I am a male & current legal guardian of a 10 year old girl. I have been her guardian for almost 2 years now without an issue until recently. A few weeks ago I was bringing in some laundry and caught her on her on her bed with her hand down her pants & breathing heavily. She froze and I put her laundry basket in with out saying a word. I did not expect to see her touching herself like that & I walked out of the room. Since then I have caught her several times doing this in the living room when she thinks I'm not looking. The most recent case has me concerned, I caught her touching herself on top of our balcony. This has gone on too long and want it to stop but I know this is a sensitive issue but I'm not sure how to approach this it.
I have some questions & concerns. I know child masturbation is this normal but does it start this early with a 10 year old female? I'm taking her on vacation to Disneyland soon. I'm worried she'll start doing this outside of our home & other public places. I want this issue to stop before I take her on vacation in which we will be sharing a hotel room. I am still fairly new at being a parent to her. How do I address this issue with out making her feel like she's done something wrong? She has no documented issues with sexual abuse.
It is actually rather normal for kids to masturbate. Not all kids, but some kids. My cousin had a daughter who did at about age 2 and 3. She finally just told her daughter that this activity was something for her to do only in the privacy of her own bedroom when she was alone. If you cannot bring yourself to have this conversation with her, ask a trusted female friend to do it.
I would not share a room with a 10-year-old of the opposite sex at Disneyland, sorry for the expense but seriously, claims of sexual abuse by you are a lot more expensive to address, were she to get caught in some way when you were near.
Do you have your mom or a sister who could talk to her? If you are going to ask someone else to talk to her make sure she is comfortable talking to that person. If you are going to do it just politely explain that it is natural to want to do it and that boys do it too. It just isn't something that you do it public. Make sure you tell her if she wants someone to talk to that you are there to answer any questions she may have. Kids are learning stuff faster than they used to and you don't want her getting the wrong information. I understand she is only 10 so keep it to the basics and let her ask questions if she wants to.
I agree with the other posters that she just needs to be reminded about privacy. It is very important not to make her feel embarrassed about this, so either calmly and quickly remind her about privacy or as the others said find a woman to do it for you. Good luck!
Thank you for your comments. I was able to talk to her about it, I stuck to the basics, reminded her about privacy & appropriate places. She also now has my stepsister's contact information, she knows her pretty well & can contact her if there's anything she doesn't feel comfortable talking with me about. I'm also upgrading our room to a 2 bedroom suite on our trip so she can have her own space, it's a little bit more money but I think it's for the best. Thanks again, this was really difficult for me to do but was I was able to get through it thanks to your helpful comments on this delicate situation.
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