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3 yr-old touching genitals.. what are red flags
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3 yr-old touching genitals.. what are red flags

Ok, you can't blame if I freak out when I see this.  In my case it's just my husband and I, neither one has family, and my mom passed away 13 years ago.  So, I have no one to ask for advice. My daughter (3 ½ yr-old) recently started to touch herself, although, she does not do it all the time.  Mainly during bath time.  Here is my predicament:  After three weeks of being in a new daycare, she changed character COMPLETELY.  She became shy and did not want to talk, she peed three times in her pants after 6 month of being potty trained.  She would be afraid to go to bed.  She cried and cried for me to be there.  Also, she had never given me a problem staying at the daycare, but three days after being there, she would scream at the top of her lungs because she did not want to stay and grabbed my leg tight, she even started crying two blocks before we got there and the last week she was there, her teacher told me did not eat ANYTHING in the entire week.  So, of course I started to see red flags all over.  I've read sudden changes of characters like that are not normal.  At this time, she was not touching herself too much, just barely, if any.  I took her to see a child psychologist.  She examined her and ruled out any sign of abuse, instead, she pleaded that I take her out of that daycare.  That same day she told me that the big kids at the day care were bothering her.  Indeed I called the daycare, and they were short-staffed so they put her in the class w/ 3, 4, and 5 yrd-olds.  Also, at 3:30 p.m. they added to that group the after-schoolers who are even older.  I took her out immediately and put her in another daycare, and immediately her behavior became normal like magic.  Two weeks have passed, and now she is exploring herself in the genital area.  She does it during her bath time and seldom times when I change her underwear.  My concern is this:  after reading a lot about this topic, I learned that one of the red flags for sexual abuse is that kids start to show sexual behavior beyond their age.  Of course, I am totally ignorant in this topic, but to me, masturbating is beyond their age.  Please explain!  What behaviors should I be concerned about?
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hi my dd is just 3 and she does mess with herself just lookin inside and touching the outer parts but i am no worried about it , i feel it only natrual to explore their body and see what they have . i dont think the day care thing is sexual , just seperation anxiety .and maybe a touch of bullying by the big kids if anything . good luck x x
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Avatar_f_tn
hi. first of all, you should make sure shes not being sexually abused at school or anywhere else. i wanted to share with you something i havent shared with anyone before. when i was four or five years old, i started masturbating over my clothes. the reason i remmeber that is because i used to do it about 10 times a day. almost everytime i was alone. at the time , ofcourse, i didnt knwo what i was doing . all i knew was that it felt good. my mom would catch me most of the time and when she did, she would smack me, yell at me, threaten me, or say that she would take me to the doctor. i did this until i got married and started having sex. but until then i didnt know what it was that i have been doing. the reason i didnt know until now is that instead of my mom talking to me about it and explaining to me, she made me feel bad so i grew up until today thinking that i was different and soemthing was wrong with me. i did not think that i was masturbating. my mom thinks that i stopped after a few years and until today we havent talked about it and never will. now i have a two and a half year odl daughter . i am 27. my daughter sucks her thumb and sticks her finger in her belly button when she relaxes liek falling asleep or laying down to watch t.v. most of the time , she doesnt know she has her finger in her belly button. its out of comfort. but lately, instead of her belly buttton, she sticks her hand in her underwear and rubs. i wish that my parents had the education that we have now. things are different nowadays. people are more aware of how to deal with kids behaviors.my advice to you is (take it from a person thats telling you her side of the view from the other point of view)that you should leave her alone. when she grows up enough for you to explain to her that its her privates and it only belongs to her. she can see it or touch it only in privacy and noone is allowed to see it or touch it but her. but if shes a smart girl and understands you perfectly, explain to her now that she shouldnt touch herself when people are around. thats it. dont worry and as i say, dont make an elephant out of a fly or dont make a no problem a problem. but if i was in your shoes and my duaghter just started school and shes coming home from all hese new behaviors, you should ivestigate like her life depends on it baby. dont mean to scare you, but her bevior is with more things like afraid of bed you said? or peeing herself? just talk to your daughter. or investigate. please post me back and iform me more on what you decide to do and how things went. i dont liek talking about myself but in your situation, i felt i should. somtimes women who are concerned about sexual behaviors should hear the kids point of view . i have grown but it had effected me on how my mom handled it. let me know cause i truely care . good luck to you.
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Avatar_f_tn
i wanted to add a couple of things. is there anyway you can keep her with you at home for now until kindergarden time? becuse i dont like that bad effect of school at an early age. seperation and stuff. its better they are raised with you. if not, then its understandable. another thing..and i wanted to add that i wasnt sexually abused at all. i had a loving family and i stayed at home wtih my mom at that age.
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Avatar_f_tn
my niece is 4 yrs old. since 3 she is always talking about her privates or doing something with it.  of course the more her mother says to stop she does it more laughing.  she has never been anywhere other than with her mom, except for a very short time at daycare. i think partly its a normal behavior. my son has "humped" toys or whatever since he was a small baby.  still does, but  i told him at an early age it was ok, but in private and nobody else is allowed to touch him there. his dr told me it was a way to comfort himself when he was about 1.  maybe this is for her too.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I posted on the "ask the doctor" site on July 18.  I really believe the issue here is anxiety; not "touching genitals".  Please seek information re childhood anxiety - this behaviour is very, very common with children suffering from anxiety.  It doesn't matter what daycare or school your child will be enrolled; anxiety will continue to surface until treatment is sought.  Did you mention to the psychologist the other behaviours (in addition to masturbation) which would indicate anxiety - shyness, withdrawal, crying, muteness, incontinence, bedtime issues, temper tantrums, unable to participate in school activities, what appears to be two opposite personalities, extreme frustration and irrational fears?

I belong to a support group for parents and teachers of children suffering from anxiety and have seen this type of behaviour many, many times.  Please keep us updated on the progress of your daughter.  

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Avatar_f_tn
Honestly I am going to comment that if your child has changed her behavior and isn't acting like herself find another daycare.  A daycare was shut down due to this kind of thing, where I am from.  You have a responsibility that if there is any part of you that thinks something is off.  You take stand.  I would rather be wrong then be right and not have done anything about it.  I stay at home with my girls, but I know that in todays age, that isn't possible with a lot of families, and that is alright.  But if you think something could be wrong there are other daycares out there.
Did you do a good back ground check on the daycare.  Also, is it an inhome daycare? That was what happened in my town.  The husband of the lady that ran the daycare was molesting the children.  
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Avatar_f_tn
for certain people who are questioning if your child is being molested, PLEASE, upon suspicion, TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THE DOCTOR ASAP and have them examined. i am a 24 year old, divorced mother of two, taking night classes and my ex-roommates husband would babysit while me and her were at school. my 2 year old completely changed the way she was acting and would even tell me mommy owie and point to her vaginal area, i immediately took her and her sister to be examined and, my fears were true, my 2 year old was being molested by someone in our own home...so please, anyone who suspects it, have your child checked. it can and/or will lead to future problems...i have a neice who was molested at the age of 2, she's 20 now and still has psychological problems because of it.
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