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Sexual Behaviour In Young Children - Parental Advice

Aug 17, 2007
Very young kids will often touch themselves as they explore their naked body in the bathtub, running around the backyard, or being changed etc. Your reaction to this will demonstrate how acceptable their actions are.

You should not make them feel ashamed or in trouble for discovering their body parts. It is natural for their development.

You may choose to ignore self-touching when it is done in passing, or if the timing is appropriate, acknowledge their body part with the correct name.

If self-touching becomes more prominent, acknowledge that it is fine to feel your body in that way, but explain it should be done in private.

It is natural and normal for kids to touch themselves, however parents should be concerned about masturbation in young children if the child is preoccupied with it to the point of exclusion from other activities. Sometimes victims of sexual abuse are preoccupied with masturbation and parents should seek medical advice.

If you find that your child is ever bold or playing games that involve touching other kids private parts, avoid scolding them. Simply interrupt the game and divert them to another activity without fuss.

Afterwards, take them aside for a one-on-one talk. Tell your child that their body is their own and they have the right to privacy. Talk about good and bad touching.

Explain that good touching is when you have a kiss and hug with family members, when you hold hands skipping along with a friend, when you put your arm around your mate when you score a try at sport etc.

Explain that bad touching is when someone touches them in a way they don't like, such as on their private parts (penis, bottom, breasts, vagina etc). Reinforce that if anyone ever touches him or her in a way that feels bad or uncomfortable, to tell them to stop and come to tell you straight away. Reassure them that this will probably never happen to them, but it is wise to know what to do.

Revisit the chat about the game they had earlier. Remind your child that other people have this privacy with their body too and it is not good manners to poke or touch other people's private parts. Tell them that even though you understand it was just a game, it is inappropriate touching and should not be played anymore.
About the Author
Joss Daly is a primary school teacher and a mum. She likes to share valuable tips and information for parents on how to talk to kids. Visit her website http://www.KidsTalk.smmsite.com for more great ideas.
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