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Masterbation??
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Masterbation??

I have read the post about a child who at five masterbates.  My daughter has been masterbating (masturbating) since I can remember.  I've been waiting and waiting for this to stop.  I have been able to stop her from doing it in front of people, and the middle of the day by saying that it is a private thing and that it is to be done alone in her room at night.  She uses a ball to do it, and has a really hard time falling to sleep if she doesn't have her ball.  My daughter is five years old now, but has been doing this since she was around nine months.  I'm not sure of the exact age.  My aunt said that I should consider getting her some therapy.  Could this be a symptom of a problem?  Thank you.
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The situation with your daughter is unusual because of the persistence of the behavior from a very young age. It sounds like she has learned this means of self soothing, and to be so dependent on it is not such a good thing. So, it's not a matter of the behavior per se, but a matter of the extent of the behavior. I think it would be useful to introduce her to another means of comforting herself at night, such as with a favorite doll or stuffed animal, listening to some quiet music, etc. I'm not of the opinion that therapy is necessary, but intervention of a parenting sort would be sensible.
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Avatar_n_tn
I hope some of things people said in regard to my daughter helped you with your's, I will say that when I disipline the problem gets even worse so I took the Doctors advice and decided to explain to her that it is unnaccpetable at certian times and she needs to go to her room if she feels like doing that.  I have noticed it has slowed down a bit since I treated it like a private thing and not a bad thing, good luck :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you both for responding.  I have introduced other comforts for her.  We went to the build a bear store and built her a bear who's sole purpose in life was to help her feel calm and comfortable in her bed at night so that she wouldn't have to use her ball anymore.  Unfortunately, that has not made any progress.  I left her ball home over our vacation so that I could work on some other methods of soothing.  I would give her a bath, read her some books, and sing her some songs (this is our normal routine at bedtime).  What I did differently is that I would play classical music and sit in a chair near her bed until she said I could go.  After a few minutes, she would say I could go.  I keep the music on all night.  After I left the room, she will use her ball or arrange her pillows and blankets so that they will replace the ball if it isn't there.  
I just had a thought, my daughter has had a long history of night terrors.  I didn't even know she was having them, but since she was a baby she would wake up screaming with a blank look on her face.  My husband and I never knew what to do to help her, but it seemed to help to turn the lights and radio on in her room until she woke up.  This happened several times a week.  A connection maybe?  I don't know.
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Avatar_n_tn
I actually talked to my daughters counsler about your sutiation and he said that she has come to know it as a self soothing method which I am sure you know.  I think even though it will be really hard you'll have to take the ball away and she will have to learn how to self sooth with the other ways you are giving her.  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
I was afraid of that.  I got a little taste of what that is going to be like when we went on vacation.  It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to do it.  I'm going to give her some time to process what's going on and then will come the day.  I hope it isn't too traumatic for any of us.  I'll let you know how it goes.
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter is the same age and has her own "self-soother" - the raggediest old yellow baby blanket known to mankind. She will use it either in conjunction with thumb-sucking and petting or occasionally in a masturbatory way.

I don't sweat the masturbation as long as she goes to her room to do it. If your daughter is using her ball alone, at night, in her room, then as I see it she is using it appropriately. I won't say "bad" to my kid in respect to masturbation, but I will say "private".

Even at this tender age (and younger, don't even make me go into my son's first encounter with a rectal thermometer!) they are sexual critters. They know what feels good. The things to watch out for are things like inappropriate timing (the bench at the mall when we stop to rest!) inappropriate desire (no, thanks, mom! I don't want to go to the park, I'd rather stay home with my ball in my room!) and inappopriate partnering (kids will play mild sex games with other kids - but when they seek out younger or older kids (especially younger!) or want to play that game to the exclusion of others, there's a problem)...

Barring that, she's probably okay. Which is not to say that you'll feel comfortable playing catch with that particular ball ever again... Yellow blanket is actually the second incarnation of an earlier blue blanket... which got "lost" at Grandma's house. So if the ball is really bugging you (at least I can wash that damn blanket!) where can you "lose" it? Just know she'll probably find a replacement.
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Avatar_f_tn
I found these posts very interesting. Foremost because I discovered masterbation (masturbation) at the tender age of 3! If not younger... I'll be perfectly upfront and explain that I discover the behavior after whitnessing my parents during their private time. And then mimiced the action in my room with my teddy bear. It is possible for very small children to climax. Because of my introduction to this behavior I knew that this was a private and personal activity. I also was comforted my this
method and used it to help fall asleep. I had no
idea what I was doing or that it was sexual. Only
that it felt good and calmed me. As I got older 5
-10 I became shy and embarassed by my
"habbit"  Being caught by my mom or
grandmother was aweful! Although they usually
just left the room, I knew I was doing something
that bordered shameful.

My bedtime self-soothing was my biggest secret all my childhood. I felt I was diffrent because of
it. It was something I was ashamed of. UNTIL
one day at my friend's house when I was in
middle school my friends older sister who was in
college was discussing the clitorious and
orgasms with us. She explained that some of her
friends could have these (orgasms) and some
couldn't. Those who could not climax were
frusterated. She explained that some women
were never able to acheive an orgasm. - I found
this information extreamly relieving! Not only was
I not a weirdo, I was already capible of
something grown women strived to do!

In conlusion, I feel that being sexual is part of being human. Various cultures and societies find
diffrent aspects of sexuality appropriate. I think we can all agree that we want our children  to
have healthy, adult sex lifes. Learning about ourselves and our bodies begins as children
under the guidence of our parents. I think the worst thing you could do is make the child feel ashamed or diffrent because of their behavior. Think of what that could do to their adult sex life and relationships! I would suggest asking a therapist how best to explain to the child what
they are doing and why. When they're really
younge, it's not even sexually based. It's really
more of a massage. But they need to understand that Although it is normal and okay, that it is private and they need to know why. It could be
as simple as explaining that things that involve
"private places" are private. And private means to
ourself, by ourself. Kids are smart! Talk to your
daughter directly about her self soothing. Call it
self soothing. And then, when she goes through
puburty, you can explain masterbation (masturbation) and
everything else that goes along with the birds and
the bees. Aww, the awkward joys of parenting.
There are many! Hope my personal story helps...  
  
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