It may be worrisome to find your child touching their genitals for pleasure. Many parents think that masturbation is something that emerges during adolescence with hormonal and secondary sex characteristics such as erections for boys and menstruation for girls. However childhood masturbation, often called genital stimulation and touching, usually starts around 2 months of age but can sometimes start in utero. One of the main differences between childhood genital stimulation and adolescent and adult masturbation is that childhood genital stimulation often stops if the child becomes distracted.
My child is touching their private parts. Is this normal? – Dr. Deanna Marie Mason
Toddler masturbation medically known as infantile masturbation is a surprisingly common phenomenon in children between the ages of one and five. What is uncommon is new parents knowing what is happening and how to handle it in the best interest of their children. Toddler masturbation is not as illicit as the common term for the phenomenon may convey. According to Dr. Frequency varies from once a week to 12 times a day, and duration ranges from 30 seconds to two hours. He also states that, unlike masturbation in older children and adults, infantile masturbation involves little or no genital stimulation.
My child is touching their private parts. Is this normal?
Instead, stop and consider why this subject makes you squirm. If a child pulls his ear or strokes his arm, no one notices. So why do parents ignore the little boy who pulls his ear but worry and scold when he pulls his penis? Neither of these are true. Most children play with their genitals—expect this during childhood years, somewhere between the age of two and six.
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.