I'm always "catching" my 5 year old son comparing his genitals with his friends (male and female). I try not to overreact but it seems as if they just do it more often. What should I do to discourage this? I would like to know if this is normal behavior.
The curiosity is normal, and many young children display their genitals to peers. However, while it is normal, it is important to set a firm limit on this behavior. It should not be allowed to occur over and over. In other words, even though the curiosity is normal, it does not mean you should not address it. Tell your son that it is normal to be interested in other's bodies, but that he is not allowed to show his genitals to other children or to ask to see their genitals. Be patient and understanding, but also clear and firm about the limit.
Thank you for your feedback. I forgot to mention that he often lies about this when he is questioned. When I ask what he was doing he'll make up some other story. He is getting to be quite the story teller. He also will fib about little things such as when we ask if he washed his hands after he went to the bathroom. He will say he did when in fact, he hasn't. We know all kids do this to some extent, but we would like to know how to handle the lying aspect so that it doesn't get out of hand.
When you know your son is not being truthful, place him in time out for a brief period (e.g., 5-10 minutes). And be sure not to ask him questions about things to which you already know the answer. For example, let's say that you know he did not wash his hands. Don't then ask him: "Did you wash your hands?" Simply say: "Go back in the bathroom and wash your hands."
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