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Question
Posted by: Nix | 2009-03-25

Concern over three year old son

Hi, my little boy is 3 and a half yrs old. Last night he was playing with a plastic ice lilly stick in the bath and I noticed he had the stick up his bum and an erection. I casually told him not to put anything in his bum but two mins later it was back there. I took it away and explained that we mustn' t put anything in our bums. I said bums are fir pooh to come not, not for anything to go in. I also said he could hurt himself. Inside I was horrified!! But I acted and spoke calmly an casually.
Later I told him that no one was ever allowed to touch him and asked if anyone ever had. He said that a big boy at nursery school (prob age 4 or 5) had touched his bum while he was weeing. He said he hadn' t said anything and just went
back to his classroom.

I' m worried about what might have happened at nursery school and will talk to the principle about it. Is what he did in the bath normal behaviour for three year old or a sign that something has happened to make him do that?
Please help, am very concerned
Thanks
Nix

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Our expert says:
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Sounds like you handled the original episode well. In all such events, kids are usually more disturbed by a parents obvious high distress than by the event itself. Its hard to guess what this is about. Because we don't see most of what children do, we don't know how often children do suh things, spontaneously or with encouragement. We do know that children are very curious and experiment with their own bodies, without such behaviours having any sexual connotations or significance ; and that they can feel some degree of sexual arousal, again, within the range of their own experimentation, and that these are all within the range of normal behaviour of normal kids. We also know that some kids get molested or at least engaged in more deliberately sexual activities, by adults or by other children, and again they tend not to see it as something dreadful, and to be more concerned about whether it feels interesting or not. SO, he may have experimented on his own, and he might possibly be reacting to something someone else did with him.
Do discuss it with the principle, who is probably more used to such things ; and concentrate on following up your useful conversations --- encourage him to feel free to ask you about any such odd experiences he encounters, and emphasize his right to privacy of his body, and that some activities are not a good idea.

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