Search Search. Menu Sections. Advice from parenting expert and clinical psychologist David Coleman on how best to deal with a five-year-old daughter's masturbation. David Coleman Twitter Email. My five-year-old daughter was constantly "grinding" on her chair in school last year and I had numerous meetings with her teacher. She has done this grinding since she was a baby. I can remember her doing it in her high chair and she also does it in her car seat. She can't seem to stop herself and I can only assume she enjoys the feeling it's giving her.
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At a very young age, children begin to explore their bodies by touching, poking, pulling, and rubbing their body parts, including their genitals. As children grow older, they will need guidance in learning about these body parts and their functions. When these behaviors happen, try to redirect your child's attention to more appropriate behavior by saying something such as, "Grown-ups do that in private, and you should, too. Parents also need to know when a child's sexual behavior appears more than harmless curiosity.
Red Flag Behaviors
First of all, toddlers touching themselves is absolutely normal, whether they are naked or not. In fact, research has shown that babies begin such touching while still in the womb. But it sounds like your real question is how to teach a two-year-old that while touching herself is normal and healthy, she should do so in private. Privacy is a difficult concept for any toddler to comprehend, and you should not expect them to understand it until they are between four and six years old. But there are things you can start doing now to ensure that your daughter will begin to grasp the concept. Just as we teach our children that they should not pick their noses, floss their teeth or go to the bathroom in public, we can also teach them that they should not touch their genitals in public. If your daughter is touching herself only when she is naked and at home, it would be fruitless to teach her to only do so in her bedroom because she is too young to understand this. In this case, just remind yourself that this is normal, healthy behavior, and try to be more comfortable with and accepting of her touching.
This can have amusing consequences. But what if they happen to be doing it in public? Distract younger children with a toy or give them something else they can do with their hands. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, young children fiddling with their genitals is entirely normal and as they get older, most do it less or in private. During toilet training, youngsters become more aware of their genitals and how they differ from the opposite sex, particularly if they have an opposite-sex sibling. Apparently this is all quite normal.