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How can I stop my daughter from masturbating?

Friday, 09 July 2010
Answered by: Dr S Anandalakshmy
Advisor on Child Development & Education, Chennai
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Q. I have noticed my 4 years old girl rubbing herself on the bed and I was shocked to see this. I saw her and tried to divert her mind too but as I am working mother I am not able to check how often she is doing this. I saw she lays on her stomach and moves her bottoms - maybe she discovered this by herself. Since we live in a joint family, her cousin, who is 15 years old, might also have taught her this. Once my daughter complained that her cousin once inserted a pin inside her vagina, to which he refused. I have observed him going inside sheets, removing his pants and playing. What should I do? How can I stop my daughter from masturbating?

A.  Some children do find out that there are private parts of the body which respond to touch. When stimulated, they give pleasure. This is referred to as "infantile sexuality". It is not dangerous, but can create social problems if continued over a period. One thing to do is to have some adult around who will distract the little girl and suggest an alternative to her masturbation.

Without making the child feel guilty, you will have to think of ways to discourage her.

Where you have to be even more careful, is any contact with her 15 year old cousin.

There are studies which report that the largest numbers of child sexual abuse cases are by members of the family, family servants or casual visitors. There is no alternative to protecting your child from her male cousin's experiments. Please take your husband into confidence and with tact and firmness take the necessary action immediately.

A.  Some children do find out that there are private parts of the body which respond to touch. When stimulated, they give pleasure. This is referred to as "infantile sexuality". It is not dangerous, but can create social problems if continued over a period. One thing to do is to have some adult around who will distract the little girl and suggest an alternative to her masturbation.

Without making the child feel guilty, you will have to think of ways to discourage her.

Where you have to be even more careful, is any contact with her 15 year old cousin.

There are studies which report that the largest numbers of child sexual abuse cases are by members of the family, family servants or casual visitors. There is no alternative to protecting your child from her male cousin's experiments. Please take your husband into confidence and with tact and firmness take the necessary action immediately.

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