4 year old girl masturbating

(27 Posts)
chery1 Wed 03-Mar-10 10:54:28

My little girl has always had a very keen interest in her 'front bum' and taken many opportunities to rub herself on anything and everything as a toddler. i didnt worry, knowing it to be perfectly normal.
unfortunately shes still doing it and in public - she rubs herself even at meal times and in school.

please can someone tell me if this is common and how to cope with it.

so far i have told her only to do it when she is in bed on her own and not with others around - doesnt seem to have any effect. sometimes she does it so much she makes herself sore.

blinks Wed 03-Mar-10 11:18:10

my 4 year old does this too but has got the message that it's not something that should happen infront of other people... she now goes to her room for a 'winkle' (yes, she's given it a name) when she feels like it.

you need to really spell it out for her and tackle it as and when it happens.

we said-

'there's nothing wrong with what your doing but if you want to continue, you have to do so in your room'.

distract her as much as possible also as it tends to increase with boredom.

toolly Wed 03-Mar-10 11:18:26

Are you sure she hasn't got an infection? Or is she just itchy? Drapolene is excellent for soothing 'front bums'
Once you have discounted a medical reason, then just distract her when she makes a move in that direction.

Chellesgirl Wed 03-Mar-10 11:27:10

Does she possibly 'over do it' cause its irritating her? If shes rubbing until shes sire, it could be that its annoying her...it could also be her underwear (any lycra material in them? - pure cotton is better).

Does she realise shes doing it half the time, does she sit watching the tele doing it? It could be a way in which she (sounds mad) distracts herself from boredom or it could (sounds really mad) be comforting in a way.

We kind os have to step back from the 'sexual' side of it, when it involves children, they are just learning about thier body, if you dont pay too much attention to it, try and distract her from it then it will pass.

When I used to work in a school nursery, there was a little girl who used to always sit (anywhere) and have her hands in her knickers...we just tried to take 'no notice' and give her something to do that involves both hands being used...

my dd is 2.1yrs and does it, luckily not all the time, but Ive noticed that she does it more when shes sitting on my lap just watching tele, I just try and get her to read a book with me (which normally ends up with a strop and throwing the book across the room - therfore shes totally forgot about touching private parts).

chery1 Wed 03-Mar-10 11:57:13

she doesnt have infections and wears cotton knickers. it is purely becuase she likes it.

i have exlained about the 'only in your bedroom' rule and today i got cross because she went back to bed to do it instead of getting dressed for school - so she wasnt bored!

i know it is purely becuase she enjoys the sensation and always has.

does anyone else struggle with this with a girl?

blinks Wed 03-Mar-10 13:23:05

i didn't say ONLY when bored, it is obviously a pleasure thing.

it sounds like you need to be more firm and less emotional about it... explain that there's a time and place for it and when getting ready for school or indeed AT school are neither the time nor place.

if she continues despite this, she needs some consequences laid out and they need to be applied consistently. likewise, if she does what you ask, give her praise.

chery1 Wed 03-Mar-10 13:27:17

thanks for this everyone. seems like i am doing the right thing anyway. i have just found a site on the net that has a few examples of this with girls too so i am not alone. though it certainly seems less common than with boys.

i will adopt the firm strategy and maybe have another talk with her about when and where.

thanks for the comments

bumpybecky Wed 03-Mar-10 13:28:24

we struggled for a few months, but it passed dd3 was also making herself sore

we repeatedly told dd3 that it was only for in private and that on the sofa in the lounge, in front of whole family including Grandparents on Christmas Day was not on!

she ended up seeing the gp in early january about the soreness (just to rule out infection) and was not impressed at having her bits examined by the GP

since then there has been a definate reduction, not sure if it's stopped completely, I've not caught her at it and she's not sore any more

ilovestrictly Wed 03-Mar-10 13:34:46

Hi Chery - I posted about this last week, see www.mumsnet.com/Talk/behaviour_development/918203-6-year-old-daughter-playing-with-her-private-bits.

It's improved a little bit due to my constant reminders and distraction technqiues. She is totally aware of when and where it is appropriate and she is trying her best at school. Her teacher has noticed a difference in the last week.

It's nice to hear that there are others who are experiencing the same issue - as I didn't have much of a response to my thread!

ilovestrictly Wed 03-Mar-10 13:41:19

By the way I tried to look for some other examples on the net and only managed to find dodgy sites. blush. Which site/forum did you find?

bumpybecky Wed 03-Mar-10 13:43:26

forgot above dd3 was 4 when she started, 5 now though

I didn't see your thread last week ilove. It's not talked about much in girls is it? loads of comments about little boys having a fiddle, but not mentioned abiut girls.

DH was quite concerned when we first worked out what she was doing! he's quite uninhibited about all things rude, so it was funny. He'd never heard of little girls playing with themselves before blush

ilovestrictly Wed 03-Mar-10 14:03:33

BumpyB you are right about it not being talked about much - all the other threads I could find on MN were about boys. My dd is 6 (almost 7) and I would say it's been an issue for the last couple of years - since we managed to get her to stop sucking her thumb. It makes me wonder what habit she will start next . . .hmm

chery1 Wed 03-Mar-10 14:08:29

check out <<http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Child-Behavior/4-year-old-girl-masturbation/show/277815>>

lots of comments (some not useful and others very useful) mostly from concerned mums like me!

hope it helps

blinks Wed 03-Mar-10 14:15:40

there's an unnecessary stigma attached to girls doing this, i think, even though there's no difference to a wee boy having a fiddle...

i think it's because as a society we apply different expectations on females from a very young age.

really, they're all just little animals, doing what feels natural. it's not sexual, just pleasurable and as someone else suggested, it probably can be a comforting habit.

the difficulty is enforcing boundaries around it so that they can understand it's not shameful, yet isn't appropriate behaviour in public.

tricky!

Rhubarb Wed 03-Mar-10 14:18:57

Am I the only one who objects to the word 'masturbation' being in this title? Masturbation to me is pleasuring yourself whilst thinking of Clooney, it's a lustful emotion.

What your dd is doing is nothing more than someone who strokes their tummy because it feels nice.

They don't masturbate their tummy do they?

ilovestrictly Wed 03-Mar-10 14:33:50

Thanks Chery - I'll have a look.

Rhubarb - it's tricky to know how to word it though isn't it - I recently posted on the same subject using a different title and only got one response. What title would you use?

Rhubarb Wed 03-Mar-10 14:35:57

Just my opinion here, but putting that word in the title would encourage lurkers of the vile kind. Masturbation is such an adult word. There are plenty of Mumsnet threads on children touching themselves - have a search as those threads have very good advice. Perhaps you don't get a response now because the topic has been done to death a little.

Chellesgirl Wed 03-Mar-10 14:42:33

Masturbation definition: the stimulation or manipulation of one's own genitals, esp. to orgasm; sexual self-gratification.

It is more than that of just stroking the belly cause it feels nice...'masturbating' in children is normal, they dont see it being done (well I hope they dont, cause thats child abuse), they dont get taught how to do it, it for some reason 'just happens'. I personally think that its to do with setting off the hormone production e.g oxytocin when you orgasm. A child does not touch/rub/pull at themselves for sexual gratification - they have no clue what sex is to be able to do this, they are simply reacting to the brains chemical changes. Endorphines are also released when 'masturbating' this the happy hormone, which makes us want to go back for more cause it makes us feel good - a way in which the brain is snidy, the more were happy, the more we do it, the more we orgasm, the more we produce the hormones our bodies need to grow to be a woman/man and to produce/give birth to children.

I think it is animalistic in the fact children do 'anywhere' they have no perception thats its wrong to do it infront of others...pretty much like a monkey woulnt care less.

By looking at the reasons why we do it as infants, I feel there is a way in which you can combat it...Exercise...get your dd's/ds's into something that will enhance thier happiness, exercise releases endorphines.

this is ludicrus but so funny ( in a stupid way)

blinks Wed 03-Mar-10 14:48:10

i know what you're saying rhubarb but it's semantics really innit.

Rhubarb Wed 03-Mar-10 14:50:23

I'm sure there are nicer ways to describe it. Using the words sex and masturbation to describe a childs actions, no matter what the semantics, doesn't seem right. I'm sure that adult masturbation is very different to what a child does. Which is why just having that one word to cover both is wrong.

Chellesgirl Wed 03-Mar-10 14:59:25

We should simply not label it. Dont give it a word...the word actually comes from the latin word...manu stuprare meaning to defile with the hand..defile meaning to violate, make unclean. I do think that over time (starting many many years ago) sexual pleasure was frowned upon unless you were married, to touch yourself alone for gratification was a sin - as you wernt meant to do things for your own pleasure.

If people were to realise that touching yourself was purely to release the hormones needed to do what the Lord wanted us to do which was produce children, it wouldnt be such a 'sexual' thing. who invented the word sexual!!!!!!

blinks Wed 03-Mar-10 15:31:26

i've never thought of what my daughter does as 'masturbation' really- she has her own word for it anyway (winkling) so that's what it gets called in our house (not that it's a general topic of conversation....).

she's a humper of furniture anyway- no hands required!

sweetkitty Wed 03-Mar-10 15:38:40

It is quite common amongst my friends girls, DD2 is a fiddler but only if she is naked she will have a scratch as she calls it. We have spoken to her about only doing it in her bed and not in front of others. At the dinnertable when she is eating is definitely not the time!

To me it is no different to DD1 sucking her thumb for comfort.

Chellesgirl Wed 03-Mar-10 16:02:34

dd also calls it a 'scratch' (she only 2)like shes itching herself...when I came off here after posting first post...she was pulling at her 'wee hole' like it was nothing..Im just scared shes gonna damage herself in some way [condused] but she does the same with her belly button as its an outie, pulls on it so it sticks really far out.

twistedficus Tue 23-Aug-11 22:56:15

So glad to have found this thread. Feel that I would encounter lots of dodgy sites if I type in the search words I am looking for.
From literally 6 months our dd has squirmed when sitting in a chair. Health carers said she was doing it for pleasure but we were sure she was uncomfortable and trying to ease some pain. Now she is 3 years she can fully explain that she does it coz it makes her feel nice in her girl bottom. She also goes all red in the face and flushed the more she does it.
Help what do we do? I teach and cant bear the idea that she will be stigmatised by peers and teachers because she does this odd thing. She will literally push down on the table and squirm vigourously to rub her bottom, its very noticable. What have others done about such behaviours? Surely she cant be the only one?
Please advise, she has one year to go before school.

fridakahlo Tue 23-Aug-11 23:25:57

Just explaining and reiterating that there is nothing wrong with her doing it but that in front of other people/outside of her bedroom it's not appropriate.

Dulra Wed 24-Aug-11 10:12:13

Hi twistedficus
All I can suggest is distraction my dd1 just turned 4 has been doing something similar since she was about 10months old. It is always when she is sitting on the floor she rocks herself and her front bottom back and forward. Initially when it started my concern around it was because she was rocking back and forth which had alarm bells going for me but tbh everyone said she was fine and was just self soothing. She mainly does it when watching tv or feeling a tired or something and I think she is just self soothing, dd2 sucks her thumb and dd1 does this. I know that most of the time she doesn't even realise she is doing it, it has become a complete habit. We distract her from it when she is doing it but never tell her it is wrong or to stop (mil does which drives me mad). I have been to Hv and gp about it and they were not concerned in the slightest and said do distract her from it or ignore it. She has done it in pre-school a bit but again they just distract and they say they feel she does it when she is tired.

My dd1 will be starting school in a year but tbh I have seen her do it less and less as she has got older so I am pretty confident she will have stopped it altogether soon enough.
Not much help for you sorry but I think distraction is the key but not to make her feel what she is doing is wrong

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