Child masturbation in simple words
We are talking about a normal behavior, which is usually repetitive, when a child gets pleasure by rubbing his or her genitals, playing with them or stimulating them by means of rubbing with an object. This is a healthy process of sexual development of the child which starts from infancy and peaks at adolescence.
A natural act full of pleasure
The fact is that the child identifies directly the satisfaction which he or she gets through touching his or her body. As a matter of fact, from the moment when he or she discovers the pleasure received in this way, he or she will seldom stop doing it at once. At an early age, approximately at the age of 2 and 3, the child does not understand what exactly he or she is doing. After the age of 5-6 years he or she starts to understand basic social rules, limiting this act to private space only.
Although such behavior represents a part of the child`s normal development, mainly between 2 and 6 years, in fact, it causes great worry of the parents when they face such situation.
Normal, but why
Of course, however common and normal this is, it is necessary to identify the intensity and the frequency of this process. The frequency of such behavior may vary. Some children may masturbate several times during a day, while other – once a week or even more rarely.
There are different reasons why a child may systematically perform this act. The first and the most common is, as we already said, the enjoyment which he or she receives from this manual process. However, children also seek masturbation in situations which cause stress, tiredness and boredom. Besides, the child`s environment plays, once again, a very important role in it. As a child has discovered the satisfaction resulting from this process, he or she may continue doing it more intensively, in cases when he or she feels sad because of the situations he or she experiences in his or her environment or because of the changes causing discomfort and stress.
What can the parents do
- The parent has to be rightly informed so that he or she could, first of all, understand the naturalness of the phenomenon. When the child performs such behavior, he or she is not “ill”, but has discovered his or her body in a different and pleasant way, and many times – in a greater degree than some other children.
- Punishment and reproach from the parents intensify the child`s behavior.
- It is important not to make negative comments, neither on the act itself, nor on the child`s body. Try not to interfere in the process to say “What are you doing there”, “This is not right”, “We do not touch our bodies” etc. Such comments can only make the child feel shame and remorse which will very probably either increase his or her behavior, or make the child start hiding from you often.
- It is necessary to explain to the child that this act may take place only in his or her room when he or she is alone, or in some other private place, e.g. in the toilet. If the child is too small to understand such things, distract his or her attention by inviting the child to do something else at this moment. “Let`s see that game you played before”, “Let`s make this cake you like” etc.
- Create a positive phrase with your child, which you will use each time when he or she starts this behavior in public. Agree upon it beforehand in order that it could serve as a reminder.
In general, adoption of a realistic vision that the child has discovered something that brings him or her pleasure and will continue doing it would be able to reduce tension at home.