Touchy Feely: How to Handle Your Young Child's Sexual Exploration
What's normal and how to weather the changes ahead when your child is discovering his or her body
When to Seek Help
In very rare cases, self-touching can be a sign of sexual abuse. If your child seems to be connecting the dots about adult sex, if he or she is attempting to have real or simulated sexual contact with another child, or if he or she cannot be easily distracted from masturbatory behavior, parents should seek the advice of a doctor or child psychologist.
“Any behavior that seems abnormal or just not right should be immediately investigated by the parents and the child’s pediatrician,” says Dr. Arinoldo. “Never be afraid to bring your child’s doctor into the situation.”
In the end, you know your child best, and you know what is right for him or her. Understanding that sexual exploration is to be expected in your child will help you better deal with it when it happens and provide your child with a safe and understanding environment in which to develop.
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