I also have a 7 year old daughter who is having difficulty with masturbation( I wish there was a different term for children). I generally refer to it as self stimulation. Im a registered nurse who has worked in psych settings and I do know that a certain amount of self stimulation IS normal.
This has been our usual drill when we find her in this activity at home in the living room or other common area:
1.We say something like, "Yes that does feel good. God made our bodies so that they can feel nice!"
2." Because you are touching your private areas you have to go to a private place such as your bedroom or the bathroom."
She's usually ok with that and will go to a private place.
I have worried about sexual abuse so I have asked her if any other person has touched her vagina or private areas or if anyone ever made her feel uncomfortable about her private parts.
She says "No, because it's my private area."
She has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and with OCD. So there are a few quirks at work here. And her teacher told me that this had become a problem during nap time at Kindergarten last year.
I had to talk to Sophie and tell her that this is a SUPER PRIVATE THING. It's not BAD, but because you have your hands on your bottom people might think it yucky!
SOOO- You can Never have private time at school. It's only for home.
This behavior does increase when her stress level goes up (after school) or when she's just plain bored.
Also, back on this subject of our beautiful daughters, I wonder if our reactions would be different if they were boys? Maybe we would just blow it off and tell them to go in the other room! I don't know.
I do know that regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder the way that an activity is diagnosed as a symptom of OCD is the degree to which it interferes with daily functioning;ex-washing hands for 3-4hours a day, or having to check the locks so much that you are an hour late to everything.
So I would definately talk to my pediatrician, but dont freak out about it to your daughter.
I have the exact problem with my almost-7 year old daughter rubbing her privates. Relieved to hear others experience this, but concerned because it is NOT ACCEPTABLE. I feel just like you. No OCD or ADD, she knows it's "wrong" and nasty, but it feels good to her and she will sneak and do it, and even ask to be by herself sometimes to do it. It really bothers me!
ok my 5 almost 6 year old has been touching herself for the past year... No molestation and no OCD or ADD mild concentration concerns. A large part of me wants it to go away because i feel sickened about it especially because of her age. But another part of me is thinking that it is normal. I ask her to wash her hands and keep explaining to her that it is a private place and that it needs to be kept in private. I also remind her that it is unacceptable to be chatting about it with friends. Any other information would be helpful. I am just really concerned about her age and the future....
Please don't listen to the people who say "OH YOU SHOULDN'T LET HER DO IT". It is natural for her age to start this phase and don't tell her to ignore it, what I think is you and your husband should do is have a private conversation and say it is natural so don't be ashamed and tell her where she can masturbate and not to. There is nothing wrong with your daughter in fact this is a sign that she is maturing which you should encourage.
If you want to keep masturbating down and not have her do it so much you should sign her up for sports or any other after school activities or just play with a ball outdoors will always help. She is most likely doing this because shes bored and so just keep her busy, and if she does wanna masturbate let her have her privacy.
This is a very old thread
I think the best solution to teach well without being horribly strict is to gently guide her away from doing it the way she's doing it. Gently tell her that she should keep it in her own bedroom when she is alone and should try to do it less, she doesn't have to stop but just tone it down. It's ok to masturbate, it can be stress relieving so let her do it, just teach her to do it privately.
Its not wrong. Its not nasty. Its normal human nature 100%. If I see my child doing this I say to them "I know that it feels goo to touch your private parts but its not okay to do this while you are around other people. Its something you do in private maybe in your bedroom. I would never say that its wrong or bad. And obviously I would go on to say that only you can touch your private parts not anyone else and you do not touch other peoples private parts. Telling them that its nasty and wrong will only make them shameful of their bodies. Its a very normal and healthy thing to do but of course there is a time and place for it.
I'm pretty disappointed in all but the most recent comments. Seriously, people--we all masturbate, and we all masturbated as kids, even very young kids.
Time to get past your own sexual hang-ups and recognize that masturbation is a normal and healthy bodily function. It's fine to direct a child to do it privately, and as Sheranne points out, to remind them they are not to touch others' bodies and genitals, but to freak out and/or shame them over it, or try to prevent them from doing it "too much" (what the heck is too much?), is a sign of immaturity and lack of basic knowledge about human sexuality.
Let your child explore themselves privately--it will allow them to recognize their own sexuality and put you in a better position to speak with them about their sexual development as they age. Trying to hide sexual realities from children or shame them into quitting is a surefire way to leave them subject to risky sexual behavior and pregnancy as teenagers. Best to acknowledge the behavior early on and provide proper, age-appropriate guidance as they get older.