4yr old girl "rubbing" herself

(24 Posts)
Tinkerisdead Fri 11-Jan-13 17:13:57

I'm not name changing for this because im certain i will still get called all sorts despite being a long standing poster. Ive posted in response to other threads about this over the years but i'm honestly at the end of my rope with this and i could cry. This is my first proper thread at needing hardcore parenting advice. Be kind.

At around 18 months dd1 had a fisher price bounce and spin zebra. She bounced on it constantly and at around 2 we quickly deduced that she must have got a pleasurable sensation from it (not sexual before im jumped upon) and we couldnt keep her off it. We took it away as it was all she would gravitate to. She then discovered that she could mount corners of chairs/tables etc and evidently get the same sensation.

Shes now 4 and every time shes alone she's still doing it. I could cry. Truly. I've tried everything. Shes old enough to understand and tells me it feels nice on her "foo foo". We've told her bottoms and foo-foo's are private and we dont want to see. Ive tried shouting, asking her to go to her room, taking toys away, reward for not doing it (which is tricky as she waits to be alone).

I've got a thousand feelings about this. Its my own fears and hang ups that get me so wound up. Firstly i dont really want to witness it. I know its innocent, she fets a sensation so seeks it out. But i dont want her doing it in the middle of the lounge. Shes broken three tables from it. She often gets sore and then i get petrified. I panic someone will think she's been abused. I panic that i'll give her a complex about masturbation as she gets older.

When she hit 4 nursery joked that this is the age they find every orrafice. So i asked their advice. They said its normal and more common in girls than you think. I had a social worker here (referee for adoptors) and i even asked her. She agreed it was normal.

I just dont know what to do. She shows no signs of stopping and although she understands your body is private etc she cant link her behaviour to that and i dont want to sexualise it.

Thank you if you got this far. Please please can anyone advise me?

OP’s posts: |
LaCiccolina Fri 11-Jan-13 17:20:38

I'm afraid I can't offer advice. I can offer that a friend has same issue with baths. Specifically the shower head or sieve type toys. Dd also 4. Mine is 2 and not yet discovered this. My mate gets very stressed too as mostly its "unacceptable" public behaviour. I don't know how ele to phrase it sorry.

I think it's more common than we might realise, hoping others come forwards for u for advice/experience.

meadow2 Fri 11-Jan-13 17:28:19

Its totally normal and most little girls do it just tell her not to do it in public

Tinkerisdead Fri 11-Jan-13 17:28:59

Yes i get soo stressed because i fear for her. I fear that she wont understand inappropriate boundaries. Or that i'd be hauled over the coals if she got so sore. Im at my wits end as i cant make her stop because clearly she sees no wrong in it. She might get embarrassed if i catch her but thats a new thing so i think shes only just becoming a bit more self aware.

OP’s posts: |
N0tinmylife Fri 11-Jan-13 17:37:30

From what you have said she waits to be alone before she does it, am I reading that right? If so I think maybe you need to let it go. It is only inappropriate if she is doing it in public. If she has learned that, then I don't think you need to worry. It is a normal and natural thing for her to do.

If she does it when you are there then a gentle reminder that you don't want to see should be enough. I would imagine like everything else, it is a phase and she will lose interest eventually, and move onto the next thing. I would avoid making a big thing of it, and treat it like any other behaviour you want to discourage, but only if she does it where people can see.

Shinyshoes1 Fri 11-Jan-13 17:38:58

How on earth has she broken 3 tables ?
I know it's easy for me to say but you must ignore it because intentionally or not you WILL give her hang ups about her foo foo . Would a trip to the HV or GP help ? I don't think there is anything physically wrong but you could rule it out .
I don't see many 7 year olds touching themselves in this manner so hopefully it's a stage they go through . She WILL grow out of it .
I have a just turned 5 year old and she talks to me with her hands down her knickers fiddling but I just say stop and she does . I don't make a huge issue out of it I don't want her having issues with her body

No other advice sorry but good luck and try not to cry and fret too much smile

agadoo Fri 11-Jan-13 17:39:42

Mine has started when she was 9 months old, she was rubbing herself against the buggy harness..she was grunting and it was very embarrassing. She is still doing it with her special pillow but we have made it clear she is not allowed to do it when we are around...these days she does it mostly when she can't sleep, it seems to "help " her...Don't stress over it, it will pass, just remind her the boundaries when you need to.


sparklingsea Fri 11-Jan-13 17:40:38

A good friend of mine's 4 yr old DD does this constantly. I have witnessed her doing it on many occasions, her mother gets beside herself about it to the point she turns down invitations to go out and meet up with people. I really wouldn't worry about it, just reiterate that it is a private thing. My sons went through stages of always having their hands down their pants, I wonder if it seems more difficult when it's a girl?

queenebay Fri 11-Jan-13 17:44:53

My dd it constantly and I used to say stop it , I don't want to see it. If you want to do go to your private room to do it. Now at 7 she does it in her room. Have said its ok to do it but not inftont of anyone else.

agadoo Fri 11-Jan-13 17:47:12

She is 5 and she does it less...I forgot to say that.

culturemulcher Fri 11-Jan-13 17:57:11

DD did it a lot too. Please, please don't get too wound up about it. I think you've realised that this is a bit of an ishooo for you, and it's great that you're asking for advice.

The track we took was to - very, very calmly and as 'neutrally' (word??) as possible - explain that we understand that it does feel nice when you do that, but that it's something we do in private, not when there are other people around.

Try to treat it in the same way as you would if she was holding her crotch because she wanted to pee. You'll have to repeat yourself at least 30 times, but the message will get through, eventually. Honestly. She'll soon realise that it's one of those things that you just don't do (in public), like jumping on the sofa or wearing wellies in the house.

Please try not to worry what other people might think, and just keep calm and try to appear super-nonchalant about it.

culturemulcher Fri 11-Jan-13 17:59:13

It IS completely normal, btw.

MoodyDidIt Fri 11-Jan-13 18:02:26

my ds (6) has always got his hand in his pants hmm

i just dont make a big deal of it and say if you want to do that, do it in your room, and make a joke of it almost

as others have said, you dont want to give them issues! but at the same time its a bit embarrassing isnt it

Tinkerisdead Fri 11-Jan-13 18:07:45

Shes broken three coffee/lamp tables because she literally mounts herself on the corners legs dangling and so the leg of the table giives way.

I think its partly because she's a girl. If i had a boy i'd have expected "leave your willy alone" reminders. And i've seen numerous threads about "mummy my willy feels happy" or the like. But no-one mentions girls.

I should be nonchalant i know i should but its been two years and i keep thinking when will this stop?!!!! But you are all right, i'll send her to her bedroom consistently and remind her its private. We've had lits if chats around bodies, strangers, inappropriate touching and i think i just panic when i see her mounting the furniture. I worry so much that she wont understand infrigements of her body if shes so dismissive of this.

But i never ever want to demonise sex or masturbation and so i then worry more when im screeching "get off the tv cabinet!" It riles me in the same way that jumping on the sofa twenty times a day would but theres all this other angst i feel.

OP’s posts: |
Lovemynailstoday Fri 11-Jan-13 18:09:25

I was at primary school decades ago with a 10 year old girl who positioned herself over the desk corner and stayed there for most of the day!! I don't remember it being pointed out as an issue. It DOES feel good and becomes a habit like thumb sucking or the like. I have to knock everytime I go into DS (teenage) bedrooms! They learn to be more discrete about it as we all do.

Tinkerisdead Fri 11-Jan-13 18:22:47

10 years old


OP’s posts: |
Lovemynailstoday Fri 11-Jan-13 18:28:57

Sorry--the point of my post was that it was just something she did--no one made a fuss.

culturemulcher Fri 11-Jan-13 20:58:00

i'll send her to her bedroom consistently

It was probably an off the cuff comment, but please be careful of your tone - don't send her to her bedroom, just point out that if she wants to do that, she should do it somewhere where no-one else is around as it's something we do in private.

Keep your tone light, but make sure she stops when you ask her. It won't take long for the message to get through, honest.

eejaykay Fri 11-Jan-13 23:40:21

Ah - was having a scout about Mumsnet just to see if anyone had any tips as my 2 year old has just discovered rubbing herself, er, mainly on me (look, I know it's not quite right but don't want to give her a hang up either and have been thinking about how to handle this...). I remember finding this pleasurable myself from the age of about 5 and ended up quite hung up about it as a teenager just because no-one talked about it at all. I honestly thought, until about my mid-20s, that masturbation was something only boys did.

Anyway - back to the point and the here and now - I think I'm probably in for some pretty embarrassing moments but hopefully we can get the private / public boundaries sorted out in due course.

Yep, all normal, just anything that feels at all sexual is so horribly fraught with all sorts of judgements...

TheCountessOlenska Sat 12-Jan-13 08:51:01

Lol @ eejaykay "look, I know it's not quite right . . ."

Yes my 2 year old does it on the buggy/ car seat straps - I think it's pretty obvious what she's doing but no one else seems to have noticed (unless they're are being polite!). I just ignore it - I'm sure she will learn to do it in private. As I did!!

Tinkerisdead Sat 12-Jan-13 20:10:37

Ah yes, quite right about "sending" to her room. I'll just ask her to go upstairs if she wants to do it. She doesnt like playing alone so it may discourage her actually.

I'm so glad i posted because she did it earlier and i wasnt as enraged. I think purely because the panic in me had gone. Mind you shes complained of a tickly bottom tonight so ive spent numerous times checking for worms!!

Honestly miriam stoppard didnt put any of this in her books!!

OP’s posts: |
culturemulcher Sat 12-Jan-13 20:37:48

Sounds like you're doing fine. Well done OP.

Honestly miriam stoppard didnt put any of this in her books!! grin

Imsosorryalan Sat 12-Jan-13 20:46:14

Try not to make it into a big deal. I think sometimes we find it more uncomfortable when its a girl doing it yet, boys of similar age doing it seem to be more exceptable.
How many times have I heard the phrase.." He's always got his hands down his trousers!"

dizabelle Thu 28-Jul-16 11:30:15

Hi all

I know this is an old post, as are all others related to this topic. I'm dealing with the same as DD who is almost 3 has been rubbing for the last 6 months. It seems to be getting worse and I am so anxious & worried about it. I know everyone says it's normal but as soon as she is not occupied she starts going it - bed, car, sofa... I was wondering if anyone has any advice since most of you have hopefully seen some improvements since 2013! Please tell me they do eventually stop!!! 🙏🙏🙏

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