I adopted my daughter at the age of six. When she was with her biological family she was sexually abused by her father. She has been in therapy for years but refusing to be an active participant. She is now ten years old and I have found her masterbating (masturbating) with stuffed animals. I explained the birds and the bees to her and seemed to understand what I was talking about, and I explained to her how dangerous it is to insert anything into her vagina and she understands and that hasn't been an issue in years. However, I walked into her bedroom to find her mounting our large dog. I totally lost it I am ashamed to say, I just couldn't believe what I was witnessing. After I calmed down I tried explaining to her that this behavior would not be tolerated in our home. I told her that she was letting herself down by behaving in this manner. I told that she needed to quit punishing herself for her past that she isn't responsible for someones else's choices or behaviors but she is responsible for her own behavior and that she is old enough to know right from wrong. I don't know what to do, I don't know where to turn. I am a single mother and I just never thought anything like this would happen. What do I do to help her?
It sounds like your daughter is beginning to have sexual feelings and is exploring them. I don't think anything you have described is too awful, really. I know you are concerned about her previous abuse, but she is ten-- and ten is not really too young to have the physical changes associated with puberty, and the associated sexual thoughts.
I think that you should again tell her about the birds and the bees, what's happening to her body, and get her to talk about her feelings, and what she's thinking. You can also express your moral views about masterbation (masturbation) at that time, letting her know what you think is appropriate and what isn't ( I know many people have varying feelings on this subject.)
Also, because it sounds like she's growing up in that arena, you may want to have her talk to your pediatrician about this stuff. Sometimes, having another adult to talk to -- who is not your parent-- can be really helpful if the topic is something that makes everyone uncomfortable, Since she won't actively participate in therapy, I am guessing that talking to the therapist is not a great idea for her.
There might be some other trusted adult that she could talk to about this-- that you could enlist to make sure that your daughter gets advice about making good decisions.
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