My daughter (who was adopted) came home at 1 years old rocking and eventually discovered a blankie to rock on and enjoyed it. It was frequent at first and I asked our pediatrician who indicated it was normal and not to call attention to it. If it continued to ask her to do it in private. We have done that. Over time it has come and gone. I noticed more if one of us was away or she seemed stressed. Now I hadn't seen this behavior in a long while, or she was doing it and I never saw it. However, she is 4 1/2 now and within the last two months she has begun masturbating again on her big dog. She does it in private, but I catch her, she stops and asks me to leave. It is hard to see your child do this, but my heart tells me it is normal. I want her to feel good about herself and body. Only thing I can attribute it to now is we had to stop her finger sucking as she had an unusual suck and was bending her finger. Since her fingers have been taped (by orthopedics orders) she has returned to the other. My question is, is this related to stress with her especially since she comes from an orphanage and when does the behavior stop or become a concern? Should we continue ignoring and asking her to be private?
It is always risky to generalize, but having said that it is worth saying that children who have been institutionalized at a very early age often display deficits in their ability to estanlish secure and trusting relationships. Such difficulties are referred to as attachment disorders. It is not unusual for such children to develop physical ways to soothe themselves, and to have to rely on thoise methods to an extraordinary degree. Now, it is beneficial for all children to develop self-soothing behaviors, so in and of itself that is not abnormal. In fact, it is to be recommended. But the particular behaviors and the frequency/intensity of displaying them can be problems. Your daughter has likely developed he ways to soothe herself, and thumb sucking in young children is a commonly observed type of self soothing. In the absence of this, she may well return more often to masturbation which can be viewed as serving a similar function. She is to be commended for asking you to leave and to allow her some privacy. This should be respected. You are correct in telling her that the behavior should not occur in front of others. And do not interfere when she is adhering to this guideline. All the while, be sure she is engaged in pusuits of a play and social nature that are normal for her age.
Thank you for your time to respond and give me your expertise on this matter. I feels good to have some support and relief to know we are doing the right things. In time I hope it resolves itself, my only hope is for my daughter to feel good about herself and her own sexuality. Lozi
I just wanted to say that I have a 4 year old grandaughtor that displays the same habit. I am worried about her beheavior. I am pleased that I have the information reguarding this type of beheavior and that I am not alone. My grandaughtor also seems to do this when she is stressed, bored or overly tired. I have been sending her to her room when she starts this. I try to tell her not to do this in school and church especially when there are other children around. However I do catch her doing this when I come to pick her up. I just hope she stops soon.
She is probably Exploring her private parts, i would let her explore, she will Get board of this when she gets older, best thing you can do is make sure she does these activies alone in her bedroom, instruct her to lock her bedroom door, if she isnt tall enouph to reach the handled, put a stool in her room, if there is none on her door, put one on...
One of my daughters did this by rocking on a ball. I understand that it is normal and to be expected, but you have to set limits to prevent injury. My daughter was getting urinary tract infections and sore, tender skin from the too frequent pressure there. For older kids, explain that it is ok to do, but you don't want them to hurt their bottom so here is a timer for you. Set what you believe to be a reasonable time and you may want to assign a certain time of day for it, so it is not socially disruptive, as this will embarrass them later on. If they can't keep to the assigned times, let them help pick them, and let them help think of other things they can do when it is inappropriate to have them doing this.
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