When children are addicted to playing with ‘private spaces’

Many parents are worried or angry when they see their children “masturbate”, but experts affirm that this is a normal job in the process of exploring the body.

Ms. Nguyen Mai Linh, 29, from Hoang Mai, Hanoi, tells the story of her son’s “unacceptable” behavior on a forum for parents to ask for advice.

Illustration: iStock.

This mother said that on a weekend, when she saw her 4-year-old son, Tu was still asleep, she entered the room to see her … playing with “little boy”. Seeing his mother, the boy was not only not ashamed but also showed interest. Since that day, Linh was very worried and asked the preschool teacher to monitor Tu’s behavior at school. As a result, on the first day, the teacher texted back: “I do it while I nap in the blanket”.

When she gently turned the blanket off, Tu startled “Don’t do that, that’s not good”, the teacher seriously faced the little boy. Immediately, Tu pulled her hand away, then got under the covers with a gasp. The whole week after that, despite being reminded by the teacher, the boy continued his routine.

Hearing her talk, Linh was shocked and told her husband hoping to find a solution. Her husband got angry, rushed into his own room, scolded and hit the boy’s butt with a few blows. From that day on, Tu did not like communicating with everyone, including her parents or the classroom teacher. Whenever he was in a bad mood, he continued to touch his genitals.

“Now I don’t know how. Is it a precocious child who needs a psychotherapy?” Asked the mother.

Reading the situation of Ms. Mai Linh, a man named Phuong Thu, in Dong Dang, Lang Son also told a story related to her niece.

“A few days ago, I went to my sister’s house to play. While I was talking, I found out when the little girl named Bich disappeared. Before that she was excitedly telling stories, fighting to talk to her aunt. Turn her head to look. around, I found a 4-year-old girl lying on the armrest of the sofa outside the living room, wriggling with her face red. I wanted to pretend I didn’t see it, but my sister didn’t. ” told.

Out of embarrassment, her sister shouted and ordered Bich to sit next to her mother, but she did not move. Only when the mother ran back and lifted it up did Bich know that everyone was watching her. “What are you doing, my sister screamed and kept pinching her butt”. After the incident, her sister reminded Thu to keep her story private, not to tell anyone, including family members.

“She felt embarrassed for her child. Said that she was masturbating at the beginning. But when I read a lot of documents, it is normal for children,” said Thu.

Listen to the stories shared by parents, Master Ngo Thi Thanh Mai – lecturer at Hanoi Pedagogical University, who has many years of experience in teaching life skills, sex education, and reproductive health. Children and teenagers report that child masturbation is a sexual trait in childhood. For children aged 3-6 years old, it is normal to touch and play with external genitals.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that masturbation is a normal behavior in adolescents, occurring in 90% to 94% of boys and 50% to 60% of girls at any one time. that in life. The average age of the “first incident” was 19.5 months with an average frequency of 4 times per day and lasting an average of 4 minutes each. When doing this behavior, the child has quite similar features such as flushing, deliberately creating friction between the thighs, sweating, and sleeping after completion.

American researchers have tested, checked EEG and found no abnormal changes in sex hormones.

Another study of the University of Michigan (USA) also confirmed that most children 5-6 years old play with their genitals quite often. According to experts, the 2 -6-year-old period, the baby already knows how to rub the genital area by hand. Statistics show that up to one third of children in this age group have learned to masturbate when learning about the body. At the age of 15, almost 100% of boys and 25% of girls ever masturbate until they reach orgasm.

According to master Ngo Thi Thanh Mai, masturbation in preschool children does not mean early puberty, just curiosity about sex and exploring the body. Children may discover pleasure and comfort when they touch their genitals and continue to do so to achieve this feeling.

“Actually in a child’s eyes, the genitals are not different from the eyes, nose, mouth, are all organs on the body. Touching this part makes the baby forever, this can happen in both boys and babies. Children are also not aware of not doing this in front of others, “Mai said.

Children’s curiosity is not limited to their own body, they will also be interested in other people’s bodies: “Why do you have a breast that you don’t have? Why is your body different from yours?” dad?”. Children are interested in other people’s bodies, curious about the differences between boys and girls so they can explore each other’s bodies. However, many parents, by their adult mindset, will attribute this act to a form of “sexual satisfaction” or pathology.

A mother named Huong in Nghe An tells the story of her younger sister. “Seeing my grandmother say that when she was 5 years old, she liked hugging pillows and sleeping and touching her genitals with her hand.”

There was a time when her sister was “enjoying” playing alone in the room when the grandmother entered. Seeing her granddaughter’s actions and appearance, she looked down: You are a girl, can you be ashamed?

The 5 year old girl seemed to understand. Although she doesn’t know why her grandmother is so talkative, she understands her behavior as a bad thing. A grandmother’s words in this way made the concept of “sexual shame” ingrained into her heart until adulthood. Although she never acted like this again in the future, when she grew up and learned about sex, she still thought it was a dirty thing.

“When I was growing up, my brother had a boyfriend, but could not be intimate, so it was very painful,” said Huong.

Master Mai said that in the above case, it is the unusual reaction of the adult that has caused the child to suffer a lifelong obsession. Many parents, when seeing a child masturbate, were shocked, considering it an unacceptable behavior. “In developmental psychology, acts against the child’s private areas are considered healthy, parents should not panic but take actions to hurt the child”, Ms. Mai affirmed.

Many parents when they see their young children masturbate are very shocked, considering it unacceptable behavior.  Photo: mamidaily.

Many parents, when seeing their young children masturbate, are shocked, considering it unacceptable behavior. Image: mamidaily.

So if you see a child acting like this, parents do not have to worry. The correct way to do it is:

Ask naturally to check for physical discomfort

“How are you doing, can parents help?”. If you notice that the child is not uncomfortable and does not have any abnormal signs, let the child “play for a while.” When 4 to 5 years old, Children will be sensitive to other people’s emotions and understand that they should only masturbate when alone. If younger children can take them to their rooms.

It is possible to distract with a toy or other favorite activity to distract or reduce the child’s attention to masturbation.

Sex education for children

At preschool age, parents need to educate the child’s sex with some contents such as the sex characteristics of the body; the difference between boys and girls; the right to protect the body, the right to decide who touches their body; prevent child sexual abuse; seek help, …

Do not scold or scare children

Do not scold, beat, tell your child and consider this as sick behavior. Parents can coo with their children, talk gently to advise their children to give up because doing so will be unsanitary, making friends laugh. In particular, parents should be serious about not allowing children to perform this action in a crowded place.

Increase physical activity for children

When participating in physical activity, the body is energized and mentally refreshed, the masturbation will no longer pay much attention. Parents need to be patient, talk, and share difficult feelings with children. to help your child overcome.

In some cases, however, a child’s masturbation can be a manifestation of other psychological problems. Parents should bring their children to see a doctor or psychologist for support and help when:

+ Children masturbate when in public or when someone else is around, although parents have shared this with their children many times.

Parents suspect that the child was taught to masturbate by someone

+ The child tries to masturbate with others.

+ Parents see the child masturbate and have difficult symptoms of behavior, emotions including: aggression, sadness, attachment, diarrhea, urination, …

Hai Hien


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