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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10547
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I am a mother of a 10 year old girl who masturbating quite a

Customer Question

Hi there,I am a mother of a 10 year old girl who masturbating quite a lot. Recently I caught her running herself on the chest of her 2 year old cousin. As soon as she saw me she pretended to be playing but I know she was running herself against his chest. Later she told me she wanted to know what it felt like on a real person. I was mortified but at the same time I know that she is going through a period of experimentation. She was very embarrassed and cries a lot and is upset that she rubbed herself on her little cousin. What should I do??? I feel mortified to tell the parents and I feel so upset at her for doing it but I can see she is so emotional and upset about it.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

Hello again. I remember your previous questions on this subject and I am assuming that you have tried to re-direct her multiple times but it has not worked out from the sound of it. So have you thought about taking your daughter to see a child psychologist to help her gain better self-control in this area?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi. Yes. I have. What if the child is now older and refuses to go. I have tried telling my child this was normal at that age but it just doesn't go through to her. She is in constant guilt as she has high morals about herself.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

I understand that your child may refuse to go to therapy, but she is only 10 years old so compelling her is still within reason at this age. it sounds like your daughter is not able to control her impulses and this is quite a concern that needs to be resolved as she approaches adolescence. I think you have tried quite admirably to help her with this issue, but now is the time for more professional treatment so I would recommend you continue to push for therapy for your daughter, or possibly group therapy as she may respond better being a group with other girls her age, although I doubt they will have the same issues as her, but it can be an impulse control treatment group so the other patients would have uncontrollable impulses as well. The other alternative approach would be if your daughter has reached puberty very early, which is of course possible in todays society, and she is having hormonal issues that can cause this behavior than she would need to see an OB/GYN or Endocrinologist for treatment. Again I am not too sure if that is what is going on here, but it is an alternative approach that may need to be considered. Still therapy is going to need to be used to help ease her guilt, and you should mention that as the reason for treatment so that she talk and vent to someone who will understand and her to feel better about herself and if this is purely a psychological issue help her to control these impulses too.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. Do you think as a parent I should be harsh on her or should I continue to support her. She is feeling so guilty and stressed. Is it normal for her age to be doing this?
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

I think you should be supportive and not harsh with her as this is not her fault, but more of a psychological issue. I do not think your daughter is being purposeful or manipulative with her behavior, but is more a "slave" to her impulses unfortunately. If she is having such control problems with masturbation and this behavior than no this is not normal for her age and seeking professional help is still best for her.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you so much. It's been a while now since this happened but it plays on my mind as a parent..did I make the right decision by talking to her about it. She told me she only did it once out of curiosity so I was relieved by that but I think that being devout Christians it has affected her mentally and my husband and I have been very upset and stressed by it. Sometimes I feel like it's me making a fuss about it all rather than just letting her be a normal young 10 year old girl.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

What do you mean she did it once, you stated she has been masturbating "quite a lot" and "running herself on the chest of her 2 year old cousin" recently, so I figured these were continuing issues because your last question was 8 months ago about similar behavior. That is why I am under the impression this is an impulse control issue as you have insinuated there is repetition in her behavior...am I wrong by this assumption?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
No. This happened awhile back with her cousin when I caught her running herself on his chest but ever since then she has developed anxiety and has a guilt complex about it which has made me feel guilty for making her feel bad. She often apologises to me because she knows I am still so devastated by it. I just can't believe she had done that. As a parent and a devout Christian this is considered sinful. So I didn't know if I was too harsh on her by scolding her when it happened and now she has developed a guilty complex about it and I just think it's all because of me.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

Okay now this is definitely different because you made it sound like this was a repetitive act as you quoted "masturbating quite a lot," and said the event with her cousin was recently. Because your daughter understood your direction and how socially unacceptable her behavior was by now repeating the behavior is a great sign...what she did was perfectly normal for her age and level of sexual development. I am not excusing it, but it is something that is seen often and usually once re-directed by the parent and told about how our bodies are sacred and our own (private parts need to be private) and not to be touched in that manner with others than the child will not repeat the behavior, which your daughter has complied with. Now you as parents are hurt by this behavior and I understand how this goes against your faith, but psychologically speaking your daughter did not know the consequences of her actions due to the lack of maturity. I would recommend that the whole family go to family therapy so that you as parents can understand this better and possibly cope with it better because once you do than your daughter's anxiety, guilt and shame will lessen as well.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. You have no idea how hard it is for me to speak to anyone about this as I am a devout Christian and I don't have any parents that are friends of mine that I could talk to about it. I felt like I have failed her as a parent. That it is all my fault because I wasn't there to supervise or tell her about development.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

You never failed your daughter at all, you are a good parent to her. Children make mistakes growing up and some are a bit more embarrassing than others, but they will learn from their mistakes to grow up as well-adjusted adults. I truly wish you and your daughter all the best :)

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