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Question
Posted by: Shocked | 2004/01/15

Does my child have a sexual problem?

Today when picking up my 5 year old son from the creche his teacher told me that he was caught sticking his hand up the dress and into the pantie of a little girl while she was sleeping. This was the first time anything like this happened and I am really shocked. When we got home I spoke to him about it. When I asked him why he did this, he said he didn't know. I spoke to him again about nobody touching his penis and him not touching anyone elses private parts. He promised me that it would never happen again. I asked him if this happened before, or if anyone ever touched him, but he said no. But I don't know what to do now. Should I consult a Child Phsycologist or just pray that this never happens again? Please help me. Is this normal and how do I handle it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Shocked,
I can understand that you found this a shocking and surprising experience, but you really needn't worry. Kids are curious, and, maybe especially at this age, may think of exploring other kids to find out more about the oddities of how human bodies are shaped and how we work. It is a sign of normalcy, not of any sinister abnormality. I fully agree with lady nina and J about this.
If we're not careful, as parents we an give a kid some rather messed up messages --- "sex is something horrible and secretive and nasty, which you must save for the person you love" / "Sex and our bodies are something beautiful which God made, which we must keep absolutely secret and never talk about".
let's clarify the mesages that are worth getting across to him.
He wasn't wicked and had no evil intent. Innocent kids can get curious and want to find out more --- this is a good time to think of at least starting his sex education, maybe with the help of some of the really good books now fortunately available. Messages can include : Your own body belongs to you and you need to take good care of it. It's fine to touch yourself, but it's a private thing, not to be done in public. You don't allow other people to touch you, and you don't touch other people, especially not without their permission.
You can tell him that what he did was embarrassing, but he's not going to be punished, because he can learn his lesson from this experience about things that are considered not proper to do. Explain that you understand that he may be becoming curious about how boys and girls are different, and what this means --- but that this is someting to feel free to discuss with you and his dad, so he can find out properly, rather than from other children, who probably don't know much more than he does.
He shouldn't need to see any sort of shrink, and mustn't be made to feel bad or abnormal for this. But don't miss the opportunity to open the topic of sex as one he can discuss with his parents, and to provide basic information, especally in relation to any specific questions he has.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Zeena | 2004/01/16

Relax. It's curiosity. Does he have a sister? I do believe that very young kids should be allowed to sometimes (like at bathtime and on a beach) run around naked now and then. In that way toddlers get quite used to the way the other sex looks. You can explain that "there is a difference" playfully when they can understand. Never tackle the matter with a "serious mommy" voice, because then they start thinking, "Aha! Here is something I should know more about!" Be casual. The more matter-of-fact a family is (without allowing the wrong kind of curiosity or intimacy) the better.

The poor little guy has probably been wondering in which way girls are different, and thought feeling up the girl while she was sleeping would be a harmless way of finding out! Pardon me for laughing! It's a hard world when you're small: you may take her hand or feel her silky hair, but for some reason you may not wonder about other bits! Okay, so everyone has already told you, just tell him private bits are off limits.

Reply to Zeena
Posted by: J | 2004/01/16

I know how you feel - last year while in grade 0 my son - then 5 and a group of his friends went behind the music room at his playschool and all exposed themselves to each other! I was horrified to say the least but like Lady nina said - its just curiosity - its never happened again, but theres no saying that it wont happen again, but Im positive that my son is completely normal.

We have also told my son its quite ok to touch himself - but to do it in the privacy of his room and that seems to have taken the "taboo" of his private parts away to an extent.

Reply to J
Posted by: lady nina | 2004/01/16

hello

no i don't think your child has a problem - it's normal for kids to explore... i don't think he needs to see a shrink

if the thing get blown out of context he will smell a rat and feel guilty forever...

you did the right thing ! relax

tell him that it's fine to touch his own body but only in the privacy of his room - get him a kiddies book re the working of his body and page trough it. he is only curios - i think!

i think the worse was for you the embarresment when the teacher told you - since they always say a kid learns these things at home - you must have felt bad - but that it only your pride ! and if the teacher is really qualified she will know that all kids explore their bodies at that age and boys often look at the girls

take care

nina

Reply to lady nina

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