked my dad when i was young. ( dumb me) he told me the answer. but he said it was natural . i guess i never questioned it . just thought them boys . i never grew up around girls. boys just seem fasinated with them selves. i have a two year old and a almost six year old. ( they are not shy at all) my two year old walks up to you and tells you its his pee pee. the first time he did that i about died laughing. nothing like your kid telling a stranger about his pee pee. my five year old thinks it is a violin in the bathtub.as long as it is in private, i would not worry. it would not hurt to ask him. what he is thinking and feeling.

Hi M., This is so normal. Once a child realizes that something down there feels good! At least he's private about it, my daughter doesn't care where she is! Well she doesn't do anything in public. Don't worry. God Bless! N. L.

I have three children 3,5 & 8.

I have seen my five year old touch himself, he hasnt in a while now, but he thinks its funny to streak through the house or show it off. Just keep a close eye when he is around other adults to be sure that something is not going on that you dont know about. It bothers me that he is secretive about it, unless he is very modest and shy. Just some thoughts I hope everything turns out ok. Also it really is ok to talk to him about it.

Completely normal. Just make him understand that it is something that we do in private, and that it is okay, that you understand that it feels good. Embarassing him could cause problems down the road.

Really don't worry about this it is copletely normal for boys to touch themselvs and he dosnt have to pick it up from anyone its a natural instinct. he is just discovering parts of his body and there is no reason to discourage him from doing that as long as he's not doing it in public.

M.,
He sounds like a perfectly normal child who's finding out how his little body works, and wow!!what a great feeling THIS is!! It feels good to him-nothing wrong with that. Just make sure he knows to keep his door shut and keep sister out. When my son hit his teens my husband told me I might want him to start bringing his own clothes down to wash. When I asked why he said, "there may be a few stiff socks under the bed!" Ugh! :)But I quickly knew my place in the world as a mom to a growing boy. Try not to freak out too much he'll start to think it's wrong or dirty. Just walk past that closed door or keep your eyes diverted when he's in bed. :)
Good Luck!
R.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Typically kids around that age start to wonder about their bodies. I would sit down and try to explain to him about his body and his body parts.
D.

I am 31 and have been married for almost 12 yrs. My husband and I have 3 boys ages 10,7 and 4.

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