My 5 1/2 year old son has taken to showing his penis to friends in the kindergarten bathroom. He also gets silly and starts talking about "penises" with his little brother and sister. He actually asked his 2 year-old sister yesterday, "Did the toy in the swimming pool ask you to suck his penis?" This got his siblings giggling which seemed to encouraged his "potty talk" even more! Is this normal kindergarten behavior? And what is an appropriate way to handle it without shaming him? Please help.
With the exception of the remark to his sister, the behavior is not unusual in achild his age. The behavior invites a response by way of limit setting and instruction about what and what is not suitable topics to communiacte to peers. The reason I identify the comment to his sister as unusual is that it does n;t 'normally' occur to children to think of sucking on a penis. However, this is the sort of thing that young children can easily pick up from older peers and then repeat without any self-consciousness. It would be sensible to ask him how he happended to learn of such a behavior - at worst you won't receive any useful information about it. It won't be shaming him to tell him that showing his penis to other people is not allowed, and it is also not allowed to make comments about genitals, such as the remark he made to his sister.
My 5 year old boy is having these problems and nothing seems to help. At school, first we had the inappropriate touching of private parts. School handled it the first time, then called us in. We responded to this immediately, having a long discussion about the behavior and a time-out to reflect. The next time I believe was in short order, and the punishment escalated to time-out and taking away privileges - early bedtime that evening, no treats, no game playing. This seemed to settle down but within a few weeks, we had incidents of indecent exposure on the playground at school. First he and 2 other boys were caught, and we had the long discussion, coupled with early bedtime. the NEXT DAY, he did this again, only by himself. My husband gave him an immediate spanking as he was arriving at school at the time he was being disciplined in the office. He again had to go to bed early and had no snack. this was a few weeks ago. At school on Friday, he was in the office again for touching, was very tearful and knew that he was in trouble, and knew why. We had another long talk, and early bedtime. On Saturday, he again exposed himself during a party for my younger son. I put him in a lengthy timeout and, over my better judgment, let him return to the party since it was mostly his friends present. They are the ones who tell us about the behavior, so I do not believe from my close observations that he is being led into the behavior, but that he is the instigator. He is very bright, and has always been ahead in all areas of development. I am truly frightened by the repeated instances. We have always been very consistent in our discipline as well as a reward system -- if I have promised it, he gets it, good or bad. I have tried deprivation of things he really likes, but it doesn't seem to do any good. He is scheduled to start kindergarten in a few months at a magnet school, and they are very strict about booting out behavior problems and I am sick with the prospect that he will lose his chance at a superior education so early. The regular public school nearly is horrid and we simply cannot afford private school. I can tell you that my husband and I have not ever had him in a situation where he has been subjected to exposure of any kind. We have never had him in a situation where he could have been abused, its just not possible. I just don't see any practical advice on the board once the "talking to" has apparently failed. He clearly understands that this behavior is inappropriate and is very sorrowful once he has done it but it seems he is having a difficult time stopping this behavior nonetheless. Please let us know what we should be doing, we're really frantic.
We are going through the same thing right now with our 4 1/2 year old son at our daycare center. We have talked to him repeatly telling him that it's not acceptable for him to be doing this and that it is his private parts. He acts like he understands but like today it happened within an hour after being dropped off. We feel terrible and not sure what to do! His teachers tell us to not make a big deal about it and it's just a curious age. We do agree that making it into a big deal could prolong the phase, but at the same time we want it to stop. I look forward to any help or suggestions. Thank you.
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