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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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We have a 7 year old boy who wont stop playing with his penis.

Resolved Question:

We have a 7 year old boy who won't stop playing with his penis. This problem is more frequent at school and is affecting his schoolwork. It has been going on for the last 6 months. His teachers and daycare provider tell us that it has been getting worse lately. He controls himself at home, but school is another story. We haven't been harsh, but we have tried to explain that discovering his body is natural, but not in public places. We even have to tell him not to touch himself before he takes the school bus every morning. It usually happens when we forget to mention it to him. Today was the worst as he had his math evaluations and didn't do any of the work because he fondled himself and got caught. What can we do that we already haven't done?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
This behavior can have several causes and the challenge in treatment is to find the cause. Possible causes:
1. habit
3. anxiety

#1 and #2 can probably be ruled out because they typically occur everywhere. Therefore, I am leaning towards #3 and/or #4. He may be anxious about school or trying to avoid difficult material. This theory can be verified if he is struggling in academics especially in math (since behavior worsened with math activity). Then the solution (along with the reminders you have been using) may be academic support or accommodations. If this is not a problem, then, #1 and #2 require another try with positive reinforcement.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It does seem to get worse when he is stressed or anxious. But he gets good grades at school when he applies himself. Should we consider having him see a psychologist?
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Anxiety in children is very easy to treat and he may only need a few sessions to gain appropriate coping strategies (i.e., relaxation, thought stopping). There are also many great books for parent which you can search for on Amazon (keywords: Anxious Child) and if you know the subject of his worries, there are also great books for children (key words: worries). So individual psychotherapy with a psychologist or other mental health provider would be helpful but, in the meantime, try the books.
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