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Child Masturbation


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I have a four year old child that keeps masturbating herself in class, rocking whilst touching herself. She has only just joined the school. I have asked the mother yesterday if she has got an infection, she went very red in the face and said no i dont think so, i will have a look at her tonight. I spoke to the mum again the next morning and she said that she did not have an infection. but that she sometimes touches herself when she is tied. She told me to tell her daughter not to do this in class only in her bedroom, and that could i try to disitract her. but this child masturbates her self all the time. The other children are starting to notice and keep looking at her. It is worth metioning that she has just moved here from the USA. so she could be a little disstressed, I think. but how do i stop her withhout upseting her. I have gently spoken to her asking her not to do this in class, OK she says - then goes strieght back to do it again. :o

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Hi there i also had a child who kept doing this, i just tried not to make too much of an issue but tried to distract her. Also it's worth bearing in mind that this can be a symptom of sexual abuse. I don't want to alarm you as it probably isn't but it's just worth being aware!

Hope this helps!

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Hi there i also had a child who kept doing this, i just tried not to make too much of an issue but tried to distract her. Also it's worth bearing in mind that this can be a symptom of sexual abuse. I don't want to alarm you as it probably isn't but it's just worth being aware!

Hope this helps!

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Good advice.

Maybe have a word with your school nurse to check out there are no underlying reasons for her behaviour. From my experience drawing attention to her actions won't solve the situation, finding her something else to do to occupy her hands works well.

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The fact that she appears to be doing this compulsively IS worrying. You should at least discuss this with your child protection officer. The fact that the child does not stop when you talk to her is concerning. If this continues to be a problem you certainly DO need to refer to social services following your child protection guidelines. Its awkward and embarrassing and may damage your relationship with the parent but if the child has suffered /is suffering abuse the only way it is likely to stop is by speaking out. You have a legal duty to report any concerns to your child protection officer.

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I agree with others that child protection is an issue we all need to be aware of but in the mean time investigating or starting required procedures will not stop the behaviour.

 

You mention that she may be in need of "comfort" due to her recent move and that although she say's yes she will stop, she continues almost immediately... I had this behaviour from a girl who was in "the habit" of sucking her thumb...another method of self comfort which becomes a habit that is hard to break from.

 

Our strategy was to distract, and like any other behaviour modification, to ignore the unwanted behaviour and "make a fuss", praise and reward when the child didn't partake in the unwanted behaviour. ( and a lot of patience and time is needed to break habits)

 

If this is a real comfort behaviour need for this child at this time in her life, which you will assess whilst getting to know her home habits, her family and getting to know the child herself, then this has to be accepted by adult and peers around her, but practiced in the appropriatte manner/time.

And with consideration of what she is "not" doing whilst her hands are occupied.

 

Can it be turned around that if she plays for a certain length of time without masterbating that she is then rewarded with a "quiet", private ( yet supervised) time and place in the classroom to say, sit with a book and comfort herself. This of course would depend on how dependent she is on this form of self comfort, whether the parent agrees and endorses and follows through this method at home. The most important thing, as I am sure that you know, is that the child is not made to feel that what she is doing is wrong, and that any behaviour is an indication of her emotional needs and/or emotional developmental stage.

 

Good luck with your liaison and work with this child and her family.

 

Let us know how you get on, and what strategies work as I am sure you are not the only person, now or in the future who will have this to deal with and we can all learn from each others experiences.

 

Peggy

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I agree with others that child protection is an issue we all need to be aware of but in the mean time investigating or starting required procedures will not stop the behaviour.

 

You mention that she may be in need of "comfort" due to her recent move and that although she say's yes she will stop, she continues almost immediately... I had this behaviour from a girl who was in "the habit" of sucking her thumb...another method of self comfort which becomes a habit that is hard to break from.

 

Our strategy was to distract, and like any other behaviour modification, to ignore the unwanted behaviour and "make a fuss", praise and reward when the child didn't partake in the unwanted behaviour. ( and a lot of patience and time is needed to break habits)

 

If this is a real comfort behaviour need for this child at this time in her life, which you will assess whilst getting to know her home habits, her family and getting to know the child herself, then this has to be accepted by adult and peers around her, but practiced in the appropriatte manner/time.

And with consideration of what she is "not" doing whilst her hands are occupied.

 

Can it be turned around that if she plays for a certain length of time without masterbating that she is then rewarded with a "quiet", private ( yet supervised) time and place in the classroom to say, sit with a book and comfort herself.  This of course would depend on how dependent she is on this form of self comfort, whether the parent agrees and endorses and follows through this method at home.  The most important thing, as I am sure that you know, is that the child is not made to feel that what she is doing is wrong, and that any behaviour is an indication of her emotional needs and/or emotional developmental stage.

 

Good luck with your liaison and work with this child and her family.

 

Let us know how you get on, and what strategies work as I am sure you are not the only person, now or in the future who will have this to deal with and we can all learn from each others experiences.

 

Peggy

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Hi Peggy

 

Thanks for your advice, I am monitoring her closely every day, to see if this behaviour will cease as she settles in at the school. I must mention that my school is in Spain, so I will have to look into the child protection here with my Spanish Teacher. However I do feel that this child just has a bad habit. I will also liaise with her mother, once the little girl has been here a couple of weeks. I don’t want to overreact over this; on the other hand I don’t want to ignore it either.

 

I will keep you informed on her progress.

 

Best regards

 

Gill

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You've done the right things so far, and I am sure it will all turn out fine. She also now has EAL to cope with as well as the move.

 

The fact that Mum is approachable and aware of her behaviour ( some aren't unfortunately) will also obviously help.

 

Peggy

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I have come across this twice. Once with a reception girl who used the corners of tables (and the bench outside). After discussions with the girl and her mother, it got to the stage that whenever we looked at her, she would stop. She carried on into Year one, but stopped by the end of year one.

 

We had another R girl last year who would wither sit on her foot onthe carpet area or rub herself forwards and backwards when sitting on a hard chair. Apparantly her mother asks her to stop at home. She has always assured us that she does not need the toilet, that she is not sore, and she stops when we ask her to stop 'wiggling' or to sit still. We have the girl again in Year 1 (a mixed R/Y1 class) and it has not been quite so apparant so far thsi term. We are keeping a check on it.

 

There are always those children who seem to have their hands down their trousers / pants but I agree it is more concerning when children are doing it in a more comulsive way.

 

Marie

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I am not for one minute trying to suggest that this childs behaviour is definately not a sign of something more sinister but we must try not to over react also.

 

Kids will stick their fingers in an assortment of orifices, ears, usually noses, mouths and often down their pants as well. I cannot be the only person ever to have looked up when reading a story to be greeted by a little boys private parts on display as he absent mindedly fiddles.

 

In the same way we try to encourage children not to stick things in their mouths or to pick their noses from a hygiene point of view I think you could use this as a gentle way of reminding the child. Encourage her to go and wash hands if necessary and explain that this is a good idea for health reasons.

 

Of course you should monitor the situation in case there is something else going on but she just sounds like a rather unsettled little girl who is exhibiting the normal curiosities of a child.

 

Sue

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