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Sexualized play for 7-9 yr olds?
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Sexualized play for 7-9 yr olds?

This is a two part question. My 7 year old son regularly masturbates (at least I'm assuming that is what is going on) by lying on his stomach on the floor and wiggling like there is no tomorrow. Typically while watching TV. This was brought to my attention about a year and a half ago by my mother while he was staying over at her house. Up until that point I had rather innocently assumed that he just had a lot of energy and couldn't be still while watching TV. Since then we have had many conversations in the vein of 'it's ok to have these feelings just work on the where and when you act them out' but he persists in doing it in the family room or anytime he is lying on the floor in front of a TV. I'm hoping that he is not doing this at friends houses but he certainly continues at both sets of grandparents. Is this standard behavior?
2nd part-much more worrisome (and I fervently hope not connected) behavior that he has recently told me he engaged in is a 'game' between two of his friends that he joined in on. The boys all take off their clothes and run around trying to grab each others genitals and bump butts. This seems to be a regular game between the other two and he claims that he only joined them once and then felt uncomfortable and put his clothes back on. This may or may not be the case as I caught him and his friend about a year ago running around naked after swimming-they were chasing each other and slapping each other on the butt. I explained at the time that this was not appropriate touching or behavior. I realize that playing doctor is as normal as breathing, but I'm worried due to the age of the boys. Also one of the boys comes from a home that is highly dysfunctional with substance abuse and other issues. This is the boy who supposedly initiated the game and who is 9. Should I be worried? Should I seek counseling or is this just normal horseplay?
Thanks for your thoughts.
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Avatar_n_tn
You took the masterbation (masturbation) issue very well, I am tired of parents who scold their children for masterbating (masturbating).

Now to the sex games that your son has been playing. You will get a lot of answers on here saying that this is totally inapropriate. In fact, it is quite normal. When I was a young child, I did similar (if not more extream) things with other children, and it has not caused any problems for me. In fact, most people I have talked to have done this with friends when they were young at some point. It's more normal then you think. The children are just exploring each other. It's new and exciting for them. I can tell you, it has no affect on their sexuality. When I was a child, I engaged in such things mostly with other boys. I am straight and don't really have any interest in gay relationships. So don't worry about that...not that you should anyway.

Do not seek counselling, it will just cause embarecement for the boys. To be honest, I wouldn't even discuss this with the parents of the other boys. Not everyone is as open minded as you and me.

Its up to you if you want to stop these games or not. Just remember not to punish your son or any other boys. It sets a bad example about sex.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the thoughts. No, I'm not going to scold him for doing what is just a natural extension of curiosity and the discovery of "Hey, that feels good". I just want him to tone it down as far as location and frequency goes. `I have a concern in the back of my mind that the frequency might be because he was exposed to the other situation though-and that doing it in front of us despite the number of lectures might be a cry for help/attention regarding this. Maybe I'm connecting too many dots though and they are unrelated.

The other situation-when I posted we weren't sure how to handle questioning my son about exactly what happened without making it worse and since my son had opened up to me my husband didn't want to make it seem like a breach of confidence by talking to him. We also weren't sure if it was serious enough to dig into. It kept bugging us though so finally we decided that he could sit down and read some kid-oriented literature about safe/unsafe touching to him and see what happened.  My son seemed relieved to get the chance to talk to his dad about this and gave him a lot more details than he gave me. Turns out the boys had locked him in a room with them when they were playing this game and then suggested he join in. He was worried about the door being locked but took off his clothes for the chase part. Then the boys got much more physical with each other-enacting some mature scenarios-and my son got scared, put his clothes on and insisted they unlock the door or he would start screaming and pounding on the door for one of the boys mom's-this wasn't at our house. Seems this happened a while ago and he has been reluctant to play with this boy since but we didn't know why. We are friends with the parents and they had told us about a year ago that their son was having personality changes and they suspected a bully at school. After this tale we think we know what the issue was-so my husband went and talked to the other boy's father. He was very surprised to learn about this but took it well. We don't where it will go from here for him but my son is not going to be playing with the 3rd boy in the scenario any more and he certainly won't have unsupervised play with our friend's son either.
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Avatar_n_tn
Your son shouldn't be taking part in anything he doesn't feel confortable with. Seems like a little bit of peer presure was involved here. It seems like you have everything under control now. Good luck :)
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