Child Behavior Expert Forum
Advice on how to deal with 4 yr. old girl masterbating(masturbating)
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding child behavior issues such: Child Discipline (behavior management), Normal Child Development, Parent-Child Communications, Social Development

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Advice on how to deal with 4 yr. old girl masterbating(masturbating)

My 4 yr. old granddaughter has been rubbing herself for about a year now.  She tells her sister it feels good.  However she has made herself sore at times, leaving the area real red and sore.  Her parents and I are concerned about what to do about it.  What do we tell her...is it wrong?  We have told her not to do it because it makes her sore but she does not seem to care.  How concerned should we be and strict should we be?  Your help will be greatly appreciated.
Related Discussions
242606_tn?1243786248
The simple fact that the behavior occurs should not be a source of worry, provided she does it privately. The concern is more one of frequency. When children turn to frequent masturbation it may be a sign of stress and the need to comfort themselves more than usual, and it can also be a sign that the child is not sufficiently engaged in day-to-day interactions with peers. Frequent masturbation can also be symptomatic of sexual mistreatment or over-stimulation, though I am inferring from the tone of your note that these issue do not apply to your granddaughter.
16 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi I am a 24 year old who has become a survivor.  When I was about three i was sexually abused by my father.  I don't want to scare you but at three i was also masturbating.  I know of one other girl who is now ten and at the age of two she was molested and she also mastubated young.  This is the first time i have been on this page and to see your question it must have been a sign.  Not to say early childhood masterbation (masturbation) is a bad sign or anything,  I just know my case and what I did as a child.  May God bless you and I hope and pray that everything is ok.  Remember I am just an opinion.  Please look for more help besides me.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hi, child masturbation is a totally natural thing, maybe just try to ask her to be more gentle and that masturbating is a private thing and she has to do it in her room or some where else where she has privacy. and if u possibly think she is being abuse, just try to check if her himen is still there (i think i spelled that wrong)or simply just ask her, she's 4, she should be able to answer that.
good luck
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Whoa - hold on here.  Let's not make serious assumptions when this is in all probability perfectly innocent.  All kids do this from tme to time.  It's a natural part of self awareness.  Why do they do it? Because it feels good!  DOn't worry.  Unless she's doing this to the exclusion of other activities - i.e. in excess - then you should feel happy that she's developing normally.  You should kindly explain to her that touching herself there is private and is something that cannot happen dwnstairs/public/school etc etc.  Don't set her up to have problems in the future by giving her any hint that this is wrong/bad/abnormal etc.  As for the other posters' comments about child abuse ... I am sorry they had that bad experience but that had=s no relation whatsoever to your daughter's self discovery.  What she's doing is normal.  Unless there are other areas of suspicion, or her activity is not within the norm for a child of that age (and it seems pretty normal to me) it is highly unlikely that she is being abused.

I am VERY DISTURBED by one person's suggestion that you should check her hymen!!  That is an outrageous suggestion, and would constitute serious abuse in itself.  That is an unbelievable suggestion which turns my stomach!!  Please don't anyone even think about violating any child in this way.  

If you make a big deal out of this she is likely too grow upo feeling shameful, abnormal and possibly unable to enjoy a full satisfying physical relationship when she is an adult.  I am not saying you should encourage her, but you should not make her feel horrible about it either.  If you do happen to find her engaing in this, I would suggest matter-of-factly redirecting her to another activity.  

Good luck and don't worry - Saj
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
if u read her post it says that she is doing it so rough that she is causing it to be real red and real sore. i did not say anything that she is being abused. i was just trying to make not worry so much from the post before mine. and u can certainly bring your child to the doctor, if it is red and sore there is a possiblity of a yeast infection, yes children do get them that young for no apparent reason, and if she were worried about abuse, the doctor could checked if it were still there while he was checking for a yeast infection.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I'm new and this was the first thread I read. I agree with the last writer & would like to add a thought.

As discussed Masterbating (masturbating) is a natural discovery for children.  Though excessive self-stimulation can be a sign/result of child sexual abuse, it is just one of many symptoms that can acompany this tragic abuse.   4 year olds are old enough to begin to learn about what is private behavior and what is public (this has been discussed).  They also need to be taught who can and can not touch/look or go near their private area/ or body.  This is a very important step, often with out this knowledge they become suspectible to unwelcome contact.  

Children at this age are very suspectible to suggestion, and they want to please.  Any talk of privacy, good touch - bad touch, should be done with care...and reinforced with out being obsessive.  A pretty hard line to find.  This is why there are experts out there.  If sex abuse is suspected, please contact a doctor, or your local law enforcement...they know how to talk to the little ones with out leading or putting ideas in the little ones minds.  

Next I think the real issue here is that she's rubbing herself raw.  Many things could cause this, yeast infections, bladder infections, allergies to soaps (mr. bubbles made me itch when I was little, my 5 yr old itches when she has milk - allergies), panties, etc.  Natural course is to take her to a doctor for a cream or salve.  They'll be the best to decide if there is more to this.    

We are the best advocates/protectors for our children.  Good luck
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Im sorry if I sound old fashioned, but I truely believe it is wrong for a 4 yeard old to "self pleasure" herself.

Would you confront the child and tell her it was wrong if she was helping the neibor boy "feel good?" Because any way you try to sugar coat it, it is sexual in nature. And a 4 year old has no business even knowing about sex. Its not a concern for them. Let them worry about losing their toys, and what they want for christmas.

I personally believe that masterbation (masturbation) is wrong for anyone at any age. Why does our "Modern Society" feel that everything sexual is now ok? I don't feel that teaching a child that masterbation (masturbation) is wrong in anyway effects their ability to have caring relationships in their future. If anything, it makes the pleasure of sex with their wife or husband that much more special. Why have a partner, when you can get the sexual pleasure yourself......

I remember being young, (But NOT 4) and experementing with my body. I did it a few times and my father taught me how wrong it was. I didn't get beat or anything like that, but I knew that it was not OK.

Blank
Avatar_n_tn
First of all I'm also new to this and I feel like someone should ask the child if any body has showed her how to do this and see what she says in order to get the truth you have to think almost like a child let me be more open I have 2 daughters and one son my oldest daughter is 4 also my son is 4 and my baby is 8 mon. any way my daughter always gets red down there and the first thing comes to mind is to ask if someone has touched her I also let her know that she can tell me any thing and dont be scared, I tell her I wont go back and tell anybody about anything she tells me I mean dont sit back like this stuff does not go on not saying it is but being an adult means alot there are doctors that can also look and check her out if needed it does not hurt at least it did not hurt me when i was younger my mother checked me also I live here in Texas.

And maybe it is normal but I never heard of it and I'm just saying look more into the problem you have to be the detective and try to stay calm about it thats the last thing she needs to see is for you to get angry I'm not trying to make any body mad just giving advice.

And also check on any body else thats been around her besides the farther.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My daughter also masturbated at a young age - 2.  I took her to her pediatrician, who told me that she was simply a bright girl who knew "what made her tick".  I used redirection, and also told her it was a private activity that should be done in her own room.  She is now 16 - a beautiful girl with many friends, as well as boys lining up at the door to date her.  She is cautious about dating but interested in relationships.  She and I have open and frank discussions about sex, which I believe is healthy communication.  She is a gifted student, who has tested in the top 3% on standardized tests.  One of my twin 10-yr old sons, (who is also officially gifted) also masturbates regularly (the other does not - he has learning disabilities.  I don't know if this is relevant or not).  My son does not have many friends his age, and has more than his share of anxieties.  I can easily believe that he does this as a stress reliever, and to help him relax and get to sleep at night.  Nevertheless, if I were you, at the next visit to the pediatrician, I would bring this up.  I would also explore the emotional aspect.  Spending a little extra special time with my son at bedtime seems to help.  Also, don't ignore the possibility of sexual abuse, or even premature exposure to sexually stimulating material.  A child psychologist or social worker might be a good idea.  Most likely, your granddaughter is simply a bright child doing what makes her feel good, if it's not accompanied by other symptoms, such as bedwetting or regressive behavior.  Good luck.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I believe that child masturbation at four isn't exactly normal.  Especially since she is making herself sore.  Don't worry about the "abuse" topic everyone seems to be on. I wouls just ask her why she does it. if she says that because "it" hurts then take her to see a doctor. if she says because she likes it, then just tell her that it isn't good for her to do so young but if she still wants to just let her know to do it in private and not so it makes herself hurt.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have two boys.  A 4 and 2 year old who I've also been concerned about regarding sexual behavior. The problem isn't them actually touching themselves, they act like a dog almost. How a dog will hump your leg. I've seen them  do that on the floor and I was so upset.  I know they haven't been sexually abused.  They are with me 24/7 practically.  Then I thought that maybe that was the problem, maybe they were bored. Since my four year old started preschool, I've only caught him doing  it once. But my 2 yr old does it alot, I was scared to ask the pediatrician cause I thought that this was abnormal and he'd think they might be getting sexually abused. I guess it makes me feel better to know that other kids are doing this.(Sort of)
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
i think it's totally normal. when i was very young i used to rub up against my pillow and i wasn't sexually abused. my kids tounch themselves, i have just always told them that it's a private thing and to do it in there room, and i have also taught them to come to me if anybody touches them which i'm really confident that they will. don't worry so much about it he has just learned that it feels good and that is probably why he does it.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I think it is wrong to masturbate by yourself. Doing it with someone the same age, opposite sex, is not as bad and as dangerous as it may seem to be. But ask your child before masturbating with another that he or she should introduce you to the other, and possibly their parents. I mean you still should be protective, but there is a limit. The child will become more comfortable with the opposit sex, which makes for a better school environment. Please think about what your child wants before making the assumption that your child will have sex too early. Remember to tell your child the difference between sex and plain and fun masturbation.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I think it is wrong to masturbate by yourself. Doing it with someone the same age, opposite sex, is not as bad and as dangerous as it may seem to be. But ask your child before masturbating with another that he or she should introduce you to the other, and possibly their parents. I mean you still should be protective, but there is a limit. The child will become more comfortable with the opposit sex, which makes for a better school environment. Please think about what your child wants before making the assumption that your child will have sex too early. Remember to tell your child the difference between sex and plain and fun masturbation.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am a female and started masturbating at a very young age (which I do not comprehend what it was until my teenage years), I cannot remember. I just remember that it feels good and it was by chance that I started the 'activity'. Being asian, my mum and sisters would scold me everytime i masturbate. My mum even beat me for it. And never throughout my childhood years, anyone explain the truth to me.

I grew up without my dad's love (as he's always not around), and with a strict mum. I was taught that masturbating is 'wrong' and 'dirty' at home and in my Christian beliefs. Soon I became very confused abt sex since I did not have the intention to start masturbating.

Till now, at the age of 25, I still face the same problem. On top of that (I don't know whether is there a connection), I'm more attracted to my female teachers n friends as compared to the opposite gender. I fear men. I cannot imagine myself having sexual activities with another person, but at least I would be able to accept ladies better.

I know this is a child forum, but I still hope to find help and answers after 20+ years of confusion. Please help. Thanks.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am concerned about the amount of advice given about the little girl who is rubbing herself because it makes her feel good!  I too rubbed myself when i was small, because it felt good, i didn't realise what it was until i was in my late teens, mostly because i did not masterbate that way any more and did not think about it, in the same context.  It is a well known fact that the clitiros is ultra sensitive to touch, and orgasims are not reached in the same way in childhood, in fact i will be very surprised if the feeling gets beyond pleasant for the child.  I also find it telling that it is the grandparent who is concerned rather than the parents, they may not find this a problem in the slightest, they may be a little concerned about the fact that the act is causing the area to become red, raw and sore.  If this is the case then a trip to the doctors should be able to put everyones mind at rest.  If the act itself is causing embarressment because of where it is taking place, then a casual comment about it being a private thing to do, away from other people, possibly in the bathroom or the bedroom.  And to all those people who believe it is wrong to do this type of thing at any age, get lost and take your prejudices with you, and think about where you get these believes in the first place, from your religious parents or the church perhaps?  Todays world is a lot more open and honest when it comes to issues like this!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am a father of three and while I have not seen my children grow to adults (to ultimately test my own theories on what's right and wrong for them), I have a firm belief system rooted in self confidence, reality, common sense ,and GOD.

Children are small human beings. The need to procreate is instinctive and healthy. Our job as parents is to guide and teach our children as they learn new and exciting things about themselves (physically too) and the environment around them. It is also our job to protect them from those things that we judge to be dangerous and unnatural.

Common Sense is a huge factor in dealing with this matter in my opinion. Child abuse is tragic and real, and we as parents need to be aware of its existence and symptoms. But let's not get overboard. The fact that your children are experimenting with themselves and the children around them is perfectly natural. It is our responsibility to GUIDE their behavior. Proper limits, proper stimilus, proper ROLE MODELS, and proper frame of mind. I understand that when we say the word masturbation that we bring to mind full sexual activity, but for children this is a fundamentally different activity. I liken it more to a back rub then adult masturbation. They have found something that feels unexplainably good and are trying to figure out what this is all about. What is unnatural about that? Moms and Dads out there, do not panic. I think the babysitter had the best approach. Diffuse the unacceptable contact non-chalantly and reengage the children in something else. The sexual behavior pattern is not permanent. While I'm sure that there are a few medical cases of children who do not learn normally, let's except that they are exceptions to the rule.

If you see an unhealthy bahavior pattern forming long term then employ the proper assistance in dealing with it, and do not alienate or be ashamed of your children.

For GOD's sake...can we please stop modifying the whole world to make ourselves feel more comfortable in the name of our children...
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, About 3 year-old and 4 year-old was started.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank