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Ed Johnson
Ed Johnson, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 10760
Experience:  USC, BS Psych & Soc.; Transactional Analaysis; U.S. A. D&A Counseling,Raised 2 boys as Single Parent
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I've just read a thread on another web

This answer was rated:

I've just read a "thread" on another web site regarding pre-schooler's and masterbation. I, too, have a 3 year old girl who frequently straddles our couch arm and squeezes her legs together. She is NOT humping. She said it "feels good" when asked what she is doing. I've been concerned about this behavior and it was a comfort to read that this is typical sexual discovery. Your thoughts?

Dear boohoo,

I agree with the comments you read on another site.

I actuality, children are already aware of their external sexual organs as early as six months; and by the time they are two, is it is said, they are already aware that their tush is more fun than their toes.

I did a research paper on this issue for the University of Southern Colorado on my undergraduate studies.

In my paper out outlined the sexual development of children from age six months to adolescence,and explored the basis of a recent proliferation of sexual activity in the class room with first and second graders, as reported in the news.

The main issue here is not that they do it; it is natural and normal. But at age 3 they do not know how to channel those feelings, and they do not know cognizantly how to handle these emotions. They suspect, that it should not be overt, and you see the behavior as a timid type behavior.

Until between age 6 and 9 (on average age 8) when concrete thinking kicks in, they are not likely to be able to understand exactly what is going on.

so for now you should be understanding and knowing that it is natural and nothing to be afraid of. It is not sign that your daughter is premature or going to be promiscuous.

When you ask her what you do, you are doing the right thing. IT is good that she is trusting and comfortable enough, even at this young age to tell you it "feels good". That shows a strong and loving bond between the two of you.

So not show alarm or disgust, simply accept it, and be observant. If she is doing it in an improper environment, then you may let her know gently that she should not be doing that in the presence of others. As she gets older, say about age 5 and she is off to school, you may want to have a discussion about what is proper behavior and conduct on the playground and in the class room.

10 years ago, this discussion would not have been a necessity; but in today's world, largely because of the internet and other social issues; the children are starting to act out sexually, even in the classroom, at younger ages. They need to know from early on when it is appropriate behavior and when it is not. Age three is a bit young for complete understanding of that, though they can understand no, not now, etc; but the way you do it at this age is different than the way you do it age 5.

But, trust me, there is nothing for you to be concerned with at this point, except monitoring the behavior.



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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
You reply was extremely comforting....thank you. I've raised two sons and this behavior did not (sterotypically) cause me concern as "boys will be boys". I guess I just wasn't aware that pre-school girls engaging in this behavior was a concern. What a relief. She started this behavior right after she was potty trained and would often press the buckle in her car seat that was between her legs against her "area". We have discussed this behavior should be performed in private...and she is bright and complies! I think another reason why this was a concern was due to the fact that ever since she was about 16-18 months she would "fuss" with diaper changes/cleaning of her uretha area. We contributed this to the fact that she had a very severe urinary tract infection (hospitalized)and had a "voiding cystogram". If you are not familar with this procedure. It is extremely invasive and a "child specialist" was present to help the child deal with the procedure. It includes having the child lay (hold) down, insert catheder, fill bladder with fluid, and then ask the screaming child to urinate on the table so they can watch the "reflux" into the kidneys. My daughter had this done twice. Once when she was 13 months old and repeated a few months before she turned 3. She still guards herself when I attempt to clean her urethra area. I've taught her how to clean that area herself with a soft washcloth. She does allow me to wipe her after having a bowel is just the "pee-pee" area. So when the self stimulation started with the car seat (now she is a booster seat), the cart carrier in Wal-Mart (now I have her sit in the cart portion), the couch arm and the "guarding" can see why I needed claification. I appreciate this forum and the ability to ask these senistive questions. I want to make this behavior "OK" for her. I don't want to make her feel like she is doing any wrong...while at the same time, I want to make sure there isn't anything that I should be doing in respone to my concern. Again, thanks for making me breath easier and allow my daughter to develop her sexuality in a typical manner.

Dear boohoo,

You are very welcome, and best of luck to you and your daughter.