Childhood Masturbation

Childhood masturbation is the behavior seen in pre-adolescent children when they stimulate their genital area. This condition is considered a normal part of development unless there is an accompanying emotional or behavioral problem. However, due to cultural influences and common taboos about sexuality, this can be met with concern and reaction from parents. However, excessive and frequent childhood masturbation may be related to emotional distress. In this case, the child should be evaluated by a specialist.

Causes of childhood masturbation

In childhood masturbation, the child discovers that he or she enjoys this behavior due to external stimuli, physical factors or curiosity and continues repetitively. Physically affecting factors can be allergies that cause itching in the genital area, diaper rash, tight clothes that cause discomfort.

The environment in which the child lives and his relationship with caregivers are also important. The tendency to masturbation increases in children who do not receive enough attention from their parents and the environment.

The reaction of the environment to the child’s masturbation behavior is also important. Laughing, making jokes or getting angry or punishing about this situation can reinforce and increase the behavior.

Situations that cause emotional stress such as weaning, birth of a sibling, loss of a parent, separation from one of the parents, sexual abuse can trigger childhood masturbation. Sometimes it occurs as a learned behavior. Exposure to sexually explicit images from the Internet at an early age, seeing it from an adult can cause this.

Diagnosis in childhood masturbation

There are no sharp boundaries between what is considered developmentally normal and what is considered a disease in childhood masturbation. In general, if it causes a wound or infection in the genital area, negatively affects the social life of the child, and includes other emotional problems, it is referred for treatment. If masturbation includes sexual behaviors that the adult-like child cannot have knowledge of, it should definitely be evaluated in terms of sexual abuse.

For diagnosis, a detailed history is taken from the family, a video may be requested. If necessary, it is requested that departments such as pediatrics and dermatology be evaluated in order not to be confused with neurological problems such as urinary tract infections, dermatitis and epilepsy.

Treatment in childhood masturbation

If childhood masturbation is considered developmentally normal, the situation is monitored by giving suggestions to the family. In many cases, it has been observed that when the communication between mother and child is increased, there is a decrease in behavior. A holistic approach is recommended when accompanied by other emotional problems.

In childhood masturbation advice to family

  • Keep track of times when the behavior intensifies, as these may be times when the child is emotionally challenged. When you realize this, you can take approaches to support the child.

  • Punishment, embarrassment, laughing, mocking, banning are methods that will definitely not work. These methods can reinforce behavior. Also, your child feels rejected and helpless.

  • Improve communication between you and your child. You can achieve this by arranging special game hours.

  • Talk to your child about their feelings.

  • Direct him to activities that will enable him to spend his time more active and productive. Playgroups, kindergarten, sports, painting may be some of them.

  • When you notice the behavior, try to divert her attention to an activity she likes.

  • Despite all this, if you think that the behavior has increased and you cannot cope, you should definitely seek help from a specialist.

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