Dealing with Toddlers and Genital Touching

Parents who discover their children masturbating are often hit with two distinct emotions. On the one hand, they want to handle it with a healthy attitude. On the other hand, it can be a disturbing to see your little one handling his or her genitals. Both emotions are fine, as long as you understand that genital exploration is a normal developmental stage.

Most two-year-olds masturbate. But it’s important to remember that masturbation in toddlers is not a sexual act. As far as your child is concerned, it’s just something that is fun to do and feels good.

Ã?·Don’t tell them that masturbation is a “dirty” act.

Ã?·Don’t stop them from safe exploration of their genitals.

Ã?·Don’t slap their hands or punish them.

Ã?·Don’t tell them masturbation is unhealthy or will cause illness.

On the other hand, you don’t want your child to show off her new skill in front of the neighbors or at school. So seize the moment for a little education:

�·Do tell your child that masturbation should be done in private.

Ã?·Do try to distract him or her into other activities when company is around. Whisper a reminder to “take it upstairs”.

�·Do take the opportunity to teach your children the proper names of their genitals.

Ã?·Do remind your children that it’s OK to touch their genitals or private parts, but no one else should unless they want them to.

You also want to make sure that masturbation remains an occasional past-time and not an all-consuming passion. There are just some children who always seem to have their hands down their pants. In that case, don’t go crazy trying to stop them, but ask yourself why it is happening:

�·Are they bored?

�·Do they need comfort or security?

�·Are they in pain? Sometimes a urinary tract infection or yeast infection can bring on excess masturbation.

Stopping a toddler from exploring his or her sexuality is pointless, and probably a battle you won’t be able to win. Something that is forbidden becomes even more interesting to a two-year-old, and it’s likely that their masturbation “stage” will end a lot sooner if you don’t draw much attention to it.

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