Get information about Infantile masturbation, doubts and answers...
- What is it?
- What is the cause?
- When they will stop doing it?
- What happens if a child masturbates?
- What can I do, as a father?
- When should I go to the pediatrician?
What is it?
Masturbation is an auto-stimulation of genitals for pleasure. It is something more than a normal examination of genitals in bath that moves almost all kids. It can begin since children are able to hold objects (towards 5 o r 6 months) and itís very frequent during the 2 years of age. Masturbation is a normal activity and frequent among kids. It can be practiced at any age, but is rare before the 6 months of age. The very young children rub their thighs against each other, with rhythmic movements of the hips while lying facing down or moving hands or knees when lying o≠n their backs. Later o≠n they can learn to rub against a doll, the arm of a couch, etc. The rhythmic manipulation of genitals with hands usually doesnít take place before the 2 and a half years of age. The frequency at which a child masturbates may vary, for example, it can be several times in a day or o≠nce a week, but it is more frequently when she/he goes to sleep, is bored, watches television or if a kid is suffering some kind of stress.
In any case, during masturbation a child may seem as if absorbed in thought, feeling warm and sweating, with rhythmic movements of the head or extremities and when done, can be exhausted, which in some cases may have a wrong diagnose of an epileptic attack.
What is the cause?
A sporadic masturbation in pre-students is a normal conduct. As far as a third of children of this age discover masturbation while they explore their body. The majority continue masturbating simply because they like, although some can do it in a frequent way if they have some problem or if s/he is punished or suffer a pressure not to do it anymore.
There are no medical causes. An irritation of the genital area can produce pain and inflammation, but it is more probable to be a consequence and nor a cause of masturbation.
When they will stop doing it?
Once a kid discovers that masturbation provides him/her pleasure, you canít expect that they will give up doing it right away. Besides, if a child is not rebuked s/he will do it o≠n private. At around 5 or 6 years of age, probably its frequency would diminish or, at least, that he/she does it in a more reserved manner. Later, in adolescence, masturbation is almost universal, in relation to hormonal changes and the beginning of the sexual desire.
What happens if a child masturbates?
Aside from the pleasure that it provides to him/her, nothing at all. It wonít provoke any corporal or psychological damage. If a child masturbates, this wonít disturb his/her sexual orientation; neither is going to turn them promiscuous and, of course, does not have any relation to epilepsy.
What can I do, as a father?
If we consider that almost all children masturbate sooner or later and that they do because they really like, you should do nothing, except for leaving them tranquil. It is convenient to make sure that although the parents try to make them stop doing it, they are not going to have an immediate success. So parents should accept it, as it is a normal situation. Reprimands, punishments, etc. can have a negative effect, because they can reinforce this conduct.
If you think that masturbation can have a relation with boredom, you can try to keep him/her occupied with activities that are attractive to them. Probably, you have to be more tolerant when masturbation takes place at rest moments: during afternoon nap or when going to sleep at night. If what worries you is that they do it in front of other people, you can recommend to him/her to do it in his/her bedroom or during bath. If she/he does in public places, like in school, itís convenient to comment to the teachers so that they can try to keep their attention over in class and avoid scold him/her in public.
When should I go to the pediatrician?
In rare occasions, masturbation is related to stress situations, even sexual abuses from adults. In those cases, you have no doubts in consulting his/her pediatrician or nurse.