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Jennifer
Jennifer, School Psychologist
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My two year old son has been taking the diaper off of another

Resolved Question:

My two year old son has been taking the diaper off of another little boy at shcool. he has been caught and put in time-out at school; and just the other day, he reached into the diaper of my 18-month opld nephew and pulled his penis out. Is this normal for a 2 year old?. What do I do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 4 years ago.
At this age, toddlers are extremely curious about everything -- including body parts. Some children are fascinated by the observation that others look the same or different than they do. In these instances, calmly redirect your son by saying, "We don't touch people's private parts." Use the same tone you'd use for a simple direction (such as picking up toys or putting a coat on) then offer another activity to satisfy his curious nature. You may choose to follow up on this discussion during a diaper change by casually telling him who IS allowed to touch his private parts and in what circumstances. Keep these messages short and sweet. Or you may choose to save that lesson for when he's a little older.

In the meantime, catch him being good and encourage his day care provider to do the same. The more attention given for positive behaviors, the less likely he'll engage in the misbehaviors that are sure fire ways to get a reaction.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for the information. What should I do if the behavior continues? I have been told that he did this to the same little boy 3 times in one week. Could my son be bullying the other child?
Expert:  Jennifer replied 4 years ago.
I don't think I would call it bullying, although it's tough to say without knowing if that child is being targeted in other ways as well. Something about how that child is reacting (or how the day care provider is reacting) is motivating him to repeat the behavior. It may be worth asking the day care provider a few questions to figure this out...

What was happening immediately before the behavior occurred?
What happened immediately after? (How did the child react? Adults? Other children?)
In what other ways do these children interact? (Positively or negatively?) Ask for examples so you're clear about what his relationship with this child is like.

If the behavior continues, you could try removing privileges to see if that modifies the behavior. If he cannot play appropriately with that child, perhaps he isn't allowed to play with him for a specified time (keep it short -- kids this age lose sight of the reason for a consequence in a matter of minutes!) You can reward the positive behaviors as well. Teach him that good touches (or whatever you want to call them) include high fives, hugs, pats on the back, etc. Perhaps he's only allowed to play with that child when an adult is available to supervise their interaction closely. Reward him for the good touches (verbal praise, stickers, whatever motivates your son) and increase the time they're allowed to play together each day if the interaction is successful.

My guess is that it will likely fade over time. It always seems the moment we get anxious about a toddler's behavior and begin planning how to modify it, that toddler loses interest in the behavior on their own and moves on to something more interesting. I even find this to be true with my own 2-year old. Best of luck to you and your son!

Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience: Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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