Masturbation in children, what to do

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Children masturbation

It may happen that the child begins, even from a very young age, to explore his own body. He does this to reassure himself and decrease the sense of anguish towards his growth and the progressive separation from his parents.

The first rule is not to be scared, because there are rare cases in which these behaviors become compulsive and must be problematized. Of children's masturbation we speak with Ferri, psychoanalyst of the Del Paesena Psychoanalytic Society and child psychotherapist at the NPI of the San Gerardo hospital in Monza.

In this article

  • What is infant masturbation?
  • Is there an age when children begin this exploration?
  • What Can Parents Do?
  • What is best not to do?
  • When should you worry?
  • What can be done in this situation?

1. What is infant masturbation?

There are often misunderstandings around this theme, because any episode that has to do with the exploration of the body by the child is understood as infantile masturbation.

In reality, in these cases the child is starting an exploration starting from himself. By masturbation in the strict sense, on the other hand, we mean what is also meant for adults, which however in children is a much less widespread phenomenon than one thinks.

2. Is there an age at which children begin this exploration?

They do it quite early, even around two or three years of age. This does not mean that they are masturbating, it simply means that they want to get to know each other and reassure themselves about the fact that they are growing up and, therefore, the separation from adult figures, especially mom and dad.

3. What can parents do?

I would avoid being frightened, because parents are often frightened in the face of manifestations that fall within the normal evolutionary order of the child, which have to do with the development of sexuality and with the onset of awareness of having a body.

So, I would tell him quite clearly about what he is doing. This does not mean using too explicit language, especially if the child is small, but it would be good to start treating corporeality as something natural, which is part of the affective dimension of existence.

To this end, games or books can be used: there are specific volumes on the subject, which accompany the child in the discovery of his own body.

Read also: Talking about sex to children. that's how

4. What is best not to do?

I would try never to blame the child who is in this situation or to have very repressive attitudes towards him.

In addition, I would avoid having an attitude that induces shame, making the environment castrate towards the child he explores. This could cause problems - even future ones - for your children.

5. When should you worry?

These are very special cases, in which the child isolates himself and not only has the symptom of one forced masturbation, but also other symptoms related to other areas of the psyche. For example, we are talking about children who suddenly become hyperactive, who become very aggressive, who have particular behaviors within the school or kindergarten environment, who have obsessive, repetitive symptoms, especially in play, who can no longer succeed. to share relationships with peers a lot. Only in these cases would I speak of a behavior that should be problematized.

6. What can be done in this situation?

I would address the matter with the child but, first of all, I would turn to one specialist to get advice and to understand if it is not appropriate to bring the child to therapy or consultation. Therefore inserting this symptom within a larger problematic dimension, because the body is never isolated from the mind. And all the problems concerning the body are connected with the psyche.

  • masturbation
  • masturbation children
  • 1-2 children years
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