Medical Questions > Parenting > Preschool Kids Forum

5 Yr Old Masterbating?

Hi, for the past 4 months, my 5 year old son has been caught touching his penis just like masterbating. His penis will swell up and enlarge than normal.

I have tried to tell him to stop it but he just can't seem to curb the urge to do it. He needs to do it in the morining, midday and before sleep. He will give me the 'guilty look' whenever he is caught. Sometimes, while playing halafway, he will walk to the bedroom and I will catch him doing the act.

I don't know help to stop him. Should I be concern of his behaviour?

p.s he did played with his penis like young kids do when he was prob 2 to 3 yrs old and it stop after that. But this situation right now really worries me.
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replied August 24th, 2011
thank goodness, for the past 2 weeks it seems that he hasn't really been doing it already.

somehow, his uncontrollable urge seems to disappear. i am hoping that he keeps it this way as long as possible.
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replied November 17th, 2012
Extremely eHealthy
I am surprised this one slipped by without any replies.

Not unusual any boy at any age will want to explore his bits especially when it feels good, it seems to make it grow a bit and the authority figure wants him to stop which makes him even more curious...

In cases where the foreskin might be tight it is important to handle it often in order to loosen it, especially as the circumcision of minors is increasingly considered to be "forcible bodily mutilation", even by some whose religion require the operation.

As soon as a boy is able to bathe himself it is important to teach him how to clean his penis properly (something not often done by single mums) and that means the foreskin must be pulled back...

As the foreskin can be a home to some nasty bugs, including a virus that can cause cervical cancer, it is important to create good habits at an early age.

I think the important issue here is not the boy handling his penis, which must be considered mostly a good thing, but when and where are appropriate times and places to do the handling?

The required lesson then is not about biology but about courtesy and manners!
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replied April 20th, 2013
Experienced User
Agree with verne01, he said basically everything that needed saying on the subject, but I will add an opinion of my own. Please note that this is not directly about you, the parent of the masturbating child, just a random bit of info a lot of people would do better to be in possession of in regards to children and their genitals:

This issue isn't actually a problem because he's not doing it obsessively compulsively, he's not hurting himself, he's not involving others, he's not giving any other warning signs of an actual problem, from your post; even the most well-intentioned parents, however, can give a child a complex for life if they overreact to a child exploring or masturbating, with themselves or with others. It's almost abnormal for a kid to not complete their exploration of the form they inhabit at a fairly young age; also we live in an incredibly hypersexualized culture. It really is an abnormal kid these days who hasn't picked up on some innuendo or inappropriate-for-age information or stereotypes.

@littlebit35: It's not just a 'boy thing' --- little girls explore and masturbate too --- I think the girls just tend to disassociate from their own bodies and block it out better after getting caught, because unlike boys they don't have to handle the forbidden body part to perform a basic bodily function, day in, day out, for life. Many girls tend to forget as adults that they ever did such a thing, because a female is branded very harshly even as a toddler for sexual behaviour, even if only by the mother's/father's shocked and repulsed reaction. Nobody laughs indulgently at their 'little woman' like they do at their 'little man.' Despite social appearances, we as a culture still repress females sexually, unintentionally, as well as males, usually based on a misunderstanding about the existence of sexual interest in the absence of high levels of testosterone, and the actual function of that often incorrectly maligned AND incorrectly lauded hormone.

Little girls are often a bit more socially precocious and quicker to completely reject anything that isn't approved of, whereas even very young boys can pick up on a subtle adult approval of their actions, if they don't even overhear the adults' amusement when discussing it with others. A lot of adults are proud of sexual behaviour in little boys. But little boys too can get psychologically hung up and ashamed for life over fuzzily remembered childhood incidents, and the person who feels sexually/biological-functionally repressed tends to repress others. They're doing what's 'right', and helping others do what's 'right'. Or so they think/feel.

My mother always told me when I helped out with changing nappies with younger siblings, as all older siblings had to do at least a few times in our large family, that your facial expression and reactions to the babies' body and functions needs to be neutral at worst and approving at best. Not her exact words; she told us to be careful, and if you watch a baby as you change its nappy, it's watching you, carefully. And learning. What he or she has done in their nappy is one of the big events of their day/life so far, and the adults who respond with avoidance or worse, revulsion, can be doing untold harm. Yes, the stinky-baby gag is funny, but not for the baby.
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