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Children Touching their Genitals

My child is constantly touching her genitals

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.

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