Infantile and early childhood Masturbation: Parents’ guide
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Gratification disorder is a form of masturbatory and it is accepted as a normal and common behavior in pre-teens but it may cause parents to worry until they understand the process. Here is a mini-guide for parents on early-childhood masturbation.
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of one’s genitalia. It is more common in males (above 90%) than females (above 50%) at some point in life.
But infantile masturbation, also known as Gratification behaviour, isn’t addressed much often. It usually starts at the young age of 2 months, and constantly increasing reaches at the age of 4 years. But self-stimulation in children rarely involves genital encouragement.
How to detect Gratification behaviour?
As we have mentioned above that, an infant rarely touches his private areas during masturbation. Thus it isn’t easy to detect. Moreover, it is also demonstrated as seizure-like movements, grunting, rocking on bed or desk, sweating, or even face flushing. But these symptoms will occur at specific locations, that can be bed board, car seats, etc. The simplest way to detect them is to record your child’s video while displaying such reactions and show them to your physician.
Do you have to be worried about infantile masturbation?
We know that relating your innocent babies to an adult word like “Masturbation” is hard to digest, so that is why it is referred to as gratification behaviour. And this is nothing to be worried about at younger age. Because kids can touch their private parts only due to curiosity, they don’t know the real meaning of intercourse or masturbation.
But under the following conditions, you have to take action or two:
- They start doing it aggressively and excessively
- They start doing this in front of other relatives or their classmates
- Or they show extreme anger or frustration when you try to distract them
Masturbation in children is mainly related to the reduction of estradiol levels without affecting other sexual hormones. That’s why you might want your kids to stop doing so.
There are both positive and negative effects of masturbation in adult males and females. But for kids, the ratio of positives is non-existent and way lower than adverse side effects.
Negative effects of infantile masturbation
Following are some of the common and rare negative side effects of masturbation in children.
- Urinary infection
If your child rubs their genitals with their bare hands, then they might not consider washing their hands before doing so. It can result in some urinary disorders and infections.
- They might get injured
Although this is a rare outcome, they can get injured while rubbing their privates on bed boards or toilet seats. And keeping the young age of children in mind, they might get some severe damage.
- Frustration and anger
Handling masturbatory behaviours in adults is easy, but it is hard to control a baby. Once a child finds out the income of masturbation, they may cry, show tantrums, or even frustration when tried to stop. So it is insightful if you don’t let their habit become an addiction.
- Public displays
A kid, not knowing the true meaning of gratification, might touch his privates in public parks or schools. This behaviour can cause a lot of problems, of which attracting predators and getting bullied are common.
- They may become a porn addict
If not distracted or stopped at an early age, your infants might get involved in watching porn. This habit of seeing adultery on social media can be converted into addiction quite quickly. And the addition of anything is wrong.
- Less social interaction
Infantile masturbation can result in a kid’s lack of socializing behaviour. For example, your kid will have difficulty making new friends, socializing in school, and spending time with his family. They will prefer staying home even on vacations or parties.
Parent's guide on Children Masturbation
Many parents, not knowing how to handle such situations, make them worse by taking wrong actions. You can save yourself from such conditions by acting upon the following measures.
- Reduced tactile affection from parents
A study revealed that the cause of excessive masturbation in children could be the behaviour of their parents. And after the reconstruction of non-sexual tactical relations with their kids, they stopped masturbation.
In this study, a total of five cases were reported with kids experiencing excessive masturbation, having aged between four to eight years.
In one of the cases mentioned in this study, an eight years old girl Althea was brought to the psychiatry department. She was caught involved in masturbation in her school, and her teacher slapped her; this didn’t stop her. In fact, her mother stated that she would masturbate at home after being scolded for something.
If we look at another case, we will get to know about another reason for children getting involved in self-stimulation: the birth of a younger sibling. Arlene, who was four when brought to the clinic, was found to be masturbating fifteen to twenty times a day. This behaviour started right after the birth of her younger brother and continued till the Christmas holidays. Her mother noticed that during the holidays, Arlene’s grandmother visited them. Due to her grandmother’s affection, she stopped masturbation. But after her departure, she resumed it.
Seeing this pattern, the mother got concerned and contacted the physician.
- Talk with your child.
Maybe your kid came across the idea of this act through a friend in his school or a child in your neighbourhood. This is not an authentic source to provide your kids with such information. So, talk with them. Please provide them with the necessary details by yourself. It is much safer than a random kid of his own age telling him wonders about their body (in their language). Refrain them from doing this at such an early stage by explaining the side effects of masturbation.
Remember, you can not handle this generation with fear or make them stop by using your angry tone. If you are to refrain your kids from a thing, convince them, at their level, about the consequences.
- Make them busy with other activities.
If you want your child to stop this habit, then provide them with another healthy habit. Because the more they are free, the more is the chance that they are alone—consequently, the possibility of them indulging in such activities increases. So if you provide them with something else they can busy themselves in, they will not feel the need of self-pleasure only as a way of their time pass, it will help a lot. For example, you can provide them with books of their interest, buy them games, take them on vacations, or even encourage their co-curricular activities.
- Find the root cause.
Talking to your children, even scolding them or making them busy with other activities, will not bring any change if the root cause isn’t found out. Finding the root causes and eradicating it will bring instant change in behaviour.
Some of the causes for such actions are
- Neglected by parents
- Rebellion over a thing or toy
- Watching adult videos through different platforms
- Bad company of friends
- Bullies in schools (yeah, some seniors ask their juniors for such things, and eventually the children become addicted to it)
- Parents who avoid such topics at home and not discuss them with their children
Look for these causes in your children. Of course, it can vary from one kid to another. But the primary purpose is to find them out and eradicate them.
- Consult a psychiatrist
If you have done everything in your power and still have not had the desired results, it is okay. However, being a parent is a tough job, don’t make it harder on yourself by solving the puzzles you don’t have answers to.
Keep one thing in mind that there is nothing wrong with consulting an expert for help. For example, there are children psychologists or psychiatrists out there, experienced in their fields and ready to help parents like you in such conditions.
Dealing with child behaviour problems
There are lots of possible reasons for difficult behaviour in toddlers and young children. Often it’s just because they’re tired, hungry, overexcited, frustrated or bored.
How to handle difficult behaviour
If problem behaviour is causing you or your child distress, or upsetting the rest of the family, it’s important to deal with it.
Do what feels right
What you do has to be right for your child, yourself and the family. If you do something you do not believe in or that you do not feel is right, it probably will not work. Children notice when you do not mean what you’re saying.
Do not give up
Once you’ve decided to do something, continue to do it. Solutions take time to work. Get support from your partner, a friend, another parent or your health visitor. It’s good to have someone to talk to about what you’re doing.
Children need consistency. If you react to your child’s behaviour in one way one day and a different way the next, it’s confusing for them. It’s also important that everyone close to your child deals with their behaviour in the same way.
Try not to overreact
This can be difficult. When your child does something annoying time after time, your anger and frustration can build up.
It’s impossible not to show your irritation sometimes, but try to stay calm. Move on to other things you can both enjoy or feel good about as soon as possible.
Find other ways to cope with your frustration, like talking to other parents.
Talk to your child
Children do not have to be able to talk to understand. It can help if they understand why you want them to do something. For example, explain why you want them to hold your hand while crossing the road.
Once your child can talk, encourage them to explain why they’re angry or upset. This will help them feel less frustrated.
Be positive about the good things
When a child’s behaviour is difficult, the things they do well can be overlooked. Tell your child when you’re pleased about something they’ve done. You can let your child know when you’re pleased by giving them attention, a hug or a smile.
You can help your child by rewarding them for good behaviour. For example, praise them or give them their favourite food for tea.
If your child behaves well, tell them how pleased you are. Be specific. Say something like, “Well done for putting your toys back in the box when I asked you to.”
Do not give your child a reward before they’ve done what they were asked to do. That’s a bribe, not a reward.
Smacking may stop a child from doing what they’re doing at that moment, but it does not have a lasting positive effect.
Children learn by example so, if you hit your child, you’re telling them that hitting is OK. Children who are treated aggressively by their parents are more likely to be aggressive themselves. It’s better to set a good example instead.
Things that can affect your child’s behaviour
- Life changes – any change in a child’s life can be difficult for them. This could be the birth of a new baby, moving house, a change of childminder, starting playgroup or something much smaller.
- You’re having a difficult time – children are quick to notice if you’re feeling upset or there are problems in the family. They may behave badly when you feel least able to cope. If you’re having problems do not blame yourself, but do not blame your child either if they react with difficult behaviour.
- How you’ve handled difficult behaviour before – sometimes your child may react in a particular way because of how you’ve handled a problem in the past. For example, if you’ve given your child sweets to keep them quiet at the shops, they may expect sweets every time you go there.
- Needing attention – your child might see a tantrum as a way of getting attention, even if it’s bad attention. They may wake up at night because they want a cuddle or some company. Try to give them more attention when they’re behaving well and less when they’re being difficult.
Your child at this age does not know what they are doing nor its consequences. But you do. So your responsibility increases as you have to make decisions for their betterment. Make them wisely, do not rush and make the situation worse by scolding and yelling at them. Give the above-mentioned methods a try and see the results for yourself. In last, you can share your experiences with us as well.