Monday, 5 June 2017

Meaningful Parenting- What? Your child masturbates?

What? Your child masturbates?

...and my neighbor knocked the door. Reluctantly I got up, my head still smudged with the upcoming test preparation. I opened as if in a daze and saw my dear neighbor cum friend standing with a strange expression on her face.
“I wanted to share something with you, you son fondled my son's private parts.” She said in one go.

My jaw dropped as my mind tried to focus. Fondled? Ouch.

And according to her, he fondled it to the extent that it pained.

‘NOOO!’ screamed the mother in me.

I tried to understand what she is trying to say and said I will talk to my son.

Both my and her son are 4.5 and 3.10 years of age respectively.

As she turned to go I asked her, “Did you see them doing the act?”

“No. They were coming out of the bushes and their underpants were pulled down so I thought…” and her voice trailed in silence.

I looked at her in half amazement and replied- “I know the story. My son was being too busy playing and he did not think it was important to come and pee at home. He went behind the bushes and peed. Your son just imitated and then you saw both of them and made some bizarre conclusions.”

She exclaimed a sigh of relief and expressed her apologies for assuming things.

Yes! One should be careful about  FOUR things

Before we go ahead to accuse/blame another child, let's be clear about what happened and how it happened. We all are protective and possessive about our children but that doesn't make them demi-gods. They are kids and they will do all kind of things. The age that we are talking about is 3-4-5- year olds and they are learning the way the world operates. They learn mostly by imitation and without logic or rationale. My mantra is always to first explain, educate and make my child understand first. Playing the blame game doesn't make your child perfect and the other child imperfect. Quite possible the other mom considers your child to be imperfect. ;) What do we do then? Call the judge?

Hate the sin not the sinner- Ever heard your mom tell you when you were growing up- “You stay away from that friend of yours, I have seen she lies too much.” And we had a puzzled look on our face knowing very well that we lie too. Hate the sin----- of lying and not the friend of your child. How much can one protect?

That makes me come to my other point

The outside environment will always teach many things- The environment, friends, television, internet and life will teach your child all kinds of things. I have a no television environment in my home (coming as a family choice, we do not engage in television except for an hour or so on weekends). But my son knows the famous Bahubali 2 songs and I am surprised(considering it's not even his native language). I am not into Bahubali 1 or 2 at all. Never seen, will never see. But my son knows so much more. Bahubali is just one example. He has come to utter not so good words too. Do I stop him from playing with his friends? Do I spy around as to which friend is teaching him what? That friend might have picked up from someone else.  

The environment is going to teach your child 100 things which will startle you, shock you and make you feel helpless. Before pointing the finger at another child, take up the responsibility to explain to the child each time he learns something which is not appropriate. How many friends can you cordon him from? Each child brings his own good things and not so good habits, just the way your child is. Isn’t it more pleasant to communicate with your child rather than tell him- “You friend is not good. Stay away from him.” Today he may listen to you but he will keep wondering what went wrong? Why is he not good?

Best is to go and educate him. Explain to him why something like lying, stealing or abusing is wrong and what are the repercussions. That develops reasoning in him and the learning will be more durable.

And finally
The fascination for genitals is very NORMAL. Children’s primary way of sensation is through touch and that starts with the mouth. A newborn baby is born with innate ability to start sucking from his mother's breast. Once they grow, don't they try everything with their hands and mouth to understand the world?

Do not get alarmed at all. Many 3-4-5 years old are oblivious to the concept of private parts and the morals associated with it. For them, it's just a body part which gives them pleasure. Yes! Rubbing the penis or the vagina is pleasurable to them and that is why you would have seen babies, toddlers and preschoolers engage in it. Whatttt?

Don’t faint yet. There is nothing sexual about it.

Many 2-3-4 years old have just got out of the diaper mode and now the body part is even more available to them for exploration. A boy child will explore his penis and a girl child will rub her vagina out of sheer pleasure that it brings. It’s the bodily sensation which feels like any other sensation such as doing finger painting, jumping in muddy puddles or running around, without any aspect of sexuality to it. So, if you see your child doing it, do not conclude that he will turn out to be a pervert.

The word here is masturbation and it disturbs us. But that is the word and children explore themselves, play with themselves and some time might explore each other. What do we do? Cardiac arrest? Not yet. J

 A boy or a girl child will resort to all kinds of exhibitionism and play around genitals. And it shall continue for a long time to come. Has your husband ever shared the story of he and his friends trying the pee-pee game? Who can shoot it really far? It happens. That's then. Now the best way is not to overreact. Respect his inquisitiveness and educate as much as possible.

"This is your private part. Nobody should touch it or see it. Only your mom dad and your doctor can. Never touch your friend's private parts and do not allow anyone to touch yours. It’s private.”

What private mamma?

“Private means, it belongs to you only and nobody should see it, touch it. Also, we do not talk about it with everyone. If you want to talk about it, come to me and Daddy.”  That's my chant to my son every day.

When the time will come to talk about the birds and the bees, I shall do that too. Accepting his body, naming them appropriately, attaching no shame to it and respecting sexuality is on my agenda. J

It's a difficult terrain considering the morals attached to it by the society we live in. But we have to chart this terrain together. It's not going to be easy for them too.

And if you still suspect something serious, have a word with the pediatric.

Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like on FB and share. Drop in your feedback if any.For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  

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