A Very CURIOUS Daughter

Updated on March 01, 2010
M.V. asks from Hudsonville, MI
9 answers

My preschool daughter is about to turn 4 years old. She has a brother (19 months) whom she takes baths with, and is very aware that boys and girls have different private parts. Back at Christmas time, her cousin (a 5 yr. old girl) showed my daughter her private parts. I told them that it wasn't appropriate and that moms, dads, and doctors are the only ones that are allowed to see them. Ever since then, my daughter tries to tell me that I can't be around her when she is playing with her friends. Of course, I always have the doors open and stay as close by as possible. She has a lot of playdates with the neighbor boys, and they play wonderful together. They know that they are not allowed to go in the bathroom together (my daughter has one in her room). Last week I was told that my daughter asked the neighbor boy to show her his privates. Yesterday I was watching the other neighbor boys (the same ages as mine). Within the two minutes I ran upstairs to grab something, I came back down and saw them both in the bathroom looking at his private parts. He said she touched him, and he clearly allowed her to do so. I put them both in time out and yelled at them , and made them tell both of their dads. I have no idea how to deal with this. My husband and I have never allowed her to watch pg-13 movies, or have never been intimate in front of her. I know she is at an innocent/ curious age, but I am embarrassed and don't know what to do....please help!!!

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answers from Detroit on

Explain that this is not how kids should play. It isn't tolerated and there will be time out when it happens. If that doesn't work explain that if she continues behaving in this manner then she won't have play dates until she stops.
I would get an age and content appropriate book to read, show, explain to her the differences. But emphasize that touching other kids intimately is not right and it needs to stop. And I would be honest with other kids' moms and ask their help in letting you know and perhaps keeping their eyes open for instances so that their kids aren't getting into the same habits.
She's only 4 year old true, but the behavior needs to be nipped in the bud now, before she goes into kindergarten.

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answers from Miami on

I don't think yelling, punishing, and basically shaming them is a good approach. Body exploration is completely normal. Here's what I would do. Talk to your daughter about how it's ok to touch our own private parts, but no one else should touch them because they are private. That means we don't touch other people's privates either. You might get an age appropriate book on bodies and their parts and let your daughter ask you questions and get age appropriate answers. I personally answer questions in as few words as possible and don't offer more info than necessary. Better she learn these things from you. This is also probably a good time to discuss appropriate and inappropriate touches. Her curiosity is normal so it's important to not make a big deal about it.

No more playing alone in bedrooms. Bring toys out into the living room or the backyard-basically where ever they can be supervised by you.

With these types of questions, there's always someone who will respond with looking into the possibility of your daughter being sexually abused. She sounds normal to me as far as her behavior, but it never hurts to be cautious with the adults or older children who spend one on one time with her and make sure there's nothing off.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

M., Take a deep breath and relax for a minute. You have an absolutely normal little girl. She is just curious. I know that it is embarrassing but this is nothing new. Kids have been doing this since the dawn of time. I'll show you mine, if you show me yours was wasn't invented by your daughter. She is not a freak or guaranteed to be sexually active very young.
It's totally normal. That being said, make sure that she understands that any body parts covered by a bathing suit are "private". Also, make sure that no one has asked her to show her body parts to them. Do this very gently. You never know. Explain to her that it is not appropriate to look at or touch anyone's private parts and it is not appropriate for any one to look at or touch her's. She is just at a curious age. Maybe she has seen what she wanted to see and that will be the end of it.
When my son was 5, he had a friend that was a girl and she asked him to show her his pee pee and he did it. Of course her little sister ratted them out immediately (thank God) so both sets of parents explained to them that this was not appropriate. I don't think they ever did it again.
So relax, this is totally normal. It is not an indication of what will come in her future but DO make sure that nobody has asked her to show her parts to them or that she has been touched. She's not too young to understand what you are explaining to her.
Best wishes to you!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Victoria on

In my family, I guess we are a little more open about nudity. My kids are almost 4 son & 5 yr daughter. My kids have bathed together since infancy. i have a huge garden tub & I have bathed with them on occaision and when we have had time crunches, hubby has taken both in the shower with him while I get my makeup & hair done. We are all in the bathroom together & nudity is just how God made us. Now my daughter knows that little boys have little tee tees & big boys have big tee tees & same for son with girls & women. We have let them know that we do not touch each others private areas as the pee pee & poo have germs and that is why we use paper to wipe and why we wash our hands afterwards. This seems to have satisfied their curiosity and has discouraged them touching. I think the way you have been dealing with her curiosity is making it forbidden fruit and thus she wants to know why more than ever. Had I caught my daughter in same situation, I would have said something to the effect of, "guys, ya'll know this isn't appropriate, now both of you wash your hands and apologize for not giving our friend his privacy. I would have left it at that with the kids & I would talk with neighbor & let her know. Then she could perhaps speak her kids and let them know they shouldn't show their privates or let people touch them. Then you can instruct yours the same. My kids have been instructed to scream as loud as they can & get to a grown up right away! I have told them that no kids or grown ups should touch them there ever except a doctor to examine them or me or granny to wash or apply medicines. So far no problems and at playgroup when a few boys just dropped trow & started peeing on a tree as little boys are known to do, my daughter thought nothing of it. No trauma or shock, just the usual girly statement " that is disgusting!" which is what i usually say to son when he does it, and he laughs as he knows that only boys can get away with that and girls get to wear hair bows, finger nail polish, & jewelry. So, we accept the differences, celebrate them kinda, and just keep it matter of fact. Hope this helps shed a different view on a touchy subject.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

your daughter is completely normal - kids are curious, that's just the way it is. I think the most successful way to handle this curiosity is to speak about it as matter-of-factly (is that a word?) as possible. If she sees that you're uncomfortable or if you make it a taboo subject that's only going to peak her curiosity more. She has a little brother, so the next time she asks just tell her what it is, and that it's the difference between boys and girls and it's just the way we are made. Before playdates just talk to her and tell her that our private parts are private and that we don't need to look at or touch other people there. If it happens anyway, just restate that our private parts are private and redirect the activity to something appropriate. No need to punish. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

If your daughter is 4 years old, she is too old to bathe with her baby brother. There is natural curiousity for a child of that age, and she should not be shamed or punished for it (will only create a thinking that there is something wrong with her body). But you need to eliminate situations with playmates where they can examine each other. There are plenty of books (child age) that discusses bodies. You can check them out from your local library.


answers from Kansas City on

before i read any answers let me just tell you that from what i have seen/heard/read, this is totally normal. unfortunately one of those things they don't tell you about in parent school (haha). try not to freak out, yelling at them about it won't do anything but make the situation worse. keep patiently explaining that it's not okay - time outs, ending playdates, etc. consequences are definitely appropriate, but it's natural for kids to be curious - and they have no idea what they're doing.



answers from Tulsa on

In my little area of the world I call home kids that old don't bathe together, I feel that's too old. I stop that by age 2. Kids do have a natural curiosity and my grand daughter has seen me change many a diaper but as for actually being able to reach out and touch someone is a little too much at her age. She and her 3 yr. old brother share a bathroom but they aren't allowed in it together.

The reason I have such strict standards is a class I took in college. The statistics stated that over 60% of "Reported" incest, mind you a LOT doesn't get reported, is between siblings. It's not that I think all kids are going to do that but why allow them to have that temptation. It's hard enough just being a kid now days.

One thing that I do when kids are over is to let them bring games and toys into the family area. I usually make them keep their stuff in their rooms but I want to be able to keep an eye on them when others are over.



answers from Lansing on

I understand you not wanting her to show her privates and touch other children ect. But, I wouldn't overreact because it teaches them to be ashamed of their body. It is probably a stage she is going through and will outgrow, I would talk about how, we shouldn't feel shame about our privates but we don't show others our privates and ask to see others privates unless necessary. I would keep an eye on her when she is with other children. I agree that it is really important to teach your children the proper names of their body parts. If they ever wanted to tell you that they were touched it would be hard for them to tell you and in court they need to know the proper names because tee tee doesn't hold up in court on what it is exactly.