The habit of touching genitals or private parts is normal in children. There is no need for parents to worry. Find more about why children touch their genitals.
Parents often get worried when they see their children touching their genitals or private parts. Reprimanding them during such times is not the right solution. Parents must know why children get into such habits and what they must do about it. Let us take a look at the common concerns of parents related to children touching their private parts.
My child is constantly touching her genitals
Just like any other things new things children are curious to know about their bodies. Children become aware of their genital organs towards the end of the first year. Touching their genitalia is a normal extension of the way they explore the rest of their bodies. Over time, children realize that handling their genitals is pleasurable.
Is my child masturbating?
Handling becomes more like fondling that takes on the overtones of real masturbation. There are many misconceptions about masturbation. Masturbation is not something to be embarrassed about in children or among adults. It does not lead to homosexuality, blindness or insanity.
Should I be concerned?
There is no need for concern. Your child is not a pervert. Masturbation in young children is rarely done with any purpose or for any length of time. The pleasure the child derives is almost incidental, rather than sexual. Do not reprimand your child for this normal behaviour. You will make her feel ashamed and it will probably result in her continuing to masturbate furtively. She will probably never discuss her genitals or sexuality with you in the future. The best way to deal with this is to ignore it. If it happens in public, distract your child, but under no circumstances, take her to task.
How to react when I find my child touching her genitals?
As mentioned above, there is no need to scold your child when you find her touching her genitals or private parts. Do not make her uncomfortable about what she is doing. Make her understand calmly that these are her private parts and should not be touched or explored publicly or in front of everyone.
How to prevent my child from touching her genitals in public?
You can tell her to play with her favourite toys like building blocks etc; when she feels like touching her genitals. Learning to divert her mind towards something else will help her to avoid touching her genitals in public. If she is unable to control touching her genitals at all then it can be the sign that she might be coping with stress, anxiety or depression or some psychological or emotional problem.
Talking to children about their bodies
While children start exploring their body parts, it is a responsibility of parents to talk to them about their bodies. On one hand it is essential to educate them about touching private parts in public is not acceptable and on the other hand it is necessary to make them understand and recognise good touch and bad touch.
Parents must make children understand that no one has right to touch their private parts apart from their moms. Parents must make children comfortable to talk to them about their body parts. It is also crucial to make them understand that if anyone else is trying to touch their private parts or touch in a particular way that makes them uncomfortable, it is a must for them to tell about it to their parents.
Every parent has to go through this phase where they will notice that their child is touching her genitals. But this situation must be handled patiently. Parents should help children to open-up about such topics in a way that is suitable to their age which is a must to help them develop positive attitude towards their bodies and sexuality.
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- The Indiaparenting Team