May 02, 2008,
B.W. asks from Tucson, AZ on April 27, 2008
My 6Yr. Old Masterbates . Need Advice . Is This Normal ????
I have a 6 year old girl who has been masterbating . Im very concered and scared . When i found out i freaked didnt know what to do or say . I kinda pulled myself together and asked if anyone has ever touched her there . She said no . She was very emberressed to talk bout it so i dropped it for the moment . Well she shares a room with her younger sister who is five and she caught her doing and so did her older sister. So i tried to do a lil research on the internet and alot of people said they started at a young age . I think one was even as young as 4. So i talked to her told her its normal and that she needs to do it in private . I also asked how many times she does it because i read that if they do it to often its not normal. But what is to often ? She said she does it once a day . I have also noticed since this has started that she wont go to her friends and spend the nite anymore and im concerned that its because of this urge . If anyone else is going thru this or knows of someone who has please let me know . Even if u have any advice it would be greatly appreciated .
So What Happened?™
I just wanted to say thank u so much to all who offered advice . I feel so much better . Im going to go ahead and talk to her dr. And i think im going to try and spend some more one on one time with her . I have always felt she kinda gets the short end of the stick around here. She is the middle child and the youngest gets attention causes shes the baby and my oldest gets alot of attention cause she is such a handful . So i think i will try and do more one on one with all of them but most definatly start with her . Thank u all again . U moms rock !!!!
T.M. answers from Phoenix on May 01, 2008
Yes it is normal.....let her know that private parts are private parts and there is a time and place for everything. In front of mommy and other people with other people is not apropriate!
Spending the night at other peoples house is over rated...play dates are better in the day and age...with all that kids can get into, is it the safest? Times are different!
I have boys that play with themselves all the time.I remind them daily what is private and appropriate!
As parents we have to remind them of what is acceptable, like table manners and what to wear and how to use their bodies.
The world today is very open and exposed re sexuality.
It is harder to raise kids today than ever before!
Take one day at a time and know that they are children and the most important thing that you can do is keep the communication open.
you are not alone!
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M.S. answers from Albuquerque on May 01, 2008
I think you've handled this well so far in communicating to your daughter that her behavior is acceptable, but has its time and place.
I understand your concern, and I think a lot of that comes from our culture's tendency to view sexuality as taboo, especially for females, while it's actually a very natural process of development and exploration; I know of many parents of girls who had a similar experience, and their children turned out to be healthy, well-adjusted young adults.
Teaching your daughter that this is something that should be done in private, I think, allows natural sexual development while still protecting her from the social stigma that accompanies it...maybe not the ideal answer in a perfect world, but the one that makes the most sense to me in the one we live in.
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C.D. answers from Flagstaff on May 01, 2008
I do think that it is normal for small children to "touch" themselves because of the sensation they get. For instance, my 2 year old does it in the bathtub and I gently remind her that we don't touch there and it's going to make her sore. I'm actually quite surprised that some moms are telling you to encourage her to do it in private. She's 6 years old and it's ok for her to be doing this behavior?! I don't even believe it's ok to do as an adult. I don't think you would encourage her to do anything else sexual at her age, so why this? I hope I haven't offended. Just offering another point of view. I wish you much luck.
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D.P. answers from Albuquerque on May 01, 2008
TOTALLY NORMAL! Usually young girls do this as a way of soothing or stress relief. The most important thing is not to make her feel bad or ashamed. IT IS OK. =o)
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A.V. answers from Austin on May 01, 2008
I have to agree with Mary D ---- don't make this a shameful issue. My cousin's little girl began by rocking with her stuffed animals (looked like she was humping them)as a baby. My cousin then found her at around age 6 or 7 masturbating at night. I do believe for some it is just their way of self-soothing. It helps them wind down and relieve stress. I was actually shocked when my cousin first told me about it, but since then I have heard about it a lot more. Like others have said, just continue to reinforce that it should be done in private. Don't treat her differently or be judgmental. She is acting purely on instinct --- it is not as if she is a bad girl. Stay strong --- I know these times are scary!!! I have two girls of my own. :) Just love her, keep the lines of communication open and make sure she knows that you do and will love her dearly no matter what. She may even be a little conflicted about it and not understand it. Honestly, it is no different than passing gas or picking your nose. It is very human, but not appropriate for public display.
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M.D. answers from Phoenix on May 01, 2008
Don't freak out - it is not totally uncommon. Explain about privacy and that she can only do this in privacy and that those are HER private parts and NO ONE else is allowed to touch them.
Oh, please don't tell her God is watching - this isn't about shame! If feels good to her - she figured this out. I truly doubt that anyone taught her or showed her.
This is called "self-stimulation" and kids who self-stim often masturbate, or rock back and forth, often before sleep, etc. It is similar to thumb sucking and they get comfort and calming from that, especially when they are alone. It may be your daughter's way of physically comforting herself and releasing stress/tension before winding down to sleep. Just like some kids get to the point that they can't go to sleep without rocking, some kids begin to need/depend on this release before sleep. It is also very common in neglected or abused kids, especially in orphanages. They don't get much physical contact or comfort and this is one way to create those comfort feelings. (not that I'm suggesting your daughter is neglected.)
I think you've handled it well, but if it's always a before bed kind of thing, you might try to give her some extra time and attention at bedtime... rock with her if you can. Let her stay up for 10 minutes of alone time with you. She may be experiencing some extra stress or going through a needy period and needs some extra help in calming and comforting. Help her remember that you can comfort her and give her physical contact, she doesn't have to do it herself.
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L.G. answers from Phoenix on May 02, 2008
i forgot about that one. My kids are teenagers now but i do remeber back when the little girls we six and mothers talking about it. I didn't have that issue so i tuned out of the conversation and can't give you any answers other than it didnt last long (less than a semester) adn that it is common
N.C. answers from Tucson on April 28, 2008
I remember my mom saying that my niece was masturbating and I think she was five. I know that they were really trying to look into the issue and make sure like you did that there was not something else behind this action. Her answer was also no; that no one had ever touched her there. I think that my niece was caught doing it often. They did talk with her doctor about it and they did not seem to find much wrong with it as long as she did it in privet.
I know that I don't really have much experience but I will also ask my mom and see what she remembers.
J.B. answers from Phoenix on May 01, 2008
Just wanted you to know you are not alone. I have a daughter who is now 16. She used to masterbate a lot. Soon as she was out of diapers practically. Not usually with her hands but I'd find her "riding" a pile of blankets, stuffed animals, a corner of furniture and once her grandfathers knee. At first I just told her she had to do it in private. Then it started happening more often. I reminded her that she was being inappropraite and she needed to be "private". She still did it whenever she thought she was alone. Occasionally I'd catch her and just say her name, and she's immediately stop and look really embarrased.
Like I said, she is now 16 and I just happened to ask her about it the other day. She explained, "That was almost scary, I couldn't control it. I just had to do it." I prompted... "and now?" and she just shrugged, like.... "no big deal."
I wouldn't worry about it. Who gets to decide what is "normal" anyway. It is a different behavior that's for sure! Hang in there, try not to make too big a deal of it, she'll out grow it.
W.W. answers from Tucson on May 01, 2008
It is nice to know that I am not the only one...I too have a 6 yo. who does this. It has been going on for over a year now. She says that know one has ever touched her there. When I would catch her and ask why she was doing that she would cry. I just told her that it was something that little girls do not do. I see that I might be wrong.
Good luck. Contact me if you get any great info about this. ____@____.com
R.H. answers from Flagstaff on May 01, 2008
My boy did this for a awhile when he was only 3. He did it everyday or so for almost a month. I spoke with the Dr and she said to tell him he must do it in private and that it would disappear after a little while. I spoke with him about it telling him he needed to be in his room and no one could be around. As far as I know he doesn't even do it anymore. Hope it helps, but it is normal exploration of her body.
D.A. answers from Sacramento on May 01, 2008
My step son was about the same age when I caught him. I asked my husband to talk to him about it and he refused, saying that if I felt it was important I should talk to him. Talk about feeling akward, but I sat him down and talked to him about his body and the way he was feeling. I told him that if he needed to do that, he needed to do it in private. My stepson is now almost 20 and he is perfectly normal and healthy. He is not a sex adict or a pervert of any sort, he just developed that urge earlier than his siblings. I did catch my daughter when she was about 12. I have six kids though and those were the only two times I ever had to deal with it. Good Luck and God bless
D.R. answers from Phoenix on May 01, 2008
I am sure you are concerned. According to my husband, my step-daughter did this also. She called them her exercises. She did out grow doing her "exercises". Now she is a happy, healthy 16 year old. My husband said that he and his ex-wife told her that it was inapropriate for little girls and boys to touch themselves like that there, and they caught her a few more times over the following few months and just reminded her. Hope everything works out for you guys!
D.R. answers from Tucson on May 01, 2008
I have to say that I have never heard of this, but from the other responses it seems to be normal. However, if it seems to be linked to her not wanting to spend the night at her friends house, I would probably investigate it a little further. Maybe take her to a profesional who can evaluate her without traumatizing her. Therapists know how to ask the questions. I have a child who was abused by someone outside of the family and I made the mistake of asking them a yes or no question and then letting it go when they said no. It took going to a therapist who knew what to ask to get to the truth and allow healing to begin. Your call. I had a feeling (call it mothers intuition) that something was very wrong and chose to follow my instinct. If you don't have that nagging feeling, it is probably nothing, but never underestimate the fact that you know your own child better than anyone. Look for other symptoms and most of all take the steps you feel are appropriate. If you are a praying woman - pray for wisdom!
C.W. answers from Phoenix on April 30, 2008
Could she be dry or have a yeast infection that is causing her to scratch or rub which then carries over to masturbation?I guess I would check her genitalia to see if there is a rash or something. You might want to increase yogurt intake. Also if she takes bath with bubble bath or rinses her hair in the tub the shampoo in the water will often affect girls, towards irritation or infection.
Good luck wiht it.
V.C. answers from Phoenix on May 01, 2008
I took a Human Sexuality class in college & heard about this. Honestly it is very common and some babies even do it! If you are concerned about the amount of times she does it (I think I remember that once a day was ok) I would just mention it to your pediatrician. Actually you should probably mention it so they put it in the charts so it's on record.
Great job on handling it so far. I've heard you aren't supposed to "freak out" or get angry at them. Also explaining that it is ok, that they just need to do it in private is important.