My daughter discovered her vulva in the bath when she was 14 months. It looked cute at first but soon after that she started grabbing at it right away every time her bath time would start and I would have to fight her for a bit so we could actually do some washing.
Fast forward a couple of years and when she was almost three, I was pushing her in a stroller at the mall, and I noticed some people making some funny smirks as they past us. I noticed later, that my daughter’s hands were in front of her and she was fidgeting with her vulva through her clothes. I ignored it and decided to wait to see if anything happens next. A few days later, I noticed her doing the same thing in the living room while watching some TV. Another couple of days later, and she did the same thing in her car seat. But then a few days after that, she started doing it in the shopping cart at the grocery store.
I decided that I should probably teach her when this is appropriate and when it isn’t. So later that evening when it was time for her bath, as soon as she started doing her thing, I asked her, do you know what you are touching? And she told me her vulva. I knew she would know. Then I said, it feels good when you play with it doesn’t it? She said ya mommy it tickles. Then I told her that it’s okay to touch and play with it here at bath time, but you shouldn’t be doing it where other people are, like in the car, or in the shopping cart, it’s something just for you when you are by yourself, or when you are with me, if you are in the bathtub. And she seemed to understand, and I was convinced that I would never see her do it again outside of the bath tub.
But fast forward a few days, and I noticed her doing it while sitting at the kitchen table waiting for food to be served. I gently reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to do that right now, and she stopped for a bit before getting back to it. I realized that I might have to always remind her for a while till she remembers or understands.
Well, it seems like, she only understands not to do it in front of me, so if she thinks I can’t see her, she will do it, but if I walk over to her, and she notices my presence she quickly stops. And if I leave, she will resume. So she is often masturbating in front of others, just so long as I am not there or she thinks I am not there.
She is three and a half now, and I realize there is nothing wrong with this. I’ve seen many young children doing this, my younger sister for one did almost the exact same thing till she was 5, and my oldest nephew who is 6 still occasionally does it, although it was much more often for him when he was 3 and 4. I know it’s not bad for her to do, and she isn’t doing it all day. She just does it at bath time, and at random other times, sometimes 5 times a day, and sometimes only twice a week.
It’s just that I wish she wouldn’t do it at other places anymore. I was wondering if I did the right thing and have handled it correctly so far, and what I should do now? My mom suggested that I should talk to her about this another time during her bath, and tell her that if she feels like doing it when she isn’t having a bath, she should go to her bedroom to do it, and if we aren’t at home, she needs to wait until we are. I think she has a point, and that it might work, but I do worry that she will or might start going to her room often throughout the day to do this, and that it would in turn possibly cause her to become obsessed with masturbating, and then I will have another battle on my hands. Or should I just not worry about it, and do this, and then worry about that later if it even does become an issue?